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The Goddess of Liberty

Object Number: 
2004.30.10
Date: 
ca. 1810
Medium: 
Silk and metallic thread embroidery, metal sequins on painted silk ground
Dimensions: 
overall, including frame: 31 1/4 x 24 in. ( 79.4 x 61 cm )
Marks: 
Mark: in gilded letters on bottom of reverse painted frame: "By Sophia Van Wagenen / The Goddess of Liberty"
Description: 
Needlework picture of silk and chenile embroidery with sequins on painted silk; young woman in long gown with outstretched right arm offering a feeding cup to a swooping eagle; in sky, liberty cap mounted on pole with American flag; figure tramples chains with right foot. Reverse painted glass frame with maker's name in gilded letters.
Gallery Label: 
This commanding needlework picture was modeled directly after Edward Savage's stipple engraving, "LIBERTY. In the form of the Goddess of Youth; giving Support to the Bald Eagle," published in Philadelphia in 1796. The eagle is symbolic of the proud new nation, while the chain being trampled under Liberty's foot represents English tyranny. The picture was made by Sophia Van Wagenen at a girl's school in New York City and remained in the hands of her descendants until its donation in 2004.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Barbara Parker Chasis, Descendant of Gerrit Huybert Van Wagenen (1753-1835)
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group