Taking its title from a verse stitched in a 1796 sampler by 10-year-old Anne “Nancy” Moulton, “Useful Hours: Needlework and Painted Textiles from Southern California Collections,” on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens June 1–Sept. 2, 2013, explores the development of needlework and painted textiles in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. With a selection of 29 rare and finely wrought examples, the exhibition offers extraordinary insight into the early training, daily lives, and social and cultural values of American women during this rich period in American history.
“Useful Hours” includes several exceedingly rare pieces of 18th-century American needlework, drawn in large part from the collection of Victor Gail and Thomas H. Oxford, a promised gift to The Huntington, as well as from the collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and private lenders. The 25 surprisingly beautiful, touching, and painstakingly executed examples of American works are juxtaposed with four examples of British needlework, a related painting, American furniture, and other decorative arts objects, along with books and manuscripts from The Huntington’s collections.
“I hope visitors feel the sense of amazement that I feel when I explore these young women’s accomplishments,” said Harold B. “Hal” Nelson, The Huntington’s curator of American decorative arts. “Their technical skill and creativity within needlework traditions of the time are truly marvelous. I also think people will be surprised when they realize these remarkable pieces are all from Southern California collections,” he added. “A common misconception is that the best American art collections are only on the East Coast, but when you see these pieces you instantly realize that is far from the case.”
About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at www.huntington.org.
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with fulltime student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends and Monday holidays: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month with advance tickets. Information: 626-405-2100 or www.huntington.org.