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Sophia L. Crownfield Textile Design Collection

 Collection
Identifier: crown

Scope and Contents

Approximately 1218 drawings of plant and floral subjects in various media, including pencil, ink, watercolor, created by Sophia L. Crownfield. The drawings were studies in different stages of development toward designs for textile patterns, to be produced in silk for the woman’s dress-silk trade. Some examples of silk textiles that were the result of the drawings are included. Some paintings in oil are included, which seem to be much earlier pieces, though they are not dated.

The drawings are mainly on paper, which ranges from tissue to tracing papers as well as bristol board and other medium to heavy papers. The drawings are housed in brown paper folders with 1-6 items, with the majority of folders holding 2-4 items. The folders are uniform in size, approx. 23 x 29 inches. Many of the papers are glued to the folders.

Dimensions were measured for the largest item in each folder. The majority of the measured items (394) are 20-29 inches by 12-24 inches; 2 items are larger. 15 items are 30-38 inches x 17-26 inches. 18 items are 19 x 14 inches or smaller.

47 folders include color printed silk fabric samples.

The most numerous subjects are Rose (29 folders), Poppy (26), Lily (22), Iris (17), and Peony (15). Dogwood, Dahlia, Azalea, Thistle, Hollyhock, Maple, Oak, Pussy Willow, Wild Carrot, Trumpet Vine, Nasturtium, Tulip, Orchid, Poinsettia, Sweet Sultan, and Wisteria are also included, and others.

Most of the drawings appear to be done from observation in a linear realistic style with emphasis on the structure of the plants. Some of the studies, particularly those in color, emphasize the volume of the subject. About 16 items that are more abstract have been designated as “conventional” or “conventionalized” by the donor; a few are noted as “handsome.”

Many of the pieces have a signature “S.L. Crownfield,” though this is thought to be not Sophie Crownfield’s own signature, but added by the donor.

Decker Library staff added to this collection a magazine advertisement for Cheney Silks, dated 1918, which shows a woman in a floral patterned dress that seems to exemplify the use for which Sophie Crownfield’s textile designs were destined.

Dates

  • [ca. 1890-1925]

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Request access at the Information Desk of the Decker Library between 12-6 p.m. on Saturday - Thursday and 12-4:30 p.m. on Friday, or email refer@mica.edu to make an appointment.

Extent

1218 items (8 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Drawings of floral subjects in various media, including pencil, ink, watercolor, created by Sophia L. Crownfield. Some paintings in oil are included. The drawings were studies in different stages of development toward designs for textile patterns, to be produced in silk for the woman’s dress-silk trade. Some examples of silk textiles that were the result of the drawings are included.

Arrangement

The folders were assembled by the donor of the collection, and are labelled with the plant or flower name that predominates in that folder. The folders have been numbered.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Gertrude Crownfield, 1941.

Related Materials

Examples of Sophia L. Crownfield’s work are held at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, New York. The museum provides many images online in high resolution.

A book on Cheney Silk is available online through Cornell University’s Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, and History (HEARTH).
Title
Sophia L. Crownfield Textile Design Collection
Status
In Progress
Author
Katherine Cowan and Marianne Yang
Date
December 2013-July 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Decker Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 West Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore MD 21217 U.S.A.
410-225-2273