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Oil painting - An Old Woman Spinning Silk
  • An Old Woman Spinning Silk
    Carpenter, Margaret Sarah, born 1793 - died 1872
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An Old Woman Spinning Silk

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1816 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carpenter, Margaret Sarah, born 1793 - died 1872 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John M. Parsons

  • Museum number:

    512-1870

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Margaret Sarah Carpenter was a prolific portraitist who exhibited throughout the first half of the 19th century at the Royal Academy; three of her portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery. This genre scene of an old woman spinning is one of her earliest known works. She seems to have exhibited it at the British Institute in 1816, when she was just 23, under the title 'An Old Woman Spinning Silk'. It may have been cut down before it was sold; the exhibition catalogue records a measurement of '40 by 37 inches', but the V&A's painting is significantly smaller.

Physical description

An oil painting depicting an old woman in cloak and bonnet seated at a spinning wheel.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (painted)

Date

ca. 1816 (painted)

Artist/maker

Carpenter, Margaret Sarah, born 1793 - died 1872 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 76.2 cm approx., Width: 66.1 cm approx.

Object history note

Bequeathed by John M. Parsons, 1870. This is most likely the painting exhibited under the title 'An Old Woman Spinning Silk' at the British Institute in 1816.

Historical context note

Margaret Sarah Carpenter, née Geddes, was a prolific portraitist; three of her portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery. Her husband's obituary stated that '[she] would certainly have been a Royal Academician but for her sex' (Gentleman's Magazine, September 1866, p. 410).

Descriptive line

Oil Painting, 'An Old Woman Spinning', Mrs Margaret Sarah Carpenter, ca. 1816

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 23

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Women; Hand spinning

Categories

Paintings; Portraits

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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