An Old Woman Spinning Silk

Oil Painting
ca. 1816 (painted)
An Old Woman Spinning Silk thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil Painting, 'An Old Woman Spinning', Mrs Margaret Sarah Carpenter, ca. 1816
Physical Description
An oil painting depicting an old woman in cloak and bonnet seated at a spinning wheel.
Dimensions
  • Approx. height: 76.2cm
  • Approx. width: 66.1cm
Style
Credit line
Bequeathed by John M. Parsons
Object history
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
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).
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 23
Collection
Accession Number
512-1870

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record createdJune 8, 2006
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