Telemachus and Mentor on the Isle of Calypso
Silk embroidery by Mary Ann Murray
Mrs. Saunders and Miss Beach's Academy
Dorchester, Massachusetts c.1820
This Silk embroidered picture was worked at Mrs. Saunders and Miss Beach's Academy in Dorchester,
Massachusetts. The faces were professionally painted (perhaps by Miss Beach who was a student of Gilbert Stuart
and is known to have painted the faces on many of the embroideries from her school). The original white eglomise
glass with elaborate banded decoration was painted by John Doggett, the famous clock painter.
The scene, taken after a Boydell print, depicts Telemachus and Mentor on the Isle of Calypso from Homer's tale
of the Odyssey. The figures are dressed in classical robes and in a landscape setting. A passage is stitched below
the pictorial portion
Three other examples depicting this scene are known to exist, one in the Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts and the
other two are in private collections. One of those in private collections does not retain the original glass nor
is the needlework as finely wrought and the other is similar to this example, finely stitched with the original
Doggett frame and glass.
Inscribed on the backboard in pencil is Mary Ann Nolcini's, the maker Mary Ann Murray (1805-?) was the daughter
of the impetuous Major Darnel Murray and, married the famous musician Peter Charles Nolcini (1802-1844) in 1826.
Nolcini was born in Moscow and at age 18 in 1820, arrived in Boston and by 1821 was advertising piano and voice
lessons. He was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's music teacher.
Silk and watercolor on silk; 12 ½" x 14" sight, 18" x 19 ½" framed.
STEPHEN & CAROL HUBER
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