The Ridgeway coat of arms, like other worked Boston coats of arms, was created by a young lady student at a Boston embroidery school and was intended to be a prestigious domestic decoration that reflected advanced embroidery skills. It is richly worked with costly metallic threads on black silk, with evidence of the original stenciled pattern remaining on the silk ground. The raised design consisting of flowing acanthus leaves, a shield centering a pair of wings and a three-part banner covers the space available within the frame. The distinctive motto ribbons include the family name, Ridgeway, in cross-stitched black threads.
A closely related embroidered coat of arms is also in the Vogel Collection and offered as lot ___. It is for the Cutts family and embroidered by Sarah Cutts (1774-1845) while a student at the Eleanor Druitt School in Boston (see Magazine Antiques, October 1946, p. 242). It was on long-term loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time. The coat of arms was later acquired by the Vogels from a direct descendant through Bernard & S. Dean Levy in 1974. Her sister, Elizabeth (1766-1810) worked a similar coat of arms, currently in in the collection of the York Institute Museum, also while a student of Eleanor Druitt. Both girls were daughters of Thomas Cutts (1736-1821) and Elizabeth (Scammon) (1745-1803) of Saco, Maine, who married in 1793.
Other related examples of the same general pattern also worked on a black silk ground include an embroidered coat of arms for the Derby family that sold at Northeast Auctions, August 5-7, 2005, lot 1397; one from the Walley family that sold at Northeast Auctions on August 5-6, 1995; the Parker and Mayhew coat of arms that sold at Skinner, October 27, 1996, sale 1740, lot 1; one from the Cheever family and one from the Bartlett family that both sold at Sotheby’s on June 17, 1997, lots 333 and 334; one sold at Pook and Pook, September 12, 1998, lot 220; and one from the Russell family of Salem that sold at Northeast Auctions in Oct./Nov. 2003, lot 1591.
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