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Linwood, Mary, 1755–1845


Additional Title(s):


Great Britain, ca. 1798.
Physical Description:
1 needlework picture : wool ; image 46 x 59 cm, in frame 61 x 74 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog record for John Dixon's mezzotint reproduction of A Tigress
Visual Materials
Mary Linwood (1756-1845) was the most renowned practitioner of the technique known as "needlepainting." Linwood's needleworks faithfully copied paintings, with the brush strokes rendered by stitches worked in dyed wool. Linwood lived in Leicester, helping her mother to run, and eventually taking over, a boarding school for young ladies. In 1776 she exhibited needlework pictures at the Society of Artists in London. In 1787 she was introduced to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), and this encouraged her to exhibit some of her pictures at the Pantheon, Oxford Street. In 1798 she opened an exhibition at the Hanover Square Concert Rooms in London; the exhibition subsequently toured to Scotland and Ireland. The collection, increased to 64 pieces, returned to London to be shown at Mary Linwood's own gallery in Leicester Square. Linwood embroidered her last piece when she was 78, although she lived to be 90 and worked as a school mistress until a year before her death. In 1845, during her annual visit to her Exhibition in London, she caught the flu and died. She was buried in St Margaret's Church, Leicester. Her entire collection was dispersed at Christie's in April 1846. The asking price for Linwood's Tygress (£10) was not met.
Lennox-Boyd, C.A. George Stubbs : the complete engraved works, nos. 33 and 36, notes
Strobel, H.A. Art of Mary Linwood, pages 158-159
Needlework picture by Mary Linwood, after the painting A tigress, by George Stubbs. The original painting, depicting a tigress lying on the ground surrounded by rocks and undergrowth, is now in the collection of the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace. It was first reproduced in mezzotint by John Dixon in 1772, and many times subsequently (see Yale Center for British Art, Department of Prints and Drawings, B1985.36.1090). Linwood's needlework is probably based on the Dixon mezzotint. Linwood's canvas is of wool or linen, the embroidery in wool. The needlework is laid on a stretcher, in heavy contemporary gilt frame.
At the opening of Linwood's gallery in Leicester Square, the present picture was exhibited alongside a needlework copy of Stubbs's "Lion and Lioness"; these two works are apparently the only two pictures she copied from Stubbs. In catalogs that accompanied Linwood's exhibition, from 1798 onward, the entry for Tygress is accompanied by verse from Milton's Paradise Lost and Thomson's Seasons: "Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, strait couches close, then rising changes oft' His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, Whence rushing he might surest seize them both Griped in each paw" (Milton); "The Tyger darting fierce Impetuous on the prey his glance has doom'd" (Thomson).
Subject Terms:
Embroidery (visual works)
Needlework (visual works)
Based on (work): Stubbs, George, 1724-1806. Tigress.
IIIF Manifest:

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