“I Have Lost My Way”, Silk Embroidery by H. Gaskill, Folwell School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1820

Many fine silk embroideries were made by young ladies attending the Folwell School in Philadelphia, which was established in the last few years of the 18th century and run by Samuel and Elizabeth Folwell. The subject matters on these works include memorials, religious and allegorical stories, family scenes and illustrations from popular novels. They share identifiable characteristics and the faces were painted by either Samuel Folwell, or, after Samuel’s death in 1813, their son Godfrey. A very handsome embroidery, this likely depicts a scene from a fictional story of the period and is entitled “I Have Lost My Way.” It was worked by H. Gaskill, whose name, along with the title, was painted in gold leaf on the reverse paint mat.


The provenance of this silk embroidery is highly important as it was in the large collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, perhaps the most significant collectors of American folk art of the early to mid 20th century. Bernice Chrysler Garbisch was the daughter of Chrysler founder, Walter P. Chrylser and material from this collection formed the foundations of many important museums throughout the United States. Additionally, hundreds of pieces from their collections were sold at a ground-breaking, three-part auction in 1974 at Sotheby Parke Bernet: Important Frakturs, Embroidered Pictures, Theorem Paintings, Cutwork Pictures and Other American Folk Art From the Collection of Edgar and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. This silk embroidery was included in that auction.


The Gaskill family emigrated from England in the 17th century and settled in New England initially. They removed to New Jersey and Pennsylvania in search of greater tolerance for their Quaker beliefs. By 1782, the Gaskill family belonged to a Friends Meeting in Philadelphia. The maker of this silk embroidery was likely Hannah Gaskill, born 1788 to William and Sarah (Cooper) Gaskill.


It was worked in silk and watercolor on silk and is in excellent condition. Importantly, it retains its original eglomisé mat and outstanding original gold leaf frame.

Dealer M. Finkel & Daughter
Date: circa 1820
Origin Philadelphia
Artist/Maker H. Gaskill
Measurements Size of the oval: 16½” x 19¾” Framed size: 24½” x 27¾”
Inventory View Dealer's Inventory
Website http://www.samplings.com
Price $9500
Contact Amy Finkel, 215-627-7797 or  mailbox@samplings.com

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