Mary Wollstonecraft Place Setting
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
On View: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, 4th Floor
Runner: Silk satin, cotton/linen base fabric, woven interface support material (horsehair, wool, and linen), cotton twill tape, silk, synthetic gold cord, felt padding, braid, buttons, lace, kid leather, ribbons, feathers, suede leather, silk, paint, silk thread
Plate: Porcelain with overglaze enamel (China paint)
Runner: 52 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. (133.4 x 78.1 cm)
Plate:14 3/16 x 14 3/16 x 3 in. (36 x 36 x 7.6 cm) (show scale)
Gift of The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation
Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). Mary Wollstonecraft Place Setting, 1974-1979. Runner: Silk satin, cotton/linen base fabric, woven interface support material (horsehair, wool, and linen), cotton twill tape, silk, synthetic gold cord, felt padding, braid, buttons, lace, kid leather, ribbons, feathers, suede leather, silk, paint, silk thread
Plate: Porcelain with overglaze enamel (China paint), Runner: 52 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. (133.4 x 78.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10-PS-30. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2002.10-PS-30_runner_detail1_PS1.jpg)
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© Judy Chicago
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Tell me more.
This place setting represents the famous writer, Mary Wollstonecraft. Wollstonecraft advocated for the rights of women and published multiple books on the subject.
Here, Chicago uses "stumpwork" an embroidery technique that was popular during Wollstonecraft's life (18th century England) to visually tell the story of her life.
There is some sort of birthing scene on the back of Mary Wollstonecraft’s place setting in ‘The Dinner Party.’ Can you tell me what this depicts?
A birthing scene is exactly what it depicts. Wollstonecraft's runner is adorned with figural representations of scenes from her life including the birth of her daughter, who grew up to be the famous author Mary Shelley.
Wollstonecraft died as a result of complications of the birth. Including this scene is not only meant to represent Wollstonecraft's own life, but the overall dangers of childbirth, one of the largest issues that women have faced throughout time and throughout the world.
How come this one is green?
Chicago hasn't spoken specifically about her color choice for this runner, only noting that she chose to use embroidery styles (needlepoint, petitpoint, embroidery, crochet, and stumpwork) as a comment on the kinds of activities that were considered appropriate for women.