ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

Gekooide levens
Een vrij interpretatie van een borduurwerk tegen de slavernij
by: S. Legêne

in: Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, 48, 2000, no. 4, pp.280-293
with english summary, pp. 323-4:
Caged Lives.
A Free Interpretation of an Anti-slavery Embroidery,
illustrated in colour

A very interesting article about an embroidered picture in the Dutch History Department of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The picture, done in coloured silks on satin, shows two women and a man demonstrating a caged mouse to a man seated at a table in a garden. A verse below entreats the man to set the mouse free "because our hearts bleed on seeing slavery". The picture is dated 1784 and signed by its maker Louise van Ommeren-Hengevelt (1757-1846), who with her husband figured in progressive circles in Arnhem, where they were prominent citizens. The author discusses the participation of women in the anti-slavery movement in the Netherlands and suggests that the picture also contains an implied plea for women to be allowed to play an active role in political life.

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