"Mr. Folwell, being a master of Drawing, those ladies under her tuition will have a double advantage in shading which is all the merit of the picture," states an advertisement in the September 18, 1813 issue of Paulson's American Daily Advertiser, regarding Samuel Folwell's wife, Ann's, school of embroidery. This embroidered picture is an example of the work of a Samuel Folwell, a Philadelphia painter and embroidery designer. The embroidery was worked by Bernard's wife, Amelia, but she hired Folwell to design the composition and paint the faces and hands of the figures. Folwell's work is represented by a large group of silk embroideries worked in Philadelphia in the early 19th century, including allegorical pictures, literary vignettes, bucolic tableaux, and family portraits.
The present lot depicts General Barnard of Philadelphia, his wife, Amelia, who worked this embroidery, and their four children. As a young man, General Barnard rose in the ranks of the Continental Army under George Washington. Barnard's tour of duty begat a successful political career, as evidenced by his being chosen to welcome and host the Marquis de Lafayette upon his arrival in Trenton, New Jersey on 24 July 1825 (Frederick Butler, The Memoirs of the Marquis de Lafayette, p. 351). For similar examples of Folwell's work, see The Magazine Antiques (February 1981), pp. 420-422.