Of the dozen or so distinctive needlework pictures from the Saint Joseph's Academy near Emmitsburg, Maryland, that are currently known, the present example is among the very finest. Two other examples are likely by young girls who were related to Elizabeth Motter, as a very similar example signed "A.M. Motter" and another signed "A. E. Motter" are known.
Elizabeth Motter was born in 1810, and thus worked this remarkable picture at age 15. In 1830 she married Dr. Andrew Motter (1809-1896). She died in 1864. Elizabeth's carefully detailed rendering of the rolling countryside of Maryland and the surrounding buildings and distant village of Emmitsburg affords a rare glimpse of rural Maryland in the early 19th century. For more on the Saint Joseph's Academy needlework pictures, see Betty Ring, Girlhood Embroidery (New York, 1993), pp. 516-521, and Rumford, ed., American Folk Paintings From the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center (Colonial Williamsburg, 1988), cat. no. 34.