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Sophia L. Crownfield Textile Designs On View

Works on paper and silk textile samples show the artist's process

Posted 05.03.17 by Katherine Cowan

Composite image of Crownfield in studio and textle design work

May 1 - 26, 2017
Curated by Katherine Cowan '81

Sophia Louise Crownfield was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1862. By 1889 she moved to New York City and soon began working as a designer for the textile industry, creating floral- and plant-based patterns for the women's dress silk trade. One consistent employer was the Cheney Silk Company of Connecticut. She died in 1929, age 67, at which time her home was 133 West 12th Street in New York.

This collection of Crownfield's work was given to MICA in 1941 by the artist's sister, Gertrude Crownfield, but only recently came from storage to the Decker Library so that it can be accessed by the community.

Consisting of more than 1200 works -- mainly on paper --  the collection is largely comprised of studies toward designs for textile patterns. Many drawings are in a linear realistic style with emphasis on the structure of the plants, while others, particularly those in color, emphasize the volume of the subject. Then there are examples of more abstracted motifs as the artist developed textile patterns, and some examples of completed silk textiles are included.

A finding aid to the collection is available on the Decker Library website, including image samples.

Learn More:
To see materials from the Library's special collections, ask at the Information Desk during library hours or email refer@mica.edu to make an appointment. Faculty are welcome to schedule class visits to see collections and can use this online form to do so.

Examples of Sophia L. Crownfield's work are held at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, New York. The museum provides many images online in high resolution.

A book on the Cheney Silk company is available in the Decker Library's collection: The Story of Silk & Cheney Silks [c1916]. It is also online through Cornell University's Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, and History (HEARTH).

Images:
Thumbnail: Detail of Crownfield design.
This page: Above - Crownfield in her studio. Photograph courtesy of Laura Muha. Below - Crownfield studies and design using a poppy motif, and completed silk textile. Photographs by Arthur Soontornsaratool.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

This page was last updated on 05/03/2017.