Guests in Eden


The plate on the opposite page is one unit of a design created in 1930 by Ruth Reeves, "for a young girl's bedroom." It was made up in velvet and in voile and exhibited by W. & J. Sloane, New York. It was also included in an exhibit which toured the United "States and was' for a time, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This design was reproduced in The Art Digest, December 15, 1930, and, more recently, as a full page frontis-piece in the February, 1946, issue of Craft Horizons, where it illustrated an article by Ralph M. Pearson on Living Design.

Miss Reeves, when asked for further information about the design, said that the idea occurred to her when she was living in Amherst, not far from the house in which Emily Dickinson was born, did most of her writing, and died. The flowers, of course, represent those which abounded in Emily's garden, and which brought her so many happy hours. The cats are two of the endless series cherished by Emily's sister, Lavinia, but no favorites of Emily--outside the house, one notes, not curled on the sunny window sill, under her caressing hand. The bird being released from the window symbolizes the manner in which Emily by her poetry has brought winged release to many burdened hearts.

The textile itself may be seen, so far as Miss Reeves knows, only in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London-although it is possible there may be a sample of it in the Jones Library, Amherst.

The actual size of the unit of design was fourteen inches square, but the reproduction in reduced size gives a clear idea of the interest and charm of the original.

A. G. W.

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Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved.
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Last updated on March 10, 2008

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