Elizabeth Nickholls, English
In the seventeenth century, a girl’s needlework education culminated in the production of an embroidered box called a “casket” or “cabinett,” typically worked in tent, raised, laid, and couched stitches. Images on the casket often depicted biblical tales. The panels on this example portray the religious story of Esther, a Jewish heroine who saved her people from a Persian assault. Her admirable behavior likely served as a model for the casket’s young maker. Caskets frequently held prized possessions, such as jewelry and writing equipment; as they were personally valuable, they were sometimes preserved in a professionally made oak box.