Our little painted velvet and silk bag was made by Maria Martin [Bachman], probably in the 1820s. The bag is silk, with cream velvet inserts, each painted with a lovely flower. Silk tassel fringe encircles each insert and across the bottom of the bag. The top has an encased drawstring ribbon, too delicate to pull at this time.

Maria was born in Charleston on July 3, 1796, the youngest of four daughters of John Jacob and Rebecca Martin. When her sister, Harriet, married Rev. John Bachman (1790-1874) of St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1816, Maria and her mother also became part of the new household.  After her sister Harriet’s death in 1846, Maria married the Rev. John Bachman on December 28, 1848. She died in Columbia in December 1863.

John James Audubon, a friend of the Bachman family, noticed Maria’s talents as a watercolorist on his visit in 1831. She subsequently supplied many paintings of plants that were used as backgrounds for Audubon’s birds in The Birds of America. In doing so, she became the only well-known South Carolina female artist of the 19th century.

Coming Friday: a selection of Maria’s watercolors will be featured in our Ephemera Friday posting for 3/8/13

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday