Amongst the excellent silk embroideries worked at the Balch School in Providence, Rhode Island is a group of print-work memorials, worked between 1810 and 1820. They feature elaborate monuments without figures and were all accomplished, according to Betty Ring, with "an infinite array of minute seed stitches which create the effect of an engraving." Examples are shown in Betty Ring's Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee and her Balch School article in The Magazine Antiques, April 1975. A similar example was in the collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.
This important silk embroidery, a newly discovered example from this group, was worked in memory of the first wife and infant children of Newport watchmaker and silversmith, Nicholas Geffroy (1764-1839). The inscription read "In Memory of Sally Geffroy wife of Nicolas Geffroy who died Sept 12 1805 age 29," "John Geffroy died August 4 1797 age 3 month and six days," and "Julia Geffroy died Sept 17 1801 aged 4 days."
It is attributed to their daughter, Adeline Geffroy (1803-1819) who would have attended the Balch School in Providence as a boarding student. In fact, Adeline's death in 1819 at age 16 was recorded in Providence and may have occurred when she was still a student. Nicholas Geffroy was born in Grenville, France and was married in Newport in 1795 to Sally Shaw (1776-1805). The book, American Silversmiths and their Marks, by Robert Ensko, states that Mr. Geffroy was working in Newport as early as the year he married, 1795. An 1800 advertisement in The Newport Mercury indicates the scope of his business as a watchmaker and merchant as well.
The silk embroidery is in very good condition with slight weakness to the silk background. It is in its original fine gold leaf frame with a later eglomise glass mat.