The beautiful new wing of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is full of surprises and work that has never been on display before because there wasn't room. One of the biggest surprises, one I've returned to many times is the exquisite room of cross stitch pieces done all around the 1700's in Boston and surrounding areas by 12 year old girls. It's an amazing room that guarantees goosebumps when you begin to think how seldom women, let alone young girls from that era get represented. These fragile pieces are gorgeous, gentle works and a way for these girls to learn their letters. The one pictured here is a particular favorite of mine and one I make a point of seeing often, it's by Martha Decoster (Decoster or Decosta is Portuguese for "the coast"). She lived in the North End of Boston, my old neighborhood and even though her name conjures up images of the Sea her father was "a humble bricklayer". Clearly he was a busy man as Boston is smothered in brick!
I cannot make out all Martha has written at the top of her piece but the bottom writing is clear and says: "Martha Decoster is my name New England is my nation Boston is my dwelling place and Christ is my salvation when I am dead and lied in grave and all my bones are rotten if this you see remember me and never let me be forgotten." Martha stitched this piece in 1749, 262 years later Martha you bring tears to my eyes and a chill to think a 12 year old girl could write this and so beautifully. You are not forgotten...