Working Through It

Once upon a time there was a woman called Anna Margaretta Brereton, and she had ten children.
One by one, five of her children died. After the loss of her fifth child, she withdrew to her chamber and began to sew. She cut, she basted, she pieced, she appliquéd, she embroidered.
She hand-sewed not only a full, sweeping bedspread for a four-poster bed, but all the drapes and hangings to go with it.

Bedsead, Boston area, 1760-1780, mahogany, maple, white pine, reproduction hangings - Concord Museum - Concord, MA - DSC05712
This is not Mrs Brereton’s work, but you can see the quantity involved.
It took her four years. And then she emerged from her solitude, ready to gather up the threads of normal life once more. She had literally worked through her grief, “work” being the term applied to women’s sewing and similar handwork.

CC-licensed images of Mrs Brereton’s work are, alas, not to be found, but there are images – and more information – available here.

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