Winding Yarn (Interior of a Nantucket Kitchen), 1872. Creator: Eastman Johnson (American
Winding Yarn (Interior of a Nantucket Kitchen), 1872. Several of Johnson's most acclaimed works were inspired by Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he summered after acquiring property in the early 1870s. Set in a rustic kitchen interior, this painting depicts a woman who winds a ball of yarn from a coil looped in the hands of a man sitting across from her at a respectable distance. At the time, winding yarn was a common symbol of courtship that carried humorous overtones of a woman ensnaring her suitor. The second woman in the composition is likely a chaperone. The suitor's unrefined, open-legged pose, coupled with his uncouth action of placing his hat on the floor, adds further comic elements that audiences at the time would have appreciated.
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