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Displays of Artistic Training

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During the 19th century, many women of the upper classes received education that focused on such skills as drawing, painting, sewing, playing musical instruments, and learning foreign languages. Jessica Pigza observes that domestic arts such as embroidery, quilting, and decorative crafts were considered important skills. “So many of the pages of the album show evidence of the importance of artistic training and skill for young women of a certain class,” she says. “Shells, feathers, branches, birds, and plants abound on these pages. The creator’s interest in the visual emblems of natural history acknowledges women’s increasing activities as naturalists, collecting, studying, and categorizing a variety of natural curiosities.”