A fine embroidered marriage coverlet made by Anna Maria van Lennep for her daughter Elisabeth Clara Morier, circa 1768-1778

A fine embroidered marriage coverlet made by Anna Maria van Lennep for her daughter Elisabeth Clara Morier, circa 1768-1778

Cream satin, very finely hand-worked in polychrome silk threads, with floral and foliate monogram of Elisabeth Clara Morier, 150 x 150 cm (59 x 59 ins)

Embroidered in the centre with the monogram ECM (for Elisabeth Clara Morier)

Paper label stitched to one corner of verso with manuscript note in a late-19th century hand: ‘Quilt worked by Mrs. David Van Lennep & presented to her daughter Elisabeth Clara (b. 1760) on her wedding (February 1778 at Smyrna) to Isaac Morier, British Consul at Constantinople. This quilt took ten years to work.’

Made by Anna Maria van Lennep, née Leidstar (1737–1802); presented to her daughter Elisabeth Clara van Lennep (1760–1834) on her wedding day in 1778 to Isaac Morier (1750–1817), British Consul-General of the Levant Company in Constantinople; passed to their eldest daughter Frances Horatia Morier (1815–1906) who married Edward Harbottle Grimston (1812–1881) in 1842; passed to their son Walter Edward Grimston (1844–1932) who married Emily Pryor in 1872; passed to their daughter Mary Noel Grimston (1881–-1937) who married Henry Hamilton Gepp (c.1876–1945) in 1905; passed to their eldest child Miriam Gepp (1906–1996) who married Lionel William Harrison in 1929; passed to their daughter Helen Harrison who married David Matcham in 1958; passed to their daughter, by whom sold in 2023.


An exquisite example of 18th-century needlework, with a most remarkable history: made by a mother for her daughter, it has descended through the generations of one family, right down to the present day. Embroidered with the monogram of Elisabeth Clara Morier in the centre of a laurel wreath tied with a blue ribbon bow, within a circular border of lattice scrolls interlaced with flower garlands, top of border with a cluster of grapes, strawberries and a pear, with a dragonfly, and bottom of border with a flower posy, on a ground of scattered flower sprigs and sprays, wide border of interwoven flower garlands, with pink or blue bow-tied posies at intervals, including roses, heartsease, bluebells, lilies, sweetpeas, auriculas, carnations, and morning glory, with fruit, butterflies, and other insects at corners, narrow outer scrolling floral border.

Anna Maria Leidstar married David George van Lennep (1712–1797) in 1758.1 A fine group portrait of the couple with some of their thirteen children of c.1770, attributed to Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), is preserved in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, datable around 1769–1771, based on the ages of the children (fig.).2 If the coverlet indeed took ten years to make, according to family tradition, it had therefore not long been begun by Anna Maria, and the marriage of her oldest surviving daughter perhaps only a hopeful anticipation for the future.

The painting shows Elisabeth Clara as a beautiful young girl, standing to the right of her parents. She wears Turkish clothes consisting of an apricot-coloured silk and fur coat over a matching gown, with a large belt around her waist, pearls at her throat, and flowers and feathers in her turbanesque headdress, her long dark hair in a single plait. She holds a drawing pen in her right hand, and gazes out at the viewer knowingly. She perhaps had good cause to look sure of herself: her father was an affluent Dutch banker and merchant, dealing in fine cloth, as well as a variety of other goods, such as sugar, coffee, fruit, herbs, porcelain and glass; and her mother had ensured the education of her daughters, as well as of her sons. Anna Maria herself, also wearing Turkish clothes, is seated at the centre of the composition, quite literally the focal point of the scene, the heart of the family – she seems to have embraced the Ottoman culture more than her husband, who is shown wearing European clothes. She is offered a pink rose by a younger daughter, reminiscent of the embroidered flowers.

Isaac Morier met Elisabeth Clara whilst working for his future father-in-law. In 1804, he was appointed the first Consul-General of the Levant Company at Constantinople, and on the dissolution of the company in 1806, he became his Britannic Majesty’s Consul. He also became an agent of the East India Company, and held both positions until his death from the plague in Constantinople in 1817.


1. For the family relations, see F.J.E. van Lennep, Late Regenten, Haarlem 1962, pp. 208-221.
2. Oil on canvas, 172 x 248 cm, inv. no. SK-A-4127; Pieter J.J. van Thiel, All the paintings in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: a completely illustrated catalogue, Amsterdam 1976, p. 226, repr.