“The First, Second and Last Scenes of Mortality”

Prudence Punderson (1758-1784) was born in Preston, Connecticut. Her father was a Loyalist and fled with his family to Long Island during the Revolution. Prudence was a gifted artist with her needle and embroidered this picture, sewn on silk with silk thread, when she was a young woman. It is a “momento mori,” entitled “The First, Second and Last Scenes of Mortality.” Intended to remind one of the shortness of life, it depicts the three stages in the life of a woman—in this case Prudence’s: infancy, womanhood, and death. Prudence is the baby in a cradle tended by a black servant; she is the young woman at the table in the prime of life; and she is in a coffin marked with the initials PP. Sadly, Prudence’s life was short. She married Dr. Timothy Rossiter in 1783 and died in 1784 after giving birth to a daughter.

Punderson’s needlework picture is at the Connecticut Historical Society.

posted May 7th, 2015 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Art, Death, Loyalists, Punderson, Prudence


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