Friday, 30 December 2011

Quilts from the DAR Museum, Washington DC

I had a lot of marking to do by Christmas, which always impacts on my life including no stitching! However, my creative juices need to be fulfilled so, I've been working on my blog to give me a bit of light relief between each script and I've finally finished it (and the marking!) - a few days late, but well, all good things...

Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington DC
This museum never ceases to amaze me. I have visited on at least 10 occasions over the years and each time I see new quilts hanging in the museum. I have to ask myself just how many amazing quilts do they have in their collection??

All of the quilts below were on display either in the sliding doors or in a special exhibition on American Folk Arts and Crafts. The information has been taken from the information boards plus my own notes.

?Crib Quilt c. 1870-1875
Possibly New England

Woollen crib quilt


Close-up with border

Measurement:- 43" x 49" - the size suggests a child's bed cover, but the wight (heavy) suggests that it may have been intended as a decorative textile which was coming into vogue in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Contruction:- Stylised oak springs and berries (also Hawthorn and Holly), appliqued and embroidered onto squares of alternating striped and solid coloured wool. Diamond shapped appliques in the corners visually connect the squares. Woolen stems (threads) are councehd down throughout and outline the leaves and diamonds. The borders are composed of red and pink roses (dogroses?).

Appliqued cradle top c.1860

Cradle quilt

Close-up of BL cradle top

Close-up of scherenschnitte centre

Made by member of Diehle family of Lanacaster County, Pennsylvania
Measurement:- 39" x 39.5"

Framed Medallion Quilt c.1800

Made by Aberilla Wood Skunk (1784 - 1852), probably of Taneytown, Carroll County, Maryland
Framed Medallion Quilt


Close-up of border - note pomegranate print


This has to be my favourite quilt in the current exhibit.

Measurement:- 87" x 96"
Construction:- Centre spray of grape leaves from a printed leaf print surrounded by a vine wreath of rose buds, ivy leaves and berries creating a central medallion. Framed by pieced borders - sawtooth 3" (triangles have been appliqued) and delectable mountain design 9". Both grapes and pomegranates in border fabric are symbols of prosperity.

Quilt was probably made for Aberilla's trousseau. The quilt passed through the family to whomever was named Aberilla in each generation earning it the family name "the Aberilla quilt".

Red and Green applique quilt c.1850's

Made by Roseanna Ruggles Sloane of Smithville, Alaska

Measurement:- 75.5” x 101.5”

Evening Star c. no date (1870’s?)

Evening Star

Construction: - Ohio Star on point with red sashing. Each block approximately 4 ½” square with 1” sashing. Five alternating borders  red, white, red, white, red each approximately 1” wide.

Tulip Quilt c.1860's

Pomegranate Quilt c.1860's
Pomegranate Quilt

Close-up of Pomegranate Quilt
Made by Lucy Kemper West of Garrard County, Kentucky
Measurement:- 76" square
Fabrics:- plain turkey red, yellow with small red spots, lime green with red specks.

Construction:- 4 block quilt set on point
Quilting – right hand side of quilt quilted differently to left hand side with dahlia flowers at intersections.

Pomegranate Quilt c.1880
From Berkshire County, Pennsylvania

Measurement:- 86” square

Construction:- Pomegranates edged with purple and red blanket stitch which was added later as made of synthetic thread.

Applique Quilt c. 1865

Close-up of rooster

Made by Laura Whicher Adye (1801 - 1875) of Adyeville, Indiana this quilt composed of "stylised floral sprays and curious roosters" are set against a blue background which instantly gains your eye. Laura Whicher married Aner Adye in 1818 in Vermont. They moved first to New York but then in 1837 they moved to Perry Country, Indiana. Laura Adye dyed in Iowa in 1875, thirty years after her husband.

Pieced Quilt c.1940

Close-up of bird block

Possibly made by Blanche Ransom Coleman Parker (1884 - 1981) of Carroll County, Tennessee, this is the only African-American quilt in the DAR Museum collection. Whether Blanche made the quilt is unclear, but she owned it. Blanche Coleman was a skilled seamstress and devoted educator first in Tennessee and later in Missouri.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Botanical Quilts Exhibition - part 2

I have been asked if there was a catalogue for this small exhibit - I am afraid not. All the information below was taken from the information boards inside the glass cases with one or two additions from myself. There are some more pictures on the Charleston Museum's website

I am afraid some of the photographs came out rather dark, but I hope there is sufficient detail for you to see the beauty of the work.

Floral Urn Chintz Applique Quilt Top c. mid-19th century - made by Mary Frampton Townsend Pope

Pope Quilt Top c. mid-19th century

Close-up of left hand border and broderie perse

Close-up of border chintz fabric

Central Urn

Close-up of central urn and bird showing deterioration of fabric in the urn base
A dramatic quilt top particularly with the border fabric with the pink background. The deteriorating fabric at the base of the urn is "...most likely due to the acidic natural dyes used for these colours".

Mary (1804 - 1861), was the daughter of Daniel Townsend jr. and Hepsibah Jenkins of Charleston. Mary married John Jeremiah Pope of the Oaks Plantation in Frogmore (near Beaufort) and the quilt came to the museum in 1988 through her great grand-daughter.

Tree of Life Applique Quilt Top c.1840 - made by Maria Boyd Schultz

The Tree of Life Applique Chintz top c.1840


Another close-up

Close-up of right border

Close-up of bottom left corner - note the giraffe and greek style temples
The tree is composed of a number of different chintz prints pieced together to form the trunk, branches flora and fauna. At the base of the tree are a number of other applied motifs including a giraffe, cavalry officer and palm tree. The border may have been added later since it dates to the 1850's.

Maria Boyd Schultz (1806 - 1883) was the daughter of John Christopher Schultz, a travelling merchant and Susan Flud Cantey of Charleston. Maria was the eldest of nine children, but she never married and the quilt passed down through her sister's family.

Basket of Fruit Chintz Applique Quilt c. 1840 - probably made by Margaret Eliza Darley Seyle Burges

Basket of Fruit Chintz Applique Quilt c. 1840

As above photograph with view of border

Central basket of flowers

Close-up of bird motif

Close-up of border

Close-up of basket motif

This quilt was probably made by the same person who made the Burges Tree of Life Applique Quilt seen in part 1 as it passed down through the same family. The central basket in the centre was a popular motif as it appears on another three quilts in the Charleston Museum collection (not on display). The International Quilt Study Centre and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska also has a quilt with this fruit basket, which is also attributed to Charleston. The quilt is quilted in clamshell pattern throughout with large overlapping arcs in the floral border.

Piece of Chintz fabric c.1835 - Made by John Lowe and Company, England

Piece of Chintz Fabric c. 1835
Whilst originally chintzes were importaed from India, English textile manufacturers started making the fabrics for the home furnishing and quilting markets. This piece still bears the name of John Lowe and company from Shepley Hall and says that they were furniture printers.

Some individual blocks c. 1830's - 1850's

Cactus flower

and.... the chintz applique quilt top that got away...!

The day after visiting the Museum I went out on a trip to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and having recovered from seeing and being so close to alligators (I do not like reptiles and I had no idea that they lived naturally in South Carolina, I always associate them with southern Florida) I took a tour of the house - unfortunately, no photographs were allowed. I kept my eyes peeled though and sighted a reproduction Baltimore Album Quilt and reproduction Eagle applique quilt plus a 1930's feedsack Butterfly quilt. But, in the master bedroom and very hard to see because we were roped off too far away, was what looked to be an 1850's Blazing Star quilt with chintz broderie perse in the corners. I hung around at the end to see if I could get a closer look but it was not to be - soooo frustrating to be so near and yet so far!
Magnolia Plantation
The exhibit at the Charleston Museum will be there until 22nd April 2012, so if you are in the area, do go and see because my photographs do not do the quilts and tops justice.

In my next blog, most probably at the weekend, I will upload my photographs of the quilts that were on display at the DAR Museum in Washington DC, my next port of call.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Botanical Quilts Exhibition - Charleston, South Carolina (Part 1)

In all my planning for my trip I somehow missed the notice for this exhibition so very many thanks to Lisa over at Stray Threads, otherwise I would have most probably missed this small, but wonderful exhibit during my visit to Charleston where it was staged at the Charleston Museum.

The Charleston Museum
Unfortunately, all of the quilts were hung behind glass and were not all completely hung to see, but I spent a really enjoyable, and cool, two hours studying the quilts. Here are just a few of the 172(!) photographs I took that afternoon. The overhead lighting was quite subdued so some of the photographs came out darker despite my playing with the camera controls. Enjoy!

Gracy Drummond's (1777 - 1847) Floral Chintz Applique Album Quilt

c.1844 -45

Eason Block

Close-up of Gracy Drummond's Quilt
Forty-one blocks set on point. Whilst all the blocks have different names on them, it is thought that the workmanship is of one-person. Gracy Drummond's name appears in the centre floral wreath with the date "December 4th, 1845/aged 66 years". The two recipient's names each appear in the two wreaths above Gracy's block. They were "Margaret Thompson Banks 1844" and "James Monroe Eason 1844" who were married in Charleston on March 23rd, 1847. All of the other blocks have been signed by family members.

1885 Chintz Applique Album Coverlet - made by ladies of Pinopolis, SC

1885 Chintz Album Coverlet

Close-up of 1885 Chintz Album Quilt
A comparitively late chintz quilt composed of 30 blocks. Many of the blocks are signed in ink or embroidery. The signatures probably represent friends and family of Rene Ravenel and his wife Maria Stevens Jervey who lived at Pooshee Plantation in Pinopolis at the time.

Trophy of Arms Chintz Pieced Quilt, c.1815 - probably made by Mary Withers Read
Trophy of Arms c. 1815
The centre medallion

Close-up of 1815 Trophy of Arms Quilt

The centre medallion shows a number of pieces of equipment used in hunting - a shield, arrows and horn. Interstingly none of the chintz was cut up, but used in its entirety. to form a series of borders. The whole has been quilted using an overlapping fan design.
Mary Withers Read was the wife of John Harleston Read (1788 - 1858); she died in 1820. It descended within the family who donated it to the museum and is thought to have been made by Mary based on the date of the fabrics.

Chintz Applique Album Quilt Top c.1847 - 1848 - made by family and friends of the Chapman family Blackville and Charleston, South Carolina

Chapman Family Album Quilt Top c.1847 -1848

Close-up of block

Close-up of another block

Made of 36 squares the top was never completed. Only 15 of the squares are signed and dated. The bold floral piecs were very popular during the 1840's.

Mary Louisa Schirmer's chintz pieced and appliqued crib quilt - late 19th century

Chintz applique and pieced crib quilt

A variation of a log cabin quilt, with a block of chintz or a tiny piece of appliqued chintz in the centre of each block. Mary Louisa (1852 - 1941), was the daughter of Jacob Frederick Schirmer and Mary Margaret Bachman of Charleston. Mary Louisa married Otto Tiedeman, a Charleston grocer.

Aiken Basket of Flowers Chintz Applique Quilt - c.1840

Aiken quilt c.1840
Close-up of centre basket

Close-up of wreath in border
Described as the "quintessential Charleston chintz applique quilt", the maker is unknown. The central basket is made from a vine print and the circular border around the basket is made from a pieced floral vine. Around the outer border are four appliqued wreaths each with a print of an architectural ruin inside.

Tree of Life Applique Quilt c.1833 - probably made by Margaret Eliza Darley Seyle Burges

Burges Quilt c.1833

Close-up of top right corner and border

Close-up of peacock
The base of tree is a mound of flowers with peacocks sitting to the left and right. It is marked in blue cross-stitch on the back with "Burges/Dec 1833". The border is a large chintz appliqued cut out on a printed floral background. The tree is composed on a number of appliqued cut-outs from different chintz fabrics and include large hollyhocks as well as the palm trees.

Margaret (1804-1877) was the daughter of Samuel Seyle and Mary Susannah Wesner from Charleston. She married James Burges jr. in 1829 and the quilt was passed down through the family before being donated to the museum by her great grand-son in 2010.

That's part 1!  I hope you have enjoyed the show! It has taken me a few days to upload these, so I'll publish the remaining quilts in part 2 later this week.