QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A $5 Quilt


I recently purchased this quilt for $5. From all the madder paisleys and blue violets I am guessing it's from about 1870-1890.

The pattern is one of my favorites, BlockBase #2056,
which the Ladies Art company called Union about 1890.

It's very scrappy blocks sashed with a print strip. Has a sawtooth border.

The sash alternates a feathery shape with a red oblong.
Rather strange print.

You might think I got a bargain but the poor thing is in terrible shape.

Nearly every block has severe fabric loss.


So my question is how can a quilt get this worn out?
It doesn't look like it was put between the mattress and the springs,
a form of quilt torture that produces a very worn top, but this one
is too fluffy for that.

In fact it's too fluffy to have been quilted in 1890.
Parts of the binding are multi-colored floral prints that look
1930-1960. And the backing is a loosely woven white cotton
you often see on the back of 20th century quilts.

I wonder if it wasn't quilted about 1950 (sixty or seventy years after the top was made.)

That could explain the wear. All those 1950 stitches through 1880 fabric.
The fabrics just disintegrated


Quilting old tops from the 19th century is a ba-a-d idea. Especially tops with
brown fabrics that are delicate due to the dyes. 

Dot thinks it might make a good dog bed.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Primrose Path #3: Back to the Chintz Stripe

I was doing a post on this floral stripe chintz a few days ago when I digressed into the topic of identifying the Auricula primrose on the Floral Motifs on Early Chintz website.

But I was supposed to be focused on this stripe and its many appearances in quilts
in the U.S. and the U.K.

The British Quilters Guild collection includes the Fife Coverlet frame quilt, found at a fleamarket in Fife, Scotland. It's attributed to the 1830s. Around the central panel is the floral stripe with bouquets of primroses (Auricula).

The floral border surrounds a center panel 
(Makower reproduced the center about five or six years ago.)


http://www.quiltmuseum.org.uk/collections/heritage/fife-coverlet.html

Even if its history wasn't known we'd guess this was a quilt from the U.K. by the succession of pieced frames and in particular the use of rectangles, a British style characteristic that Americans
didn't often use. Americans developed different styles.

One American style: Central Stars. This one was
once in the McCarl's collection and is now in Jane Lury's as far as I know.

It is interesting how the quiltmakers often preserved the thin
geometric stripe to make a final fine border.

Another star quilt was documented by the Massachusetts project...

 ... now in Anita Loscalzo's collection.

The Quilt Index file notes that the print in the corners, the "calla lily" motif appears in several other quilts and that it is a "Match to accompany Broderie Perse floral."  Perhaps a pair of prints for a Sheraton style chair?

Sheraton's illustration of a chintz upholstered chair about 1800 

Bouquet on the chair seat's top, stripe around the edge?

A little Photoshopping
(actually a lot of Photoshopping)

Read more about Sheraton style chintzes

Quilt collectors and historians are calling this print calla lily,
iris or Mexican shellflower chintz. It is often seen in chintz applique
(Broderie Perse) quilts from about 1830-1860.

It is interesting how often the calla lily and the stripe appear in the same quilt.

See a post on the calla/Mexican shellflower print here:


Second star quilt documented by the Massachusetts project featuring both the calla bouquet and the floral stripe.

Switching styles:

Collection of International Quilt Study Center & Museum #2008_040_0019
From the Dillow Collection
The border stripe is the final border as it often is.

Again we have quilts in similar style, fabric and pattern.

Quilt attributed to slaves, Pearlington, Mississippi, 1830s.
Museum at Michigan State University
Fruit panel in the center and this border stripe along the edge.

The last medallion was donated by Linda Bell, who received it as a gift. Much more is known about this one than any of the others as Bell also donated "a letter from the donor, a letter written by the donor's great grandmother describing the family history, 2 pages of genealogy chart, marriage certificate, two pages of will of a family member, two pages from a publication citing family history."


Obvious similarities in the two medallions with pieced borders are the nine-patch stars (BlockBase #1631) alternating with applique. In the IQSCM border the stars alternate with appliqued hexagons; in the other with small cut-out chintz florals.

Most of the examples in my photo files are chintz applique medallions.

Collection of International Quilt Study Center & Museum
#1997_007_0306
From the James collection.

Includes both stripe and calla lily print with 11 repeats of the calla,
 maybe from Baltimore.

 International Quilt Study Center & Museum #2006_003_0002

With the equally popular fruit basket panel in the center.
No calla lilies.

Quilt attributed to the Boyle Sisters of Petersburg, [West] Virginia
Collection of Colonial Williamsburg.

The outside border. The central panel is the fruit again. 
The Boyle sisters were professional quiltmakers.

See a post about their quilts here:

Style changed in the 1840s as conventional applique in block format replaced the fashion for chintz.

Quilt attributed to the Calvert family of Maryland, 1841, made for Ella Calvert by the midwife attending her birth at Riversdale near Bladensburg, Prince George's County. Collection of the Maryland Historical Society. [Ella Calvert Campbell is also reported to have been born in 1840 in Baltimore.]

The Calvert quilt seems to be a transition piece
between old fashion and new with conventional applique
of  Turkey red and green calico alternating with chintz bouquets.
The Calvert quilt also contains both the calla lily bouquet and the floral stripe.

From the Maryland project and their book
A Maryland Album
The Carroll County quiltmakers who stitched this 1845 album for Joseph Rinehart used the stripe floral as an old-fashioned border on a cutting-edge new style.

Made in New Jersey, International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
#1997.007.0628



I haven't seen a reproduction of the stripe under discussion, but Petra Prins has something similar in her current Barnsley collection.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Primrose Path #2: Foral Motifs on Early Chintz

                                        
Border in a quilt at the International Quilt 
Study Center & Museum.

I hope you clicked on the Auricula page yesterday to see Terry Terrell's and Deborah Kraak's Foral Motifs on Early Chintz webpageAnd I hope you are as impressed as I am with this feat of digitization.

      
The Auricula page

Pink or red flowers


You may have noticed you can sort by flower color

Or by name: Common names or Scientific Names
Scroll down and you will find examples of chintz quilts with that particular flower
and also examples of the fabric.

Here's an example: 
I have this photo of a block dated 1842.


I know now that the compound flower in the lower left
is an Auricula and I am guessing the single lily at top right is a calla lily.
So I click on Calla under common names.
Zantedeschia aethiopica 

You see a picture of the flower motif in a chintz with an illustration and a photograph of the flower. And there is the same calla print in the fabric on the left.

Scrolling down they give you many examples of quilts  using calla lilies.

Like Mary Rooker Norris's 1846 quilt in the collection of
the DAR Museum. The calla is along the bottom row here on the left.

I scroll down to the bottom and they tell me where to find a piece of fabric. Here's what they say:

"The Victoria and Albert Museum, Furnishing Fabric Fragment, Object Number T.418-1967, c. 1830-1840."


I look it up at the V&A by object number and there is the fabric in all its whole-chintz glory. 
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O288652/furnishing-fabric-unknown/

Here's what they say:
"This website is intended to encourage accurate identification of flowers and other motifs found on chintz printed from the last quarter of the 18th century to the third quarter of the 19th century.  We hope that you will find it useful.  This is a labor of love by the authors, Terry Tickhill Terrell (botanist, quilt historian, and webmaster) and Deborah Kraak (art historian and museum professional).  While the title says the site is designed to be used for flowers on chintz, you will see occasional examples and citations for copperplate printed and indigo resist fabrics.  Further, we believe it can be helpful in identifying flowers on other decorative applications such as on pottery and porcelains.  These areas may be added as time permits and expertise becomes available.  The site is currently quite small but there will be new additions as fast as we can research the flowers and get permission from collections, museums, and individual collectors to use their examples."
I have been bumbling around trying to link fabric and quilts and dates for years. It will be a lot easier now.
Here is a post on the Calla lily image.
http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2017/10/calla-lilies-tulips-and-mexican-shell.html

Tomorrow: Back to the Primrose Path chintz stripe. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Primrose Path #1: A Chintz Stripe & A New Fabric Resource

Quilt in collection of Colonial Williamsburg

An intriguing chintz stripe seen in
 several mid-19th-century quilts.

Floral finish to a geometric Irish Chain

From Stella Rubin's inventory

The Victoria and Albert Museum collection includes a swatch showing us the details. The print is directional like a garden border, alternating red flowers with a brown compound bloom. The caption:
"Border of roller and block-printed cotton. The pattern includes a floral design of dahlias. About 1830."
The dahlias must be the large red flowers. We assume this is an English print. All my photos show one colorway, a multicolor print with red and yellow flowers (the yellows could fade it seems) and several brown flowers ---which may have once been purple.

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O292758/border-unknown/

I guessed the multiple florals were English primroses
although my botany is primitive at best.

Knowing my limits, I asked advice from 
Botanist/Quilter Terry Terrell
who sent this photo of an auricula:

"a type of primrose that the English have extensively bred for shows. I believe that it is the primrose we see on most chintzes."

 Auricula  from the 1730 series Furber's Flowers, this arrangement for March

She's absolutely right!

I bet the primroses have faded from purple to brown.



I often ask Terry to help me identify the flowers in chintzes and now you can use her expertise too. Check out the new webpage she and art historian Deborah Kraak have developed to index floral chintzes, cross referencing botany and imagery.

Here's the page on Auricula.
http://www.flowersonchintz.com/Flower%20-%20Auricula.htm

Terry, Deborah and I are pleased to introduce you to their new webpage: Floral Motifs on Early Chintz

Champagne all around!

More tomorrow about  Floral Motifs on Early Chintz, a wonderful reference for textile and botanical historians.