Friday, May 26, 2017

Mary Elizabeth Jones Orgain's 1818 Sunflower Quilt

Quilt signed and dated 1818 Sterling and Mary Orgain
Texas quilt project & the Quilt Index.
Made by Mary Elizabeth Jones Orgain (1801-1878)

This quilt in the collection of the Briscoe Center was
recently shown at the Bell County Museum in Texas.

I've been analyzing my collection of quilts with dates inscribed on them and this one stands out among the quilts in the teens. Could it really be as old as 1818?

It's so...block-like
so....like she bought the fabric just for a quilt
the chintz looks so....imported.
It's so repetitive.
All design characteristics that are rather uncommon 200 years ago.

See my Pinterest page of quilts date-inscribed 1811-1820 by clicking here:

I gave a paper at Colonial Williamsburg this spring on the topic of style and pattern in dated quilts before 1840 so I've puzzled about this one. Is Mary Orgaine a trend setter in quilt style?
I'm going to believe the date is accurate and that she was in the forefront of quilt design in the teens. But she wasn't alone in stitching repetitive circular blocks

Quilt signed "1811 REB" from the Ohio Historical Society's collection.
This red and white Mariner's Compass is dated 1811 in the center in stuffed work. (Not something you'd add later)

Mary Jones (there are many now and then)  married a man named Sterling Orgaine or Orgain (of whom there may be only two in recorded history --- Sterling and Sterling Jr.) It's easy to find records of them. [The men's first names were William but were known as Sterling.]

Mary & Sterling Sr. (1787-1878) were married March 31, 1818. Mary Elizabeth Jones (1801-1878) was born in Tennessee to Edmund Jones of Murfeesboro. Sterling was born in Brunswick County, Virginia. In 1818 he was living in West Tennessee, in what would become Paris, a merchant and blacksmith in partnership with Alfred Moore who married Mary Elizabeth's sister. (Mary may have been called by her middle name too.)

The quilt likely was made in Tennessee for their wedding. The Orgains were prosperous, listed as owners of 30 slaves in the 1830 census. Mary Elizabeth gave birth to 11 children. It seems that both her father Edmund and her husband were Methodist preachers.

It's quite plausible that the 1818 date is accurate. And we also can consider this a possible slave-made quilt because the Orgains were slaveholders.

In 1854 her son John Henry Orgain sent one of his slaves to Texas to oversee some land he'd purchased. Adam Orgain (1837-?) is considered the first settler in Hutto in Williamson County, Texas. The rest of the family including Sterling and Mary Elizabeth followed at some point during the 1850s. 32 year-old John and 25-year-old Sterling Jr. enlisted in the Williamson County Grays, 7th Regiment, Company C, John was wounded but both survived the war.

 Hutto, Texas in the 1870s.  Collection of the Hutto Heritage Foundation

Hutto, near Round Rock in Williamson County, remained the Orgains's home. Mary Elizabeth and Sterling are both buried in the Shiloh McCutcheon Cemetery. 

Both died in January, 1878. 

Son Ben's house

Their children were prosperous too and several of their homes still stand in Hutto and the area.
Son John's house

Grandson Elbert's house.

And read more about the Orgains here:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Queen Victoria Coronation Prints

Queen Victoria Coronation Commemorative Print
Cut out and appliqued to a quilt block.
Collection International Quilt Study Center & Museum # 1997.007.0479

A second  chintz quilt with a similar figure from Ohio in the IQSCM collection.
This is #2001.015.001

A third American quilt with a different coronation print.
This one is the 1843 Sarah Morrell album in the collection
of the American Museum of Folk Art.

A fourth:
Displayed last month at the Munson, Williams, Proctor Art Institute
in Utica, New York.

The cotton was probably printed in 1838 for the June event.
The print features a monochrome scene in a field of full-color chintz in the quilt above.
This print seems to be more common than the other, done in several colorways.

The seated Queen is surrounded by courtiers as she is crowned.

Center of a British quilt with a coronation print in the center. 
Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
See the whole quilt here:

The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt Museum has a large piece with a light ground
and limited color - half chintz.

Same scene but a variation with a 
 a fancy background
of diamond shaped netting.

That detail comes from this whole-cloth quilt of the yardage.

The Lion in the English coat of arms overlooks the scene.

I've found two Coronation commemorative handkerchiefs,
 the blue one above in the collection
of the Victoria and Albert.

The red one from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

I bet there were more cotton prints produced.
And more quilts made featuring them.

See a photo of Victoria's coronation robe:

More about the costumes in the television drama on PBS last winter.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quilt Market St Louis: Our Virtual Booth

Our Virtual Booth
Sunflower Pattern Co-operative

Spring Quilt Market is in St. Louis this week: May 19-21, 2017.

We are bringing everybody.
Me, Karla, Pam, Deb, Jean, Shauna
and Dottie the Dachshund.

The true facts are we aren't actually going to market. But it's always
fun to design the virtual booth.

Another True Fact: We have no new patterns right now for the Sunflower Pattern Co-operative. We are focusing on digitizing the classics from years past for our Etsy Shop.

You can buy a PDF of Crown of Thorns

 (And we only have one actually digitized) but we have a lot of books and patterns in paper fashion still in stock.

Check out the actual virtual store here:

(PS: I'm going on vacation for about 2 weeks so any orders will be delayed till June.)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Past Perfect: Quilts de Légende

Somerset by Marie Francoise Gregoire
Inspired by a quilt in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

This month's Past Perfect post features a group: the French organization Quilts de Légende which as far as I can translate means Legendary Quilts---but I think the meaning is more like Traditional, Fantastic Quilts.

My French is pretty bad. I read just enough to mistake the meaning, so please, French speakers, correct my misinformation if you would.

Le Chapman by Marie Francoise Gregoire:
Another V&A quilt as inspiration.

I picked two of the many master artists to feature as I had shots of several of their quilts
from past years.

Here's what I can figure out.
Quilts de Légende is a branch of Association France Patchwork, the French Patchwork Guild, which began in 1984 and now has 12,000 members. Every other spring the group holds a special exhibition, usually in Brouage, France. The exhibit is up now until June 11th at La Tonnellerie & la Poudrière.

2017 is the 9th version for the juried exhibit, which is held every other year and travels through Europe. The current theme is QUILTS XIX Début XX Siècle. My translation: Quilts From the End of the 19th Century into the 20th.

Evelyne suggests looking at Linda Collins's Instagram page. She posts a quilt everyday and has been documenting this year's Brouage show:

And Francoise tells us: The show will travel to "St Marie aux Mines(France), half septembre"

Alabama  by Marie Francoise Gregoire.

Participants have been making reproductions of American quilts from that period for this year's competition. There are stringent rules for entry:

Page Botanique by Louise-Marie Stipon,

inspired  by Ernestine Eberhardt Zaumseil 's quilt 

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sue Garman described the rules:
"The quilts are all reproductions of antique quilts from Europe, Australia, and the United States. The rules for entry state that every quilt must be an exact reproduction of an antique quilt, using fabric as true to the original as possible, and they must be made entirely by hand: no machine piecing, no machine quilting, no machine assembly, no machine binding. Every stitch in the quilt must be done by hand. Knowing this makes the quilts, indeed, legendary."

Quilting by Louise-Marie Stipon

Teri & Kara at the Needle'sEyeStories blog interviewed curator Catherine Bonte who said:
"The quilts must be made from a picture in a book or a museum, without kits or patterns. All of the work is by hand; no machine stitching is permitted. The members' work is strictly judged for quality of stitches, including quilting....the quilts included in the exhibit are 'the best of the best of the best.' "

Floral Sampler by Louise-Marie Stipon.

Needle manufacturer Bohin sponsors the exhibit which travels all over Europe. You may have seen one bi-annual version at the Quilt Festival in Houston.

It is wonderful that the French quiltmakers have so much respect for our quilt history and for handwork. (No matter how many times you read the cliche, handwork is NOT a dying art.)

The question might be: Why do we not have a similar exhibit in the United States? The prestige of being accepted is incentive to do a lot of handwork and studying antiques. The closest thing is AQSG's bi-annual challenge (this year on solid color quilts.) The rules are not so stringent and the repros are smaller.

Brouage is an old fortified city on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, about 183 kilometers from Nantes (114 Miles) so one could visit the quilt fest in Nantes, Pour l'Amour du Fil, and the exhibit in Brouage in the same trip--- some spring in an odd numbered year.. 

UPDATE: This book is a catalog of the Moda quilt collection.
Same name however.

There's a book from Moda and Linzee MacCray in 2012.
Quilts de légende : L'univers Moda by  Linzee Kull MacCray

Françoise Lietaert has corrected several errors.
1) that Moda book has nothing to do with the Quilts de Legende exhibit I am talking about..

2) The quilts do not have to be exact copies.

France Patchwork's blog:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oh! To Be in Cairo in 1880

Detail of a quilt that political textile collector
Julie Powell donated to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Oh to be in Cairo. 
Cairo, Illinois that is...
(Pronounced Karo)

When Stuart's Dry Goods had the following for sale:
  • Robe Prints
  • Patchwork Prints
  • Comfort Prints
  • Handkerchief  Prints
  • Hancock & English Prints
  • Garfield & Arthur Prints

Garfield & Arthur print for the 1880 Presidential Election

James A. Garfield was President for about 200 days in
1881 until he was assassinated.
The above top with cut-out chintz detailing is a mourning quilt.

The Hancock and English prints are not what I first thought---prints from England. Winfield Scott Hancock and running mate William H. English had their own campaign textiles too.
Hancock and English bunting
[Not Turkey red]

We can't call Republican Garfield the lucky winner in this contest. But he is the winner in number of campaign fabrics and quilts.

The Garfield quilt in the Museum of Fine Arts.
Two stars picture Garfield; two Arthur

As far as the rest of the inventory at Stuart's: 

You often see robe prints (think lap robe prints)
as whole cloth, tied bedcovers or on the back of patchwork.

Robe Prints and Comfort Prints were probably quite similar. We might call them chintz-scale prints. They might have also called them cretonne. I'd guess that a robe print might be slightly better quality than a comfort print.

Handkerchief prints may have been bandanas.

Bandana or handkerchief for Garfield/Arthur supporters.

Bandana or handkerchief for Hancock/English supporters.

In the outside border of each is a caption in white.

The Garfield banner says Cochrane's Turkey Red.

Cairo is at one of the most important river junctions in the U.S.
where the Mississippi meets the Ohio....
Important when rivers were our highways.
Bad news in a flood year.