Ilyse Moore, Paradise in Kansas, detail
Our new book The Garden Quilt features Ilyse Moore's interpretation of a quilt that Ruth Finleyshowed in her 1929 book Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them.
The Garden Quilt was made in the mid-19th-century
by Arsinoe Kelsey Bowen of New York.
Finley defined The Garden rather loosely as "no actual pattern but rather an idea. No two Garden quilts were ever quite alike, though all have certain characteristics in common....All show a center medallion." Among the imagery: wreaths, flowers, birds, "festoons of ribbons or ropes, baskets, cornucopias and fruits."
Joyce and Cuesta in 1989
While quilters were inspired to copy The Garden, quilt historians were inspired to find more examples. For many years, my fellow Quilt Detectives Joyce Gross and Cuesta Benberry collected pictures of Garden quilts. We were never able to find the original and we never found similar quilts made before Bowen's quilt was published in 1929.
Paradise Garden by Betty Herriman
Every example we found, as in this picture from the magazine Ladies' Circle Patchwork Quilts, was made after Finley's book was published. Surely there are appliqué medallions from the nineteenth century, but do any of them qualify as "The Garden"?
Mid 19th-century quilt from an online auction
Using Finley's rather loose description we looked for appliquéd medallions with ropes and ribbons, cornucopias and fruit cut from calico prints and Turkey reds.
Floral Applique by Emeline Travis Ludington (1820-1887)
This recent purchase by the Metropolitan Museum of Art might qualify but no fruit, no ropes, no ribbons. Intriguingly, it's from Carmel, New York (Putnam County.)
Here are the swags---with a border growing out of a pot.
Collection: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The same idea---different muse.
Rose Wreath by the Palmer Sisters
in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution
Concentric rings with the pots in the corners. This quilt is also a New York quilt, made in Otsego County.
Read more: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object.cfm?key=35&gkey=169&objkey=9579
Here's the idea of a medallion of loops: Birds and Grapes
From the McCarl Collection
and the Western Pennsylvania Project at the Quilt Index
We noticed this quilt from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum published years ago by Rose Wilder Lane.
Cover for Quilt. Brooklyn Museum,
Gift of Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, 29.1154
Odd Fellows Applique Album quilt, c.1850 by Mary Ann McCue,
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA
The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg
The Bridgeman Art Library
Similar to the one above collected by the immortal Ima Hogg.
Ilyse Moore, Paradise in Kansas
To read more about our book The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece, click on the book in the left hand column. It's 24 pages with pull-out sheet for the pattern. $16.95