Chicken Cretonne with Chinoiserie Cretonne
Detail of a quilt by an unknown maker
at the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art.
I've been looking at the quilts at the Spencer Museum for 45 years or
so. This particular quilt, sort of a square in a square, was a puzzle for a long time.
At first we classified it as a chintz quilt and thought
it was early 19th century.
But as we amateur curators saw more quilts over the years
we realized the large-scale furnishing prints
were better classified as cretonnes
and better dated as 1880-1910.
See this post about differentiating between chintzes and later cretonnes.
I thought the comforter (it isn't quilted) was one-of-a kind. You just don't often see cretonnes celebrated like this. But then I saw one that dealer Julie Silber had in the Quilt Complex collection.
Circus Crazy Quilt
Collection of the Quilt Complex
More of a string quilt
or a crazy quilt, theirs
has some of the same prints.
Quilt Complex's has a circus
performer in red.
Spencer's has the circus performer in a brown
Once I started collecting pictures from
online auctions I realized these weren't the only
two quilts in the style. Here are a few others.
What makes this a style is the emphasis on large-scale prints. Most quilters in the 1870-1910 period were interested in tiny prints. Cretonnes usually wound up on the back rather than the front.
Alternating squares with a scalloped edge
A medallion framing a scene from dealer Stella Rubin.
Stella also has this crib quilt in her online store
And this postage-stamp-sized triangle with a cretonne center.
Collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
I found some in Museum collections.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We might think of these as the antithesis of modern.
They are nostalgic, busy---if not chaotic--- sentimental and full of
non-essential decorative details.
I'll show some of those decorative details in a later post.
Here are links to the Museums' quilts.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art