Quilter Margaret Mew posted this photo on Instagram of a lovely piece
of vintage fabric she bought in Portugal in April.
It caught my eye right away as I have been building a picture file of these distinctive chintzes. I see Di Ford has done a reproduction of a similar style.
Bally Hall line, Birds of a Feather print
by Di Ford Hall, 2017
What do these prints have in common?
- A wide stripe alternating with a narrow stripe.
- Birds in one of the stripes
- A sharp line between the stripes
- A secondary pattern of fine lines behind the figures in the narrower stripe.
- Vivid colors
- Good registration of colors
These are great patterns for quilters, of course. You can cut two different stripes out of it or fussy cut some of the birds and flowers.
Chimney Sweep quilt signed "Kate H. Tupper / 1850,"
Charleston, South Carolina.
Collection of Colonial Williamsburg.
Or use the double stripe as Kate Tupper did to border her album blocks in 1850. (She might have mitered the corners but if you've ever used a double stripe you know how it goes.)
The caption on this quilt says:"The quilt is bordered with two different glazed cottons of red, green, and brown with a repeat of flowers, leaves, and birds."
I don't believe that's true. I think the border is a single glazed, striped cotton.
Click on the link and enlarge the photo. I see seams but not between the wide floral stripe and the narrower bird stripe. That's a hard edged line.
Here's yardage from the Cooper-Hewitt's collection:
Turkeys & chickens with fine lines behind the fowl.
Also a more tropical bird in the wide stripe.
And the same print from the DeYoung Museum in a different colorway.
Both these collections identify the fabric as 19th-century Portuguese,
which is where Margaret found the stripe at the top of the page.
I was surprised to see the origin as Portuguese. Did Kate Tupper, whose father was a Charleston merchant, have access to fabric printed in Portugal in 1850? What kind of cotton printing industry did Portugal have in 1850? Did they have turkeys in Portugal in 1850?
I liked these questions so much I will have to tell you about my quests for answers in several blog posts over the next week.