Friday, November 15, 2019

Twins: Mariner's Compass & Princess Feather

Illustration by Olga Heese Bogart for the cover of
Needlecraft/Home Arts magazine in July, 1939.
The quilt alternates a mariner's compass with a princess feather block.

The artist was possibly inspired by this quilt in  Florence Peto's book the same year.  Peto called it Princess Feather and Sunburst. "The bold design and excellent workmanship on the quilt were influential in its awards of three New Jersey state prizes."

Peto's photo features this quilt on the cover of a Newark
Museum publication in 1973.

Attributed to Catherine Ann Fitzgerald of New Jersey.
Gift of Vivian Boylan Gordon of Nutley, New Jersey in 1926 .
 Gordon was Catherine Fitzgerald's granddaughter and her
mother was another Catherine Ann Fitzgerald married to a Gordon.

The 1948 museum catalog copy, which tells us the donor's grandmother and her sisters made the quilt. "From 1861-63 Mrs. Fitzgerald lived at 343 Washington Street. Her Husband, Joshua Fitzgerald was in business in Newark from 1838 until his death in 1856."

The museum displayed the quilt about 8 years ago 
and Barbara Schaffer took some great photos.

Looks like Turkey red feathers, perhaps appliqued in white sashing or 
over block seam lines.

Floral vine border (cut from the same Turkey red print?)
The red seems to have faded a bit over the past 40 years but it's still
a spectacular quilt.

Notice how the feather grows out of the border.

Rose Wilder Lane showed it and gave a pattern in her 1963 Woman's Day Book of American Needlework calling it "Prince's Feather and Rising Star (also known as Princess Feather or Ostrich Plume and Rising Sun)."

The quilt is unusual but not unique. 

A twin

From Tom Woodard & Blanche Greenstein's inventory, pictured
in the 1980 Quilt Engagement Calendar.
Almost identical but instead of red a blue print.

When one is superimposed over the other the comparison is striking.

Perhaps each of the sisters made a quilt in the pattern.

Catherine Ann Boylan Fitzgerald (1809-1863) had two sisters: Maria Brownlee Boylan Doremus and Osee Melinda Boylan Fitzgerald, all daughters of Aaron Boylan of Newark. Osee's son James Fitzgerald was a well-documented Methodist bishop. The Fitzgeralds seem to have been in the varnish business.

Catherine's grave:

From the Pat and Arlen Christ Collection

The idea of a four-armed feather between pieced circles:

The same idea but not so showy.
From New Jersey and Barbara Schaffer's New Jersey Pinterest board

With all those patterns and photos in the mid-20th century I am surprised I have so few copies of the Fitzgerald quilt in the picture files. 

Jane Hall of Raleigh, North Carolina, 2006
Jane won the state prize in the Land's End Quilt Contest in 2006.

Jane said she thought the quilt in the Woman's Day book was "the most beautiful thing I'd seen!"
 "I had to draft the compasses and the large applique Princess Feathers. I found a large floral print with a dark blue background and selected coordinating prints for it. I wanted a variety of prints, predominantly dark and similar to the old prints (although the original was done in reds)...Several friends pieced a block for the quilt as part of a group. "

Mary Chalmers, Wilmar, Minnesota, 2006 
from the Minnesota project and the Quilt Index.

Mary's label says she used the Woman's Day pattern. (It's a great pattern but if you are looking for the pattern in the used book market you want the Woman's Day box of patterns. The patterns are not actually in the book.)

And here's Barb Vedder's 2012 quilt, obviously inspired by it:

Barb Vedder's 2012 quilt

Better color here. She won first prize in hand quilting
a few years ago at the New England Quilt Festival.

1866 dress of Catherine Boylan Fitzgerald's, 
also given by her granddaughter to the Newark Museum.

See Barbara Schaffer's post here:

Monday, November 11, 2019

Quilt Style: Partial to Prussian Blue

Prussian blue is a mineral dye, discovered about 1800 and put to
good use by cotton and wool printers as the decades went on.

It produces a variety of blues, maybe a little warmer and certainly more
adaptable to multi-color printing technology than its
rival blue indigo.

The color was novel in the U.S. in the 1840s. Quiltmakers
loved it.

And so do we.

Always looking for reproductions.....

Edyta Sitar Laundry Basket Quilts
Something Blue

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Dickensian Fabric Shop

Horatio Sparkins

Alias Mr. Smith

This Dickensian fabric shop in England was illustrated by George George Cruikshank (1792-1878). He drew the pictures for the 1838 edition of Charles Dickens's first bestseller Sketches by Boz.

The sketches were short humorous pieces,
quite the trend at the time.

The story, originally published in 1834: Mrs. Malden, a nouveau riche woman has her eye on Horatio Sparkins as a match for her daughter.

Mrs. Malden

A snob as only an arriviste can be, she thought Horatio the most gentleman-like man she ever saw.
Daughters Marianne & Teresa agreed; he was as noble as Prince Leopold---or perhaps Lord Byron. Pages ensue about trying to interest Mr. Sparkins, who appears to be falling for the marriage plot.

A daughter, perhaps Teresa

One day the ladies decided to go shopping at Messsrs Jones, Spruggins & Smith's of Tottenham-court-road, which was a "dirty looking ticketed linen-draper's shop," a deplorable place. "What would Mr. Sparkins say?" the girls want to know.

(I think Cruikshank has drawn her a little young.)

They ask to see some silk. The clerk yells for Mr. Samuel Smith who "leaped over the counter with great agility, and placed himself before the newly-arrived customers," much to their horror. You can guess who it was: their hero was in reality, "the assistant at a 'cheap shop;' the junior partner in a slippery firm of some three weeks' existence." The romance was OVER.

You probably had to be there to find this really funny, but Dickens was making fun of the class of gentlemen (and women) who held themselves above people in trade, although they were only one generation or less from working themselves. It's the same plot Jane Austen mined but better---with more sympathy for Teresa and Marianne if not their parents.

Prices in the window!

Just a step up from shops like these

The story and the illustration give us some idea of the hierarchy of fabric shops (everything's a hierarchy in 1830s London). Jones, Spruggins & Smith was what we might call a pop-up-shop---a temporary retail business, of which there were many at the time. It was so tacky they had prices posted (ticketed goods.) I'd guess their modus operandi was buying auction lots of distressed or unfashionable goods cheap and opening a succession of shops. 

Located on Tottenham Court Road in the heart of the retail district, the small temporary shop was near more established stores like Heal's (advertising on the back of a later Dicken's novel.)

Here's a link on Google Books to the story, which starts on page 217.

But then I've spoiled the plot for you

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Furniture Chintz---Fashion Chintz

Periodically, fashion dictates that furniture chintz
is the perfect fabric for a dress.

1960 ???

 Netherlands, 17th century

And France in the 18th

Madame Pompadour

Pucci in the 1970s

French 1850s
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Much of this large scale floral fabric is silk and the truly elegant stuff is woven into patterns or embroidered with the pattern.

Dress worn by Queen Victoria in 1855.
Museum of the City of London

But prints have always been an inexpensive copy of woven pattern

Deborah Sampson's dress
Historic New England

Painting from the Index of American Design

Alexandra of Denmark engaged to England's Prince Edward

France's Empress Eugenie set fashion. She always had the widest skirts.
Eugenie's bodice on a reproduction skirt

Eugenie in 1858

Mary Lincoln liked to think she was the American

Two portraits of the First Lady from the early 1860s

Oswego, New York

Is that a bird print in the border of this skirt?

Christian Dior

Nice outfit!