Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Giant Tulips #1

Attributed to Greene County, Tennessee
Sold at Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough NC

Virginia, From Cindy's Antiques

What is the deal on these giant tulips?

It's remarkable.

Mary Black (1860-1927Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Except hardly anyone ever remarks on it.

South Carolinian Laurel Horton summed it up in her book on Mary Black's Family Quilts. Mary lived in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.
"The Tulip was one of the most popular appliqué patterns in the Carolina upcountry during the 1870s, and the color scheme and arrangement of Mary's quilt are typical of the region and the era. It is constructed of twenty identical blocks of a very large single tulip motif. Each tulip blossom has five points and is attached to a stem having two small leaves. Compared with other appliquéd floral patterns, these 'Carolina' Tulip quilts are particularly big and bold, rather than graceful and delicate."

Robeson County, North Carolina
About 1880?
Sold at Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough NC

Elizabeth Ann Mebane Holt (1830-1895)
Orange County, North Carolina, About 1880.

The North Carolina book showed several wonderful examples, noting:
"The single most popular applique pattern in quilts registered by the [North Carolina] project may be the tulip."
Mary Louvina Haas Milstead (1848-1918)
Alexander County, North Carolina

Sarah Elizabeth Walton (1859-1937)
Burke County

Laura Ella Hood Anderson (1853-1935)
Wake County

Laura added a sunburst

Nancy Ann Brooks Barwick (1843-1919), Lenoir County
This one is called pear in the records.

Also from Lenoir County
From the North Carolina project and the Quilt Index

Looking at these North Carolina examples, most of which are well documented, we can say they date from about 1875 to 1900. The quiltmakers are roughly of the same generation born from 1830 to 1860.

Hilda Armstrong Moore, Duplin or Pender County

A few more sold at Asheville's Brunk Auctions:

Ann Ida Elliott 
The tulip petals have faded to white and the sashing to tan.


  1. I wonder why tulip patterns were so popular in the south, since the flowers can't be reliably grown down there, due to the cold they need in winter. Unless it's because of that? If you can't have them in the garden, you can at least have them on a quilt? Just like if I want blue Himalayan poppies, they'll have to be on a quilt because they won't grow in Iowa.

  2. Beautiful tulip quilts! Perhaps more such quilts should be made around areas where they are grown? (I'm thinking of places I know of in Washington and Oregon states)