Monday, May 9, 2011

IQSC Quilt of the Month

Original design, Medallion. Frances Hawkins. Made in United Kingdom, dated 1818. Mosaic patchwork technique and appliqué. 96” x 85”. Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum #2006.035.0001. Purchase made possible through James Foundation Acquisition Fund.

If you subscribe to the Quilt of the Month email from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum you were treated to a view of this quilt for May. The unquilted mosaic medallion is one of the twenty template-pieced bedcovers that will be on display at the Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska from May 28, 2011 through January 11, 2012. Elegant Geometry: American and British Mosaic Patchwork is curated by Bridget Long. Click here to see more about the show:


I recently got to study this quilt closely. I am always thrilled to see an early quilt and especially one with a date inscribed so I can see what kind of fabrics were in use at that date. Frances Hawkins used some very bright yellows. The yellow-ground chintz was popular here in the teens too.

Some of the prints, like the red on blue spade design, look to be block printed. The figure is very crude. Others look like the latest in roller prints. The European mills were making great strides in detail and color combinations during the first twenty years of the 19th century and Frances seems to have had all the latest fabrics.

Here's a side view of the tree that comes out of the basket in the center. Notice in the rosette below the bird are two hexagons with precisely positioned stars. I thought I'd seen that print before....

I found something very similar in my picture files. This mosaic quilt was sold online several years ago and had the same kind of strange pinstripe with a crudely printed star. The two quiltmakers each fussy cut the star (to use a new term for an old idea.) The other quilt is dated 1825 and signed with the initials L.F.

The star prints aren't exactly the same but they both look like the stars are stamped, stencilled or free-hand painted onto a roller-printed pinstripe. The similarities raise many questions.

Overall view of L.F.'s quilt

A..d 9 Y...S
(Aged 9 years)

Contrast these two British quilts (I am guessing L.F.'s quilt was made in Great Britain although it is now in America) with the American made quilts in the previous post: Quite a difference between our domestic prints and the European prints in the first few decades of the 19th century.

Plan to go to Lincoln to see the Elegant Geometry show at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. You'll have a wonderful time looking at the quilts and the prints.

If you don't get the free Quilt of the Month email you should sign up here:


  1. Beautiful close up photos of the fabrics. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Wonderful quilt using hexagons. I have been making hexagons and love seeing unique patterns, using them. Thank you for the visit and I did find the antique site with the egyptian quilts, so might email her.


  3. I love the Hawkins 1818 quilt! That yellow ground chintz is exquisite. I'd love to have yardage of that! Thanks for sharing both of these quilts with us.

  4. Very interesting. I hope we get this exhibition reciprocally in the UK, perhaps at the Quilt Museum at York. Quite unusual for the maker's name and date to be so boldly recorded across the quilt top too!

  5. What a beautiful quilt, so interesting and so unusual. It is so wonderful to see a beautiful antique quilt that we have not seen before. I would not mind a closet full of some of the fabrics.

  6. Lucky you - getting to study this quilt.
    Lucky me - getting to see your close-ups.

    Thank you!