Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jane Pizar Quilt: How Old

This quilt from England's Cheltenham Museum is all the rage right now on the internet.
The photos are from the Bridgeman Art Library website. Click here to see them:

It's identified as a wedding quilt by Irishwoman Jane Pizar dated 1860.
Some of the best photos are at Sue's blog here:

But that date of 1860 just doesn't ring true. It must be older than that. It immediately calls to mind the spectacular quilt below in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

George III reviewing the troops is attributed to about 1805.
It has the same circular center in a field of complex patchwork.
See the quilt at the V and A Museum website by clicking here:

The piecing in both is a variety of wheels.

Comparison A
It's hard to distinguish between the two quilts in closeup. Which is the V and A's from1805 and which the Cheltenham Museum's from 1860?

The patchwork style seems older than 1860. Closeups from Sue's blog also indicate that the prints are older too. They look much like another quilt in the V and A's collection, the 1797 quilt with a sundial in the center of a field of complex patchwork.

See more about this quilt by clicking here:

The prints in this quilt have a distinctive palette and detail.

See more about the 1797 quilt in a blog post I did:

Comparison B

Again, which is which?

I am just going by photos on the internet but I bet (based on style and fabrics) that quilt is about 1800-1820. When you do a search in that Bridgeman site for Jane Pizar two quilts come up.

I am guessing this simpler medallion with red in the center is the actual 1860 wedding quilt. It's much more typical of that date. They may have mixed up the labels.

The Cheltenham Museum is closed right now for renovation. By the time they reopen their sunburst medallion will be an internet celebrity. Here's the Museum's website:

Answers to above puzzles:
Comparison A:. V and A quilt on the left (1805), Cheltenham Museum's on the right.
Comparison B: Cheltenham Museum's on the left, V and A quilt on the right (1797).

If you are inclined to make a copy of the sunburst medallion or the George III quilt check out the Australian reproductions here:
Carolyn Konig has patterned both at Carolyn's Quilting Room in Victoria. She calls the sunburst medallion the Wedding Quilt.

And Karen Cunningham offered a block of the month last year she called Irish Circles

Barbara Brackman
Saving the World: One Misdated Quilt at A Time


  1. I had contacted them about high-resolution photos in hopes of making a 'replica.'

    They transfer you to someone in NY who handles for the US.

    The quote I received was $100 for high-res photos.

  2. I totally agree with you about the dating of this quilt. I think that somewhere along the line two quilts have got ther labels muddled! I am also irritated that this early quilt is being labeled as Irish when its style is obviously English - though of course in 1800 we were all one country!

  3. The amazing Kate has recently completed a reproduction of Jane Pizar. You can see it here:


  4. What an amazing quilt and how you can date it by the fabrics.


  5. I was able to see the quilt when I lived in England a few years ago. I mentioned the quilt was very different from the ones I knew from that time period and I was told that first British fabric choices from that time were different from U.S. and second that they used the finished date.

    BTW it is a nice little museum...some wonderful Arts and Crafts exhibits...

  6. I've wanted to make a version of that "George III Reviewing the Troops" forever!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Don't tell an Irishman or woman that you were all one country then ! Judith

  9. I will call into the museum over the next week and highlight your thoughts on the quilt. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.
    Thanks for the link to my blog.
    I will of course keep you posted on anything new that I found out .

  10. The first time I've seen this quilt, Sue's photos very helpful. How gorgeous the rings round all the stars!! Looks like some sort of plan for a quiltdom galaxy.

  11. Hi Barbara, Would you have any idea if this pattern of the jane pizar quilt would be on sale anywhere in the USA? Would love to hear from you.