Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brooklyn Museum's Work't By Hand

Workt By Hand: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts
is the name of a current exhibit and new catalog
from the Brooklyn Museum

Here's a link to more information about the show:

Elizabeth Welsh. Quilt, circa 1825–40.
 Appliqu├ęd cottons, 110 1/2 x 109 in.
 Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, 78.36

The Museum has some exceptional quilts including the cover quilt, a fabulous appliqued eagle that is attributed to a Virginia woman Elizabeth Welsh. (More about this quilt in another post.)

Delectable Mountains Quilt, ca. 1850. 97 x 83 1/4 in. 
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Livingston, Jr., 62.141.16

I worked on the catalog's introduction,  participating in a roundtable on the social context of quilts, which I'll post about later. I have not yet seen the quilts in the cloth. The quilt cataloguing was done by Dr. Carolyn Ducey of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. 

Medallion Quilt, ca.1830.  
103 1/4 x 104 in.  Brooklyn Museum, 
Gift of Mrs. William Sterling Peters, 49.27

Here's a link to the museum bookstore where you can buy the catalog:

Pictorial Quilt, circa 1795. 
 91 x 103¼ in. (231.1 x 262.3 cm).
 Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 41.285. 

And here's a link to their collections page so you can see photos of their holdings:

Victoria Royall Broadhead Tumbling Blocks Quilt,
 circa 1865–70. Silk, velvet, wood, 64 x 68 in.
 Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Richard Draper, 53.59.1.

This impressive silk quilt was made by a woman with the equally impressive name of Victoria Regina Royall. Victoria, born in Virginia in 1839 a year after Queen Victoria's coronation, married Garland Carr Broadhead, a professor of geology at the University of Missouri in 1890.

The quilt show will be up until September 15. The Brooklyn Museum has several other concurrent shows that make a trip worthwhile, including:
  • John Singer Sargent Watercolors (93 of them) up from April 5 - July 28
  • American Drawing Before 1945 (100 drawings) through May 26
  • El Anatsui - 30 pieces-through Aug 4
And Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party is a permanent installation there.


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  2. Thanks for inviting everyone to our town to see the show! So come one, come all! Some gorgeous quilts you won't see anywhere else. Avoid congested surface transportation and take the 2 or 3 subway train to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop. It's as safe as anything else you'll do on your trip. The Brooklyn Museum is very people and family friendly. Enjoy!

  3. While I am not able to make it to the exhibit, I did purchase the catalog that you can buy. It is stunning!!!!

  4. It looks like a wonderful exhibit. I ordered the Sturbridge Village book from our library, need to go pick it up. I love to look through the books and be inspired by the old designs.


  5. The c. 1830 Medallion Quilt looks very contemporary - a good candidate for reproducing.

    Mary in SD

  6. thank you so much for the link to the catalog! Would love to see this exhibit in person...

  7. Lucky me, I'm traveling all the way from Tokyo to visit my daughters in NYC apparently at just the right time - can't wait to see this show, for sure. Thank you for the preview.

  8. I saw this exhibit last Saturday and it was even more delightful than I expected. Got some real inspiration from viewing the quilts up close in regards to color, quilting style, and fabrics. WOW

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