Saturday, August 26, 2017

1821: An Outlier

Quilt signed Mary Ann Manwaring,
Dated  "1821,20-Oct"
in the quilting. Perhaps made in Indiana.

I had this in my picture files of dated quilts.

The star quilt is in the collection of the International
Quilt Study Center & Museum #1997.007.0935.
 It's also corded and stuffed.
The fabric, which looks to be all the same, is an
 indigo-ground dot with a plain white cotton.

The pattern is probably constructed with the white squares,
each as one large square rather than as a block.

So the stars are in the sashing rather than the block,
a common construction at the time. 

But what was the time? I just do not feel that early date of 1821,
which was mentioned somewhere in the cataloging information,
is compatible with the style.

So I haven't added it to my Pinterest page of quilts date inscribed

Mary Ann chose a popular 19th century pattern,
one you might see in 1820

The Delaware Historical Society owns a
star quilt with the points pieced of diamonds that is date 1806,
the earliest I've seen.
My concern is more with the two-color palette and the
way the design units repeat rather than the pattern itself.

It looks like a post-1840 quilt, much like this one dated 1845.

Detail of the 1845 quilt showing an indigo-ground dot

Blue and white diamond star quilts were a distinct style,
but not in the 1820s. Most quilt daters would estimate a date of 1840s and later.

Many survive, like this one from perhaps 1840-1870 in the collection
of the Arizona Historical Society. The photo's
from the Arizona Project & the Quilt Index.

And this one from online dealer Vintage Blessings.
Date hard to tell from photo.

I am guessing that the quilted date on Mary Ann Manwaring's star
is actually 1841.

And here's a digression.
Look how clever the border is on this
star from the Arizona Historical Society.
The outer points of the star are part of the vine.

See Mary Ann Manwaring's quilt here:

I see in the Quilt Index file there is no mention of that 1841 date, but an estimate of 1850-1875. I wonder where I saw that.  I see I have got myself all exercised over nothing. Well, the quilts are fun to look at. So I thought I'd leave the post up anyway. 

As Emily Litella used to say "Never Mind."

See the Arizona Historical Society's quilt here:


  1. I have a quilt made by my great great Aunt Mollie Davidson in Indiana. It is blue with white dots. It is a feathered star variation. It is all hand pieced and has very dense quilting. Mollie lived from 1854-1940 in Indiana. I wonder if this is one of the quilts you are detailing or if she has just copied an idea from a quilt she had seen in the area. The workmanship isn't as refined as some of her later quilts I own. She may have pieced it at a younger age.

  2. I think the style was fashionable. She might have seen another at a fair or a quilting bee or since she was young---everybody was making one.