Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Uncle Leopold's First Wife

Leopold and Charlotte

Frankly, Uncle Leopold, I was shocked by revelations in last week's episode of Victoria on PBS.

Alex Jennings doing a pretty darn good job of looking like
Albert's Uncle Leopold, the King of the Belgians in a
similar toupee.
He's playing it a bit diabolically for my taste, though. 

I've always had a soft spot for Uncle Leopold. He
seems to have had his niece Victoria's and nephew Albert's
best interests at heart when he played matchmaker
and tutor to both.

Wedding of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg & 
Princess Charlotte of England

And I remember his first marriage to Victoria's cousin, Charlotte Princess of Wales. Leopold would have had the same position as Albert as husband to the Queen of England had Charlotte not died in childbirth at 21 years old only 17 months after her marriage. His second wife Louise Marie of Orléans was French royalty. He knew how to parlay marriages into dynasties.

Commemorative jug for the 1816 wedding

He was a handsome young man.
"I marry the best of all I have seen and that is some satisfaction,"
wrote his fiancee who had broken one engagement.

As cute as Lord M., don't you think?

Well, you don't read this to hear me go on about television hunks at Windsor Castle. It's about quilts and fabric. And Uncle Leopold made it into several quilts....

By way of this panel or commemorative medallion,
printed to celebrate the Charlotte/Leopold marriage.

In the inner border:
"Princess Charlotte of Wales Married
to Leopold Prince of Saxe Cobourg May 2, 1816"

Center of a cut-out chintz medallion in the collection
of the New England Quilt Museum.
Pheasants and Portuguese stripes in the border.
This looks quilted with no batting.

The panel was printed as yardage as in this piece from
the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The name of the printer on the tax stamp is 
John Lowe and Co. Furniture Printers, Shepley Hall.

I recently found a photo of a medallion floating around on the internet:
Four royal wedding panels with palm trees and pheasants

And peacocks.

Here's one that looks quite British, sold at Tennant's Auctions last year.

Hearts are a nice addition.

Another one with hearts, mostly pieced, sold ten years
ago at Christies in London.

If you want to know more about the plot and Uncle Leopold's revelations see this link:

More about Princess Charlotte at my blog post here:

And more about commemorative panels here:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Anorexic Applique

Nineteenth-century quilt from the Rosenberg Collection
at the University of Alberta

The late Doreen Speckmann used to give a lecture in which she entertained us with photos of Anorexic Applique.

I still save photos, thinking of her. Here's a little show to remember Doreen.

Detail of a similar crib quilt from Bill Volckening's collection

Was there more to this design at one time?

From a Maryland applique sampler

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Coxcomb with Birds

Years ago I was knocked out by this crib quilt on
a visit to Colonial Williamsburg.

Tulip Cross Crib Quilt 45-1/2" x 35-1/2"
Member of the Richter Family, Ripley County, Indiana.
Possibly Anna Richter in Sunman, Indiana 

A few months ago I saw another version of the same pattern in Julie Silber's stack of antique quilts for sale at the American Quilt Study Group in New Hampshire.

I took a picture and when I went back to look at the whole
thing it was gone. Sold to a happy collector.

I have photos of several quilts in the same pattern in a file. 

Here it is as a center medallion in a quilt documented
by the Indiana project, seen in Terre Haute. They thought it might
be 1850. From the picture with it's strong green and feather quilting
this seems possible.

I thought this quilt in Mary Koval's booth was the same
one but it's not. Similar corners and a border, but this
one's more delicate and missing some parts.

I mention the strong greens because several versions like this one sold at Cowan's Auctions were stitched with the fugitive greens so common after 1880. Those leaves and stems were probably once a dark green with a touch of blue but the early synthetic dyes faded badly. So I am guessing this one is after 1880.

From an online antique dealer

Same arrangement of the same blocks. It's not
the same quilt though. The green has faded more gray than brown in
this one.

International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Yet another example, same fading problem with the
greens (Turkey reds and double pinks are far faster.)

Fading to tan where it was folded and exposed to light.

The one above, fortunately, is dated: 1885
but that's all they know.

This one from an eBay auction has faded so
badly that the green is barely visible

The pale scallop on the left was once dark green I bet.

So what we have here is a regional pattern that seems to have been passed around from
1850 to about 1900. It was often the center of a nine-block applique quilt of three different designs. I'd guess that region was Indiana.

Ripley County is near the Ohio River
west of the state of Ohio.

Coxcomb with Birds
84" x 84", 1995
Look how nice the green is on this one. That's because it's
a recently done reproduction.

Anita Shackelford made it for her book
Coxcomb Variations.
I imagine you can find a pattern here
and make one of your own.
Anita owns the antique quilt she used for inspiration.

See the crib quilt at Colonial Williamsburg here: 
The caption gives us a good deal of information.
"According to Don Walters, the dealer who sold the quilt, the quilt can be attributed to Alma Richter. Another quilt in a similar pattern (in a private collection in the 1980s) was also said to be made by Alma Richter in 1854. A search of Ripley County, Indiana, records failed to locate an Alma Richter around that date. However, one Alma Richter, 1898-1984, had a German-born Grandmother who lived with her family in Ripley County, Indiana. The Grandmother Anna Richter was a widow who was born in Germany in 1814 and immigrated to the United States in 1841. Anna Richter may be the real maker of the quilt. It appears that the woman whose estate was sold in 1985, Alma, may have been mistakenly credited with making the quilt. It is unclear where the 1854 date came from."

Sunday, January 21, 2018


I was surprised to see how many of us at the American Quilt Study Group Seminar last fall in New Hampshire brought our paper piecing. During the three days of lectures many listeners pulled out their very portable projects.
I took some snapshots at the breaks
so I don't know whose little stashes of paper pieces
and fabrics these are.

I just found this video of how to do a "flat backstitch" method of joining
paper pieced shapes. I always face the pieces together to sew and the stitches show.
But in this method you secure them side by side with tape or a clip and stitch
from the back. No visible stitches.


I tried it and it works wells.
The stitches do not show and it's
easier for me to figure out how to connect things if I don't have to
keep flipping the pieces over.

More AQSG projects

Some were small.
Some were larger.

I always have a hand work project to help me pay
attention to the speaker. 

I'm still working on this one----3/4 inch sides in William Morris repro prints.