Sunday, July 15, 2018

Botanizing #3: "I love to look at nature pure"

Applique sampler from the Indiana Project & the Quilt Index. This quilt from the 1840-1865 period is the same one that Marie Webster pictured in her 1915 book Quilts:Their Story on page 79.

Niether photo is great but we can see that the unknown
maker included blocks drawn from nature.

Webster's caption for "Original Floral Design":
"This quilt contains twenty blocks, each of a different design. The border is composed of festoons decorated with cockscomb and sprays of flowers. A southern Indiana quilt made about 1825."
That date is doubtful. We've now seen a lot more quilts 100 years later and most authorities would date it as mid-century. It's in a private collection and the project documentation notes that it's still in good shape.

Some of the blocks seem to have been drawn from plants.

See the Indiana Project file here:

Detail of an album sampler made for Rev. & Mrs. William George Eggleston
from the collection of Colonial Williamsburg

Botanical blocks are rather unusual. Here's a compound flower or fruit among the typical red and green blocks in a Maryland/Washington top dated 1844-1847. The botanical block is signed "E. R. Moore E[llicotts]. Mills"

Maybe E.R. Moore was depicting Pokeweed

Phytolacca americana

Another quiltmaker with a good eye for the natural world
from the Indiana Project. 

A wreath block on the Eggleston's quilts is inked:
"I love to look at nature pure,
I love to dwell on friendship's past,
And think it all forever sure
In one eternal rest at last.
Margaret Dushane Balt. '46"
Margaret illustrates the prevailing philosophy these quiltmakers embraced, a romantic view of nature with a reverence for the natural world, inspiring botanizing, poetry and applique florals.

Pressed moss

From the Sophia Denty album quilt in the Smithsonian.

And the Benoni Pearce quilt, also in that collection.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I do love that quilt by Rev. & Mrs. William George Eggleston....so many quilts so little time. Thank you for sharing yet another area of which I have very little knowledge.