Monday, February 11, 2019

Charleston Chintz: Cheetah Patterned Vase

Album chintz quilt with names 
from the Selye  & Burgess families in Charleston

Glorian Sipman and I have been collecting photos of quilts with this cheetah-patterned vase. Above: detail of a chintz album in her collection with dates 1850-1859.

Between us we've found five examples and they are all from Charleston, South Carolina.Four are in date-inscribed quilts from 1848-1859---relatively late for chintz applique.

The best picture of the print is probably in the Susan Ladson McPherson chintz applique quilt in the National Museum of American History. 

See the whole quilt here:

Quilt attributed to Mary Lucy Sandiford Barnes, 1854
Charleston Museum Collection

The vase in this album quilt has a bouquet of four large flowers and some blue leaves (the yellow overdye may have disappeared OR they were always blue rather than green?)

I've been unable to find records of a Susan Ladson McPherson or
Mary Lucy Sandiford Barnes in Charleston.

Detail, a quilt block from an album from the family of Mary V. Yeadon,
Dated 1848-1849, Charleston & Greenville.
International Quilt Study Center & Museum

The vase in the Yeadon family quilt has a larger bouquet. You can see there are seams parallel to the sides of the vase. The seamstress has stitched a rectangle of white to either side and appliqued more flowers.
See more about Mary Marion Yeadon here:

Album dated 1848-1850

A small photo but here's the vase in one of the Carolina quilts
researched by Sharon Pinka for her AQSG paper in Uncoverings 2013,
"Lowcountry Chintz: The Townsend/Pope Quilt Legacy".

UPDATE; A sixth Charleston chintz, this one from the Marion family of the Berkeley County lowcountry dated 1847-1848 in the MESDA collection.

The trimmed vase

The block in Glorian's collection also has seams revealing
 a narrow strip with additional flowers added.

I wonder if this strip was not cut from a floral stripe...

Something like this from an English frame quilt.

Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

These chintzes alternating wide and narrow stripes are typical of a style that has been associated with Portugal, manufactured by the British textile industry in the early-19th century for Portugal and its South American colonies.

 Charleston seems to have enjoyed a good trade in 
English exported cottons not seen in more northern ports.

The stripes often alternated exotic animals, birds or florals with fancy vases and ewers.

Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Three of our five examples have a butterfly floating near the vase, so I am looking for a vase stripe with an alternate stripe of butterflies.

See posts on Portuguese stripes here:
Click on older posts to see the series of seven posts.

I noticed Mary Jenkins at red_alfreda has been working on a chintz
quilt with a reproduction of the cheetah vase.
Here's her Instagram page:


  1. cool, who knew! I always learn something new. Keep up the work.

  2. How interesting this is and thank you for mentioning my little quilt which has progressed quite a bit since that picture! I had no idea of the pattern’s history and was just using up odd pieces to fill the vase which was on a Colfax and Fowler curtaining sample which has been in my stash for years!