Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Atlanta History Center 4: Jane Allen Nesbitt's 1828 Chintz Quilt

Quilt dated 1828 and signed on the reverse
Jane Allen Nesbitt
Atlanta History Center

This is the earliest panel quilt in our files with a date
actually inscribed on it. The date surprised us at first. When Merikay 
began looking at chintz panel quilts they were often thought to have
been made twenty or thirty years earlier.

But now we think this date is quite typical for the style, if a little early.
The American fashion seems to have been at its peak in the 1830s.

Jane's quilt features a panel Merikay has numbered 14, a floral bouquet
tied with a blue ribbon

Notice the olive green leaf here in the panel, which reflects a print style quite popular in
England in the first quarter of the 19th century (the fabrics are earlier than the American quilts
made from them.)

Greens, yellow and browns picturing detailed tree leaves

The quiltmaker had many similar fabrics...

...a nice supply of  English chintzes related to what was called "drab style,"
dyed with quercitron that produced fast yellow, greens and browns.
See a post on quercitron here:

The scrap of a pillar print is inserted into the border. The colors
all blend quite well.

Beautiful narrow rolled binding

Pencil marks for the quilting remain.

And that's the end of our adventure in Atlanta.
Thanks to Tara Miller for most of the photos.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Atlanta History Center 3: Two More Chintz Quilts

Chintz applique quilt with 49 floral blocks attributed to the Jones
Family of Liberty County, Georgia.
Collection of the Atlanta History Center.

There are no names on these blocks.
It may all be the work of one seamstress.

We could see that this quilt was later than several of the other 
pieces we asked to see at the Atlanta History Center.

Although the techniques of cutting floral chintzes up and
stitching them to white backgrounds is the same as the earlier quilts
the chintzes in this one look different, later....

In some blocks way later.
I don't know what to make of it.

These iris do not look like a mid-19th century chintz,
although the cactus below does.

There are two cactus blocks and both are,
shall we say,
cabbaged together.

composed of tiny scraps

Another example of clever cabbaging.

The bright red sashing fabric looks 1840-1865, a great
example of a Turkey red floral from before the Civil War.
The wine red border is not so distinctive. What is the date on that?

20th century????

Let's move on to a less mysterious quilt---one that
fits nicely in our panel style chintz group 1825-1850.

This one features the fruit panel again.

We recognized a few popular chintz prints like this fountain

It was surprising to see two quilts with the United Kingdom
bouquet in the same day. Here are the roses, shamrocks, thistles and oaks again.

There are so many bird prints it's hard to keep them all straight.

A fruit panel corner

Layering tiny scraps

There are numerous chintz quilts from Philadelphia to
Charleston with this dahlia print. See a post here:

Butterflies with embroidered antennae

One more quilt tomorrow.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Atlanta History Museum 2: Fruit Basket Chintz Quilts

Merikay and I are interested in quilts featuring
printed furniture panels, so we asked to see several
in the Atlanta History Museum.

This one is well worn but it gave us much to talk about.
The unknown quiltmakers used parts from four different panels in economical fashion

The center is a common design in American chintz quilts
from about 1825 to 1850, picturing a basket of fruit.

We have a blog indexing the panels. See a post on the fruit panel here:

You  immediately notice the fruit panel in the center but we were glad to have a chance to look at minor details. This shape is cut from the border of another panel. It is amazing how the maker of
this quilt used the smallest scraps---the leftovers that were called cabbage in the past.

It was great to see so many construction details.

We'd do those loopy stems with bias strips
but the quiltmaker made them out of curved border scraps.

This one's cut from a floral chintz

The quilting shown on the back. The thread is unbleached and
changes from dark to medium to light.

The shapes around the center are cut from the corners of the
square panels. It seems the centers were trimmed but nobody
would waste all that good chintz. Somebody saved 38 corners
to frame the fruit design - the leftovers from 10 panels.

Quilt attributed to Philoclea Edgeworth Casey Eve (1819-1889)
of Richmond County, Georgia

Here's a second quilt in their collection with the fruit panel in the center
and some panel corners used to frame it.

Panels usually included a central floral arrangement framed by
a wreath and four corners to fill out the square. This one has been

Four smaller baskets frame the center basket.

Eighteen corners

And then some florals cut out of a repeat chintz, which.
 features four botanicals, a rose, a shamrock, a thistle
and an oak, symbols of the United Kingdom,
England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The thistle shows how the floral was cut, turned under and stitched down.
Every chintz applique quilt we saw on our trip was stitched with
a simple applique stitch, a tiny stitch that anchored the floral.
We didn't see any fancy stitches like buttonhole or cross stitch.

We just didn't see this kind of an edge to the applique, a fancy
stitch covering a raw edge.