Monday, December 9, 2019

DAR Seminar Papers 2: More Mind Reading

Star quilt from 1840-1860 with background cut from a Gothic print
sold at Skinner auction 15 years ago.

A Gothic building in a landscape it seems.

Furnishing print with a Gothic window

Trying to interpret another culture, whether that of another gender, geographical community or a long-ago era, is all a matter of mind reading and we did a lot of that at the DAR symposium in November: A Piece of Her Mind: Culture and Technology in American Quilts. 

Gothic Drawing Room 1850
These are mostly my pictures. Lynne's were better.

Lynne Zacek Bassett gave us several insights into the mind of the mid-19th century album quilt maker in her talk on The Romantic Era: Understanding Friendship Quilts. Here's what I learned (and remember.)

Lynne curated an exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum a few years ago:
Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy

I was particularly struck by her references to the fashion for Gothic imagery, which we are all familiar with in surviving architecture from the period.

Gothic Revival Victorian cottage
Small towns are full of Carpenter Gothic style.

But the influence was much more pervasive at the time.

Cooper Hewitt collection
About 1840

Lynne pointed out many references to that distinctive pointed arch.

Including the fashionable female silhouette. Of course!!!

Block dated 1845

The appeal of the Gothic arch might explain the appeal of this popular album pattern.

Tollford Quilt, Connecticut, Blocks dated 1844-1845
Quilt Index

And why it was set on point so often.
I'm a better mind-reader today than I was before Lynne's talk.

Lynne Zacek Bassett wrote a catalog on the exhibit Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy. We should have bought a copy when it first came out. More of Lynne's talk tomorrow.


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