A lot going on here in this sunflower quilt in the collection of
Michigan's Marquette Regional History Center.
Photos are from the Quilt Index and the Michigan project.
The files don't have much information.
But style and fabrics are so distinctive it's pretty easy to date.
Style: Chintz with a very busy composition contrasting pattern in patchwork with pattern in fabrics. That look became old fashioned and "chintzy" by the 1840s so the latest date is probably about 1840.
Fabrics---large scale furnishing prints: Chintzes.
Color scheme in the border print looks to be what was called "Drab Style." Fabrics could be early 19th century, probably printed in England but not really imported here until after the War of 1812---so the 1820s might be the earliest date. See more about Drab Style at these posts:
A lot of chintzes to track down but this one in the shapes
that join the circular blocks is familiar.
The five-lobed floral here is distinctive, looks
more like a piece of jewelry than an actual flower.
A rather Jacobean bud
The background is what was called a "Fancy Machine
Ground," adding to the visual business,
which seemed to be the thing.
Art Institute of Chicago
Ann Whoades whose name is on this block dated 1842 for the Ella Maria Deacon album was fond enough of the flowers to cut them out of the background and applique them to a block.
See more about the Deacon album here:
Connecticut Project & the Quilt Index
Similar quilt attributed to Mary Esther Hoyt Smith (1807-1898) of Norwalk Connecticut.
Mary married George Smith in 1827
Here's the print with a different fancy machine ground---
backgrounds added after the florals were printed and a
another colorway with blues.
From an online auction. Scrappy gaudy: the desired look.
But...change was on the horizon
Bolder contrast, red and green...
A transition between styles.
Probably early in the 1840-1860 fashion for green and red patchwork.
Kaye England did a reproduction print years ago for SSI.
Gaye who did a pattern for her Sentimental Stiches repro of the Ella Maria Deacon quilt was thrilled to find this in her stash.
See more here:
I am always struck by the popularity of some of these chintz furnishing prints with quiltmakers. It would seem chintzes were imported in wide variety before 1840 but the more you look at individual prints the more you realize how limited the variety actually was.
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