In 1927 an artist depicted a Kentucky quilt sent to London's 1851
Crystal Palace Exposition. The artist did not know much about quilts---
patchwork of simple rectangles did not get invited to international fairs.
Five quilts appear to have been sent to represent the United States in London's Exposition, four from Kentucky. One honoree was Ellen Clay Anderson (1828-1902) who'd been winning local prizes with a silk Henry Clay quilt honoring her great-uncle the Kentucky politician.
The center hexagons are cut from campaign ribbons.
Unfortunately Ellen's quilt has disintegrated over the
years but fragments are in the collection of the
Henry Clay home, Ashland.
See more about the Clay quilt here:https://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2016/09/henry-clay-quilt-at-1853-worlds-fair.html
Collection of Historic New England
New Yorker Theresa Baldwin Hollander also displayed a small abolitionist quilt she'd commissioned but hers was a commercial display promoting her clothing business (and her antislavery sympathies.)
The Great Exhibition of 1851 on cloth
The other three quilts were made by one Kentuckian. Ann Mary Crittenden Coleman had been cleaning up in premiums at Bourbon County fairs for several years.
"Mrs. Coleman has been very successful....Now she
has got the first again. It's about time for her to stop and give
others a chance."
It did not hurt, I would imagine, that Ann Mary's father John J. Crittenden was Governor of Kentucky at the time. But her quilts must have been impressive. Unlike the two quilts above we have no surviving examples credited to her.
One was a silk quilt with an eagle framed in borders in which
there were "the insignia of the Republic," patriotic symbols.
Other borders featured fruits, animals and beautiful flowers.
See a post about Ann Mary's Civil War here:
We know a lot about her due to her social position.
But perhaps one quilt does survive....
An eagle in the center
Could this be her lauded masterpiece?
More eagles in an outer border
Fruits in the corners
Floral corner with a red fringe. Notice the red tassels rather out of place. They
may once have hung off the corners but were detached
and resituated, perhaps to protect them.
This certainly may be Ann Mary Coleman's quilt as it fits the description
closely. The tassels in the corners are quite typical of fancy Kentucky quilt
as are the borders of mosaic silk patchwork.
A few other Kentucky silk quilts with similar design characteristics.
Kentucky Historical Society
Attributed to Mary Elgin Stewart
Attributed to Elizabeth Walker Stone
Kentucky Project & the Quilt Index
Attributed to Mrs Pierce of Maysville
University of Louisville
Attributed to Emma & Mary Warren of Louisville
Kentucky Historical Society
Attributed to Eliza Hoskins Farris of Garrard County
Kentuckians enthusiastically adapted the crazy quilt fashion in the 1880s, continuing to finish edges with tassels and cording and doing a world-class job in embroidery.
More about the eagle quilt this week.