Saturday, April 7, 2012

Panels Imported from England

Basket of Fruit panel
 about 1810-1820
Full color chintz with purples

Framed panels developed as a popular quilt style during the teens, particularly in the Southern states. Most of the panels were imported from England---possibly by smugglers and privateers during the war---and later by enterprising traders.

Same panel trimmed for an applique quilt

The panels, like the Trophy of Arms square in the South Carolina quilts in the last post, often survive in quilts and as squares cut from yardage.
Strip quilt by Sarah Jones,
 Lenoir in Caldwell County, North Carolina

This quilt from the North Carolina Quilt Project features a floral basket panel arranged in strips the way the yardage would have been printed. See the whole quilt at the Quilt Index by clicking here:
Here's another where the panel has been pieced rather than appliqued from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum:

In 1833 Sarah Caldwell used panel yardage for this quilt in the collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina

On the left and right two designs for
Hepplewhite table tops featuring geometric medallions

Textile historians Florence Montgomery and Janet Rae write that printed medallions were more likely designed for pillows or other furnishing purposes, rather than for quilt centers.

Sheraton designs for Pier Tables

Rae found references to the name Sheraton panels in England indicating they're related to furniture designs of Thomas Sheraton popular between 1780 and 1820. Sheraton furniture and it's many copies featured inlaid woods in classical motifs such as vases, swags and wreaths.

An inlaid table viewed from above

Another table with a half medallion

The Victoria and Albert Museum has a printed chair cover from about 1800. Click here:

Ovals and circles seem to be the most popular shapes for the textiles

But like the furniture design motifs, the textile panels also fit into octagonal and scalloped medallions--echoing the rococo influence with its s-curves and cartouches.

The most common panel used in America seems to be the basket of fruit that is featured in this quilt from the Atlantic Historical Society and at the top of the page. It's easy to spot even in small pictures because of the triple peaches on the right.  In her 2008 catalog Chintz Applique Carolyn Ducey notes its popularity with Southern quiltmakers, observing that American medallions featuring the printed panels tend to be from the 1820s and 1830s and made in the Carolinas.

This one appears to be a demi-chintz with
fewer colors---or it may have faded

Dating the panels, which seem to have been printed in England from about 1810 to 1820, is one thing.
Dating the quilts made from them is another. The panels were often saved. We can assume some cutting-edge quilters used them as early as about 1810 and fashion laggards worked on them into the 1840s. (This is my guess on dates----but I am open to argument.)
See more quilts with the Basket of Fruit panels by clicking on these links. Several include everything in fashion: pheasants, palm trees...

See an essay on the panels at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum site:

From the Charleston Museum, which says they have three.

Michigan State University Museum has one thought to have been made in Pearlington, Mississippi


Lynn S said...

Just wondering, in the fabric world, is anyone working on a reproduction of the center medalion of Jane Austen's coverlette?

Barbara Brackman said...

Makower did a copy about 15 (?) years ago. See post in two weeks or so.

Lynn S said...

Exciting--will be looking for post. I know about the Makower one. I wrote the company a note of inquiry--but no response! It would be great to have them do another release.