Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mosaic Patchwork

Hexagon patchwork
about 1830

Detail of a mosaic top by Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur,
collection of the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur's unfinished top is one of the few 19th-century Presidential family quilts that survive. She pieced hexagons over paper in the fashionable style of the early 1830s. She probably made this quilt at her home in New York City. She was married to Samuel Gouverneur who was postmaster of the city from 1828 to 1836 when this quilt top was likely made.
See more about the museum here:

The hexagon pattern was so popular at the time that it was published in at least two magazines under names Hexagon, Mosaic and Honeycomb patchwork. First published in 1831 in The American Girl's Book, the design and instructions were copied in 1835 in Godey's Lady's Book.

In 19th-century versions, the hexagons are pieced over paper templates, a technique Americans tend to call English paper piecing.

Hexagon quilt date-inscribed 1807 by Abigail Hunt,
Rhode Island Quilt Project
Although published in the 1830s, the pattern was popular earlier. Several surviving American  examples echo Abigail Hunt's dated version.

This  quilt date-inscribed 1808 by Phebe Windsor of Rhode Island shows similar dark and light patterning and chintz-scale border. It was exhibited at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts last year. Read more here:

Collection: Historic Huguenot Street,
New Paltz, New York.

Here a smaller quilt similar to the full-size quilts above with a label indicating a date  of 1824.
See details here:
And more pictures on Bonnie Hunter's blogpost

The design seems to have been almost as popular in the 1810-1840 period as it was again in the 1930-1950 period when people called it "Grandmother's Flower Garden."

Hexagons large and small in quilts large and small.

From the Museum of Florida History.

This one from Patricia Smith Melton 's collection in the Smithsonian includes diamonds among the hexagons.

The Smithsonian also owns this paper-pieced spread,
made in the West Indies.

The hexagons are longer and Chinoiserie
is a feature in the prints.

Unquilted, it has a note with it: “Lappendehen Mtn West Indies familie Huh Taunay” and, “Taunay family heirloom.”
Click here for more:

One could go in for complex designs

Collection: Missouri Historical Society
These mosaics might take years to finish. This one is probably mid-century rather than early.

The pattern was of course quite popular with English piecers, as in this table cover.

Here's one dated 1803 at last year's Winter Antiques Show in New York. I'd be inclined to guess it was English rather than American.

"Large hexagons, lots of chintz border" may be the way to go if one is reproducing this style in early reproduction fabrics.
Read more about paper piecing here


WoolenSails said...

I do love doing hexagons, but never understood paper piece, so I mark my seams and hand sew them together. I love seeing the variations on it and the creative designs woman have done with them.


Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

Wow, that is a lot of hexi's!

Embroidery designs said...

These are so beautiful.

kathyinozarks said...

I am so glad I was able to run into your post here while searching. I want to make a hexagon quilt using civil war reproduction fabrics and I was wanting to know more about the layout.
this time period here was still using the medallions-do you have any information on hexagon quilts during the civil war time period-thanks much Kathy