Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ann Dagg.S Quilt

Quilt signed
"Done BY Ann . Dagg.S
The .1. Of May . 1818"
Collection Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Patricia Smith Melton 1998.149.5

The caption for this quilt at the Smithsonian website reads:
"1818, Ann Dagge, hand-printed, indigo-resist,
white cottons, and linen 84 x 80 1/2 in. (213.4 x 204.5 cm)"
In building my mental case for an early American style of conventional applique I often thought of this quilt, first published in a Quilt Engagement Calendar and then in Rod Kiracofe's The American Quilt (pages 52 & 53) where it was attributed to Ann Daggs, Rochester, New York. The quilt apparently went from family[?] to the antique quilt dealers America Hurrah to collector Patricia Melton Smith who generously donated it to the Smithsonian with the rest of her significant collection of calico and chintz quilts. As in the above Smithsonian caption it is now attributed to Ann Dagge.

Here is a detail of the inscription.

And a portrait of the maker from The American Quilt.
There are many Daggs and Dagges in the history of Rochester, but Rochester's history is only a year older than this quilt. During the War of 1812 there was a small frontier settlement at at the mouth of the Genesee River. In 1817 Rochesterville was incorporated (population approximately 700) but the town didn't really grow until the building of the Erie Canal in the 1820s. This quilt may have resided in Rochester during the 19th and 20th centuries but it was not likely to have been made in that frontier settlement.

Well ,so much for trying to define an early American style of applique. The more I think about it the more I think Ann Robinson's, Ann Dagge's and Louisa Brigham's quilts are probably British. If there was a needlework school involved it's likely to have been in Great Britain.

I have long used these quilts as evidence that American women during the War of 1812 had access to the very up-to-date British multi-colored calicoes seen in swatch books and British fashion magazines like Ackermann's....

Shawl print, April, 1811
But if these calico quilts are all English that theory is also on a slow boat to the Isle of Wight.

See the Dagge/Dagg's/Daggs quilt at the Smithsonian's webpage

And at Rod Kiracofe's

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Style: Unconfined Applique

Ann Robinson's quilt
dated 1813-1814
Collection of the Shelburne Museum
The caption in this catalog of the Shelburne's collection reads:
"Appliqed and Pieced Counterpane, Floral Medallion Pattern 1814. Made by Ann Robinson. New England, possibly Connecticut. Cotton; marked 'Ann Robinson October 1, 1813' and 'Finished January 27, 1814.' 100" x 95". Museum acquisition 1954-439 (10-140) 
I've been thinking about Ann Robinson's quilt for years.
I began a copy and have finished my 4 cornucopia. Being quite familiar with those cornucopia with their tulips and blade-shaped leaves I was surprised to come across this photo in Averil Colby's English book Patchwork.

Colby's caption reads: " 'The Isle of Wight' coverlet with applique and patchwork patterns in chintz and cotton dress prints, ca. 1820". She said in 1958 that it was lost and this black and white photo the only record.
Same cornucopia, a lot less stuff. I should have copied this one. I'd probably be finished.
The "American" quilt on the left,
the Isle of Wight spread on the right
Could it be that Ann Robinson's quilt is English? And my whole theory about an early American applique style is on a slow boat to the Isle of Wight.
In this 1958 book Colby also included a quilt made by the Sharman sisters about the same time as the Isle of Wight coverlet.
This quilt by "the two Miss Sharman's ca 1820" includes horns of plenty in the corners.

I am thinking a lot more work needs to be done on the Ann Robinson quilt: more geneaology, more looking at English pictorial quilts. I'm becoming more doubtful of a Connecticut origin.
It has more in common with English applique such as this one that Colby also pictured "applique coverlet with a great variety of cotton prints." She dated it to about 1850. It's now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The applique style with pictures not confined by blocks seems very British.
So when we see something like this one dated 1845 we can guess it's British, even though it was found in the United States.
The human figures, the horses and other animals and particuarly the freedom of the unconfined applique seems to define a style found in the English quilts below. 
An English quilt dated 1852 signed Lucy Hasell (?)
Horses and hearts are a recurring theme.

From an English auction in 2004---probably 1840s
Averil Colby drew up some of the appliqued images, but her book seems to have inspired few to copy these pictorial quilts in the 1950s.
Here's a British quilt with an orderly center and a border of scattered flowers, hearts and leaf shapes, again probably 1830s or '40s.

Similar to this one

I think this style resonates better with us today than with Colby's original readers.
This pair of panels was probably separated a long time ago.
The one above is on the Cora Ginsburg site.

A shorter, more faded piece that sold at an online auction.

They may have been borders once and even though they are in the U.S. are probably English.
American Quilt
Unknown Maker
About 1850
It's not that we don't see hearts, horses and people in American quilts. They just stay inside their blocks where they belong.
This brings us back to Ann Dagge's quilt, dated the 1 of May, 1818. 
 We shall consider its origins next week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Conventional Applique in Calicoes

Center of the Ann Daggs or Ann Dagge quilt
Ann Dagge's 1818 quilt, attributed to Rochester, New York, in the collection of the Smithsonian, looks like a singular piece of folk art but it shares several characteristics with other quilts from the teens. All these quilts found in the U.S. rely on the latest multi-color calicoes rather than large-scale furnishing chintzes. For the next few weeks we shall consider this style.

Like Louisa Brigham's quilt below Dagge's quilt has a swag border with triple leaves.

Louisa Brigham 1818
Found by the Connecticut Quilt project.

The triple leaf motif is seen throughout the Brigham quilt

Louisa also included a pair of reptiles (alligators?) appliqued from calico. A family member brought this quilt to a quilt day. According to the wife of Louisa's descendant she was born April 9, 1793 in Barre, Vermont. 

Here's a detail of Ann Dagge's quilt (bad color) showing her calico birds. Also note her flat cookie-shaped roses and three-lobed tulips, something we see a lot more of in later applique quilts.
Ann Robinson's 1813-14 quilt in the Shelburne Museum collection is similar---using flat flowers and tulips with many flowers composed of hexagons

Robinson also included calico animals and birds and many triple-leaf designs.

With several cornucopia.
Quilt inscribed Maria Whelpton,
aged 19, Feb. 27 1828.
Here's a similar calico quilt, a little more orderly and ten years later.

Maria used small-scale calicoes and a lot of oval leaf shapes.
My photos are fuzzy because I copied a photo in the 1991 Quilt Engagement Calendar.
The page has been hanging in and hanging around in my studio or twenty years. Those calico leaves in a white square are so much like Ann Robinson's.

Sources for all of these designs are not too hard to find.
Embroidered Pocket
Triple leaf motifs are common in embroidery

Embroidered blanket
with a similar swag border
Triple leaves along the top border.
Embroidered sampler by Anna Braddock 1826
Braddock's sampler includes a cornucopia, tulips, birds and animals and, like Ann Robinson's quilt, a rather chaotic composition more familiar in samplers than in appliqued quilts.
These early conventional applique quilts, all found in the U.S., share so much---a certain early style, which then seems to disappear in the U.S. replaced by block-style design with more restrictions
1861 applique quilt by Esther Griffin
Griffin used similar design units but sashing confined her compositions forty-five years later.  
 The block below with the floating perspective common in samplers is unusual in a mid-century quilt.
Detail of a quilt signed M.S.from the 
Byron and Sara Rhodes Dillow Collection at the
International Quilt Study Center and Museum. Estimated date about 1850.
See the whole quilt here (#2008.040.0114)
Did  early-19th-century American applique artists develop a short-lived, rather unconfined style that was forgotten when block-style applique became the dominant style in the 1840s. Were these calico quilts from the teens derived from a particular school or teacher?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Madame Grelaud's Female Seminary

A Phildelphia Eagle Sampler by
 Matilda  Filbert

Madame Grelaud had the honor of owning the most fashionable girl's school in Philadelphia from about 1800 into the 1850s.

In 1810 Mme. Grelaud's Seminary
was on the north side of Arch Street above 3rd,
 with the Second Presbyterian church on the corner.
Like many of the foreign women who relied upon a school for income, Mme. Deborah Grelaud's past was a bit mysterious. She was French, probably a refugee from the colony of Sante Domingue, modern Haiti, one of the white aristocrats who fled during the revolution there in 1790s. Her husband's end is also mysterious. He may have been killed in that slave rebellion or died after escaping to the United States.

Madame Grelaud advertised an
embroidery curriculum in this ad from the
Pennsylvania Gazette in the fall of 1801.

The widowed Deborah with three boys and a girl to support started her successful school, known for its French curriculum, lessons in art and music and public musicales that entertained Philadelphia society in the evenings. During the War of 1812 the three Grelaud sons, Titon, John and Arthur sailed with naval officer Stephen Girard from Valparaiso to Canton. Her daughter Aurora taught with her. Both women lived into their late eighties, so the school had a long infuence.
Mme Grelaud's Female Seminary was expensive and exclusive. Among Amelia Russell's classmates in the teens were daughters of many of the society women we've discussed over the past year. Martha Washington's granddaughter Eliza Law was sent there after her parent's separation. Martha Custis Peter's daughters Columbia and America were among the many Southern girls who boarded as were Nelly Custis Lewis's girls Parke and Agnes. Rosalie Calvert's daughters Caroline and Eugenia went when the Calverts had the cash to spare. Diplomat's daughters like Amelia Russell and Maria Hester Monroe boarded and Philadelphia's upper class girls attended the day school.

Later students included Varina Howell Davis and Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

Betty Ring, the authority on embroidered samplers, identified various sampler styles, using details such as eagles in Philadelphia samplers to link samplers visually to schools and teachers in England and the United States. She found none attributable to Madame Grelaud's. Ring's collection was sold at a Sotheby's auction earlier this year.

Another Philadelphia Eagle sampler, this one from the Sotheby's sale.
The eagle samplers date from 1820-1840.
See the catalog of Betty Ring's sampler collection here:

And read Ring's research here:
 Click on the three files of her work American Embroidery and 2 volumes of Girlhood Embroidery, a great online resource.

Margaret Moss sampler 1825
Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt
 Once you read Ring's work it becomes quite obvious that sampler patterns were passed on by professional teachers to their students.We can use a parallel logic to connect quilts from the early 19th century and wonder where these two quiltmakers got the pattern for their swag borders.

Ann Daggs, Dagg or Dagge
Dated 1818
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution

Louisa Brigham
Dated 1817
Connecticut Quilt Project
These two medallion quilts dated right after the War of 1812 have a lot more in common than their swag borders with triple leaf details. Both are unusual for the time in their reliance on conventional applique of small-scale calico prints rather than on Broderie Perse or cut-out chintz applique.

Maria Monroe stitched a sampler in 1814. You can buy a kit for the copy above here: