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


taylorsoutback said...

A delight to revisit this quilt over morning coffee...opened up my copy of The American Quilt and held a magnifying glass to the pages...trying to see how that fabulous chintz inner border was appliqued and turned the corners. Di Ford's reproduction pattern handles that area somewhat differently. It is in my trunk of someday quilts...

WoolenSails said...

I would assume most of the materials in the early days were from england or france. I notice too, in some of the slave quilts, a piece or two of a special fabric that they must have gotten from discarded clothing.