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?


5 comments:

WoolenSails said...

I always wonder about alligators on the old quilts, and wonder if they got them from the old illustrations of animals.

Debbie

gaye ingram said...

I LUV this series!

suzanne said...

You raise the very interesting question, did they teach quiltmaking in schools? I've never heard that they did, but that's probably just oversight. The reason not to teach quiltmaking in addition to sewing skills would be the time it takes to make a quilt would take away from the time for other subjects. And proud parents couldn't hang the quilt on the parlor wall back then. They might have skipped over quilts, figuring that if the student could sew, she could make a quilt. And all these motifs are just the design vocabulary of the era, showing up on furniture, moulding, painted tinware, ceramics, fraktur etc. It would be interesting to try to research the girl's school curriculum. Are we dependant on newspaper ads that just say 'needlework'. You've opened new possibilities.

Laura S said...

@ Suzanne, I'm in the middle of unpacking from a wonderful move, so I cant give you exact reference site, but there is a quote from Godey's Ladies Book in a short article and patterns for a hexagon mosaic quilt - something to the effect - "Quiltmaking is excellent for the older ladies who have lost the ability to continue their fine needlework or to teach young girls how to sew with needle and thread"...
I'm pretty sure Barbara is the one I first heard it from at a long ago Quilt Restoration Society meeting....

Irene Blanck said...

I would love to reproduce/interpret some of the quilts, particularly the Quilt inscribed Maria Whelpton,
aged 19, Feb. 27 1828. Where can i get more information on this and permission to do so.