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.


Virginia berger said...

Very interesting post! Are you familar with the quilt at the Beamish Museum that has this style of multiple, varied appliqed images but done in blocks? It is in the book "Quilts & Coverlets" by Rosemary Allan and is dated about 1850.

WoolenSails said...

iucatev 17I love this style and uninhibited the quilters were. It seems that they added things that were part of their life and things they saw in books.


JoeyLea said...

Just letting you know once again, I always enjoy reading your blog. The fact that these beauties have survived 100 to nearly 200 years is amazing.
Thank you for sharing.

Sandra Henderson said...

BUT, during this time, America was (still is really) very young and from England, Europe....
where does the line stop ? i mean, could have been made in America very easily, by an English descendant. not sure it all matters really

spent a week a Shelburne two summers ago. incredible!

Sandra Henderson said...

did not mean to say we (still are) European, as that certainly is not the case...was referring to the young part.

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

Patchwork On Stonleigh said...

Would you have any information or references on the Lucy Hasill quilt? Thank you? Susan

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