Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another New York Pictorial Quilt

The Smithsonian's collection includes a pictorial bedcover from Ulster County, New York with a tree-of-life center cut from the palm tree chintzes so popular in the teens and twenties.

It caught my eye because the woman seems to have a black dachshund in her lap in addition to a brindle dog demanding equal attention. I wasn't going to include it in my discussion of quilts made about the time of the War of 1812 because the Smithsonian website dates it to 1840-1860 but the more I look at it the more I think it's earlier.

The photos of the quilt aren't too good so not very useful for dating the fabrics. See them here:

In 1975, the Smithsonian acquired the counterpane from Margaret Blauvelt Hasbrouck Elliot with the family story that an English woman made it in the 1850s for her grandparents Josiah Hasbrouck and Ellen Blauvelt Hasbrouck. Josiah was born in 1830 and Ellen about 1840. They married in 1856 and lived in Esopus, northeast of New Paltz in Ulster County on the west bank of the Hudson. 

I imagine the attribution to a British servant is based on the supposed date and quilt's style, which does relate to British quilts. But as we saw in the post on the Sarah Warner bedcovers there was a New York pictorial style. This quilt has many things in common with the few surviving pictorial quilts made in the U.S. before 1825.

Notice the sheep at the base of the green hill in the Hasbrouck quilt, very similar to sheep at the base of the brown hill in the Phebe Warner quilt.

And below the hill are men in boats, also seen in the Hannah Stockton Stiles quilt. I just doubt the Hasbrouck quilt is later than 1830.

On the right is a fashion plate dated 1821 that shows similar dress to the dog lover sitting on the green hill. The broad hat, the gown's waist (slightly higher than natural---but not empire), the trim at the bottom of a bell shaped skirt and in particular the new wider sleeves indicate fashion from the 1820s or '30s rather than the '40s or later.
Those sleeves got wider and wider and so did the skirts as in this 1830 fashion plate.
Based on the woman's fashion and the palm tree chintz I am guessing the Hasbrouck family bedcover was made between 1820 and 1830, probably by one of the couple's ancestors.

Josiah's mother Mary Ann Oliver Hasbrouck (1809-1893) may have been a little young---in her teens in the 1820s.
His grandmothers were in their forties then.
Jane Elting Oliver (1783-1842)
Mary Broadhead Hasbrouck (1785-1893)

On Ellen's side
Ellen's mother Maria Mabie Blauvelt (1809-1885) was the same age as Josiah's mother.
Her grandmothers are also possibilities:
Jane Graham Mabie 1784-1858
Lena Fowler Blauvelt 1773-?

Ellen's family, the Blauvelts and the Mabies, are descendents of early Dutch settlers. There were many Blauvelts in New York in the early and mid 19th century.
The Blauvelts of Ellen's generation were quiltmakers---their signatures survive on several quilts. See this post for more mid-19th-century Blauvelt quilts

New Yorkers weren't the only quiltmakers to make pictorial quilts but its certainly a theme in the state's quilt heritage.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dressed Pictures

The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, where I volunteer in the quilt department, has an unusual pictorial bedcover. Nancy Hornback, who has studied it extensively, believes it to be about 1790-1810 and made in England.

 Pictorial Quilt
Collection of the Spencer Museum of Art
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Harold D. Hedges
 in memory of Mr. & Mrs. R. Lockard

I wrote the catalog copy for this quilt for an exhibit there a few years ago and I realized I knew very little about the context of the times, British history, the Napoleanic Wars, Austen-era England and early patchwork in either America or England. So I began to read---hence, this blog.

The center area features a grassy commons or churchyard with festively dressed figures raking mounds of hay or grass. The yard is framed by a pair of classical columns hung with floral vines.
Read about a sampler with haystacks here:

The figures are neither embroidered nor appliqued, but are a type of three-dimensional stump work known as a "dressed pictures," figures cut from paper and clad in fabric. The dressed figures are then stitched to fabric.

The border is full of oval vignettes with similar figures. Nancy Hornback has written:
"Some of the scenes, viewed in sequence, seem to tell a story: a woman and a man meet; he porposes; he goes off on a ship; they marry, she gets news of peace; he rides home; she presents him with twins."

The fabric is wrapped around the paper bodies, tucked, pleated, ruffled and stitched. Details are embroidered.

They are like paper dolls but with fabric clothing wrapped around them.

 There are also several dogs.

Some of the paper bodies and silk faces have deteriorated but the fabrics in the clothing have held up well.

Dressed pictures were a relatively popular needlework technique before photography.

Here's a framed dressed picture of George Washington

The face is cut from a print

Another George Washington portrait, this one in silhouette fashion.

A portrait of a woman
These hold up better in a frame than in a bed covering.

I used the technique to make several Jane Austen
dressed pictures from my line of Hartfield fabric.
A dressed picture makes a lovely card.

The technique never really died out. For example: the 1870 Iowa State Fair awarded $2 for the best dressed picture to Miss Nina White of Keokuk. During the 1920-1950 era women made dressed pictures in tulles and satins as in the example above.

And then there was this baby picture fad...

In her book Wrapped in Glory on the topic of pictorial quilts with human figures Sandi Fox shows two late 19th-century crazy quilts that use a similar technique. The faces in the Leila Butts quilt on the cover are made of a stiff fabric and those in the Eudotia Sturgis Wilcox quilt faces are of leather, material that would hold up better than paper. If you loved dressing paper dolls you might consider making some dressed pictures.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sarah Furman Warner Williams

Phebe Warner Coverlet
By Sarah Furman Warner Williams
About 1803, 103 1/4 x 90 1/2"
For Phebe Warner Cotheal
Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Of the few early pictorial appliques with human figures, four American pieces are attributed to Sarah Furman Warner Williams (1771-1848). The Metropolitan owns the bedcover above, which for many years was attributed to Phebe Warner's mother, but in her 1990 catalog curator Amelia Peck reassigned it to Phebe's cousin Sarah. The quilt was donated in 1938 by Catharine E. Cotheal, Phebe's granddaughter.

Flight Into Egypt panel attributed to Sarah Warner Williams
About 1810-1830
Collection: Winterthur Museum

Notice the similarity in the scenes at the base of the trees with  flock of sheep.

is embroidered
 on the Phebe Warner coverlet

Nativity panel attributed to Sarah Warner Williams
About 1805
Collection: Winterthur Museum

The bedcover made for Phebe Warner has inspired quilters.

Copy by an unknown maker about 1930
in the Bresler Collection, Mint Museum

Phoebe by Suzy Miller
View details here:

Phebe's Quilt
By Di Ford

See an interpretation of this quilt by Georgann Wrinkle here:
And one by Deb K here:

The Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Museum was given this bedcover with notes that it was made for Susannah Nexsen Warner Nichols by her Aunt Sarah Williams, about 1816.

This masterpiece burned in a museum fire in 1970.

Copy of the destroyed Warner quilt by Janet Locey

Janet worked from photos of the Susannah Warner quilt in Carleton L. Safford and Robert Bishop's 1972 book America's Quilts and Coverlets.

Details of Janet's copy of the Warner quilt

She fused the applique rather than turning under the edges. She made it for an American Quilt Study Group Study of bedcovers made before 1840 so was restricted in size.

There are other quilts attributed to the Warner family.

Quilt attributed to Ann Maria Warner dated 1822
in the collection of the New York Historical Society

In one corner is cross-stitched "AMW / 1822"
Gift of Mrs. Bayard Verplanck
Read more about this quilt here:

There is a lot more work to be done to connect these New York quilts and coverlets. Mrs. Bayard Verplanck donated many items to the New York Historical Society and other museums. She was a great-granddaughter of Phebe Warner Cotheal for whom the quilt at the top of the page was made. See some leads at the bottom of the page.
Portrait of Sarah Warner as a girl in 1781
 by William J. Williams

Attributing all these bedcovers to Sarah Warner Williams is tempting but maybe it's too much like attributing all the Baltimore Album Quilts to Mary Evans. Could one woman have done that much work?

We can find quite a bit about Sarah Warner Williams online. Her mother was Magdelen Walgrove (c. 1745-1814) a New Yorker who married twice, first to Samuel Godwin who died in 1768; then to George Warner in 1771.  Sarah was born that year. The family lived on a farm in New York City's Bowery according to the New York Historical Society, which owns an 1806 portrait of Magdalen.
The Bowery was still very rural in 1831

Sarah's mother was a daughter of George Walgrove "said to be descended from a younger branch of the Earl of Waldegrave family...." Their great-grandson George Warner Nichols wrote a short biography of Sarah's father, George Warner, an Englishman who migrated about 1765 with his brother Richard.

"They both soon became active business men, were sailmakers by trade, and kept a large and profitable establishment; first in John street near William, which afterward became the first meeting place of the Methodists; and afterwards at No. 86 Wall street. George soon refused to make sails for the British. He was too much of a patriot for that. During the early part of the Revolution he was captain of a military company, and while in New Jersey, was taken prisoner by the British and confined several years in New York before he was liberated. He and his brother married sisters...."

Vauxhall Garden in 1803

These New York images are from the New York Public Library


With her second husband Magdelen had three children: George James, Effingham H. and Sarah F. They lived at the corner of Fourth Street and the Bowery, a farm "considered to be quite out of town, some two or three miles beyond the city limits. The capacious and beautiful grounds belonging to it extended back from the Bowery to beyond Lafayette Place, and from Fourth street nearly to Vauxhall Garden. Some few now living will remember its beautiful garden, covered with splendid tulips, hyacinths and roses, and its orchard with all kinds of choice fruits and shrubbery."

George Warner represented the city of New York in the State Legislature for many terms. Sarah's brother George J. Warner, married Susan Nexsen (see the Henry Ford Museum quilt above, probably made for their daughter).

Sarah was married in the church on Wall Street

Sarah married in the Trinity Church in lower Manhattan in December, 1788. The Daily Gazette announced: "Married on Tuesday Evening last... Mr Azarias Williams, merchant, to the amiable Miss Sally Warner, daughter of Mr. George Warner, both of this city."
Azarias Williams was born in England in 1765 and had been living in New York for about two years when he married Sarah. In 1796 they moved to Concord in Essex County, upstate Vermont. Azarias  was a merchant in Vermont, postmaster, a judge and he built "a splendid mansion on his farm," according to the town history. "He lived in a style far above any other family in town, and, with his truly amiable wife, dispensed hospitality with a profuse and lavish liber­ality to all."
Sarah and Azarias had three boys born in Vermont, William Bugley born in 1790, Jacob,1805, and Azariah, 1808.
 "His mansion, together with much valuable furniture and household goods, was burned in 1825; after which, Mrs. Wil­liams resided in New York, in the former home of her parents, which was left her by her father, who died the same year."

Her grand nephew described the  New York Warner house as "the home of friendship, piety and kindly hospitality. After his death his daughter, Mrs. Sarah F. Williams, occupied it as her home for many years, and here resorted some of New York's best society and Mr. Warner's descendants and their families."

  Sarah and Azarias seem to have lived apart after 1825. "Mrs. Williams died in the city of New York, in 1848, and Mr. Williams in Concord in 1849, being in his 84th year." Azarias is buried in Vermont, Sarah in Manhattan.

Azarias Williams's grave in Vermont
Azarias was an early donor to the University of Vermont, giving a good deal of land in 1839. He is still honored with a Williams Professorship of mathematics at the school.

Sarah's grave is highlighted in yellow on the left in this map of St. Paul's Churchyard on Fulton Street in Manhattan. Her father and her brother were also buried at St. Paul's Chapel, the oldest occupied building in the city.
George and Effingham Warner's memorials
are now in the wall under the organ.

Saint Paul's looks much the same today
as it did in this mid 19th-century drawing,
 when it was a social center in the city. 
It may very well be the church in
Susannah Nexsen Warner's quilt made by her Aunt.
Rather than being a rural village,
 the scene might be New York City.

Well I could go on---but I wanted to bring up some other Warner family needlework in the New York Historical Society collection: a whitework, candlewick piece initialed "PC 1812" in the corner
With 2 shams

The donor of these whitework pieces is the same woman who donated the Ann Maria Warner quilt, probably Susan Van Wyck Andrews Verplanck, born about 1875 in Windham, Connecticut.

Some Genealogy on Susan:
She was a daughter of Laura Hoppock Cotheal Andrews (born about 1852) whose father was Henry Luigdon Cotheal, an uncle of Catherine Cotheal who donated the Phebe Warner quilt.
Catherine, whose father was Isaac E. Cotheal, had two sisters Elizabeth M and Anne R. according to the 1880 census in Fishkill in Dutchess County. Living with the girls and their father was Uncle Henry Luigdon born in 1812 to Phebe Warner Cotheal and Henry Cotheal.

That's probably enough......

See the pattern for Di Ford's Phebe quilt here:

More on Sarah's genealogy and family history:
Concord by J.E. Woodbury 

George Warner Nichols,  Miscellanies religious and personal and sermons, 1893
George is Susannah Nexen Warner Nichols's grandson.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pictorial Patchwork

Detail of the Mary Morris Quilt
Ontario, 1825
Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Mary Morris's embroidered quilt with the central panel dated 1825 features the floral imagery typical of quilts made in Great Britain and North America in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It is unusual in its use of human figures along the sides (see last week's post for more photos.)

Very few early quilts survive with human figures.
The British bedcover above depicts Queen Victoria's Cornonation in 1838.

A label says "H.C. Simmonds near the Mansion House at Weston near Bath. Somerset Sh[ire]"

The Coronation

It sold for £10,200 in late 2009. See the catalog entry from Kerry Taylor Auctions by clicking here:
 The British Simmonds quilt is very much like an American quilt from the same period.

"Trade & Commerce Quilt"
Hannah Stockton Stiles
Collection of the Fenimore Art Museum, New York 

Hannah Stockton Stiles lived along the Delaware River, one of the busiest trading arteries in the United States.
See more here:

Her bedcover called the Trade and Commerce Quilt is dated to about 1830. The dresses in the family at the bottom (Hannah and husband John Stokes had 11 children) show the exaggerated sleeves popular in that period.

The bedcovers share a common viewpoint, portraying space as seen from above without the conventions of western artistic perspective, something we see in children's drawings.

The Brooklyn Museum has a similar quilt, described in a 1984-5 catalog as
"a charming late 18th-century English or Irish appliqued pictorial quilt with rural scenes which include a public house (pub) and a romantic church ruin adjacent to a graveyard and border pairs of animated personages who are attired in everything from everyday work clothes to informal at home and business wear to military uniforms to best dress outfits. Their character is achieved through stitched features. While the subject depicted is unusual, the concentric bordering it typical of British quilts of this date."

Detail of a quilt by Sarah Furman Warner Williams,
 New York and Vermont. More about
Sarah and her pictorial quilts in another post.

The United States has a few of these early pictorial quilts.

This Maine quilt of embroidered wools pictorials sold to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Pictorial embroidery itself is not unusual---it's the use of human and architectural images in British and American quilts that is rare.
Indian Kaantha
The sources and inspiration are many---an old and continuing tradition in India of including humans among the flora and fauna

Schoolgirl embroidered picture of Liberty and the
Native American woman symbolizing America

Embroidered pictures date back centuries and continued to be a part of girl's educations and ladies' pastimes.

Pictures of buildings and landscapes are common in samplers of the era.

With human figures less popular

although they were common subject matter in the copperplate toiles of the time.
Bedcovers with human figures seem to belong to small and isolated currents of style.

Early 18th century English bedcover
now in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg

with  portraits in the blocks and along the border

See more of this piece at the Colonial Williamsburg website by clicking here
And doing a quick search for this accession number

The German principalities of Prussia and Saxony have a history of pictorial patchwork called inlay work or intarsia going back to the 15th century.

Detail of an inlaid pictorial quilt, Germany, mid-19th century

Something that seems a far cry from of Mary Morris's unsophisticated view of a hunt.