Quilt from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts featuring Panel #5
the Fruit Basket design.
The caption indicates that little is known about this lovely spread. They estimate the date as about 1830 and the place of origin as middle Atlantic States.
Spreads with frames of chintz around panel #5 are quite common at that time and in that place.
Margaret Seyle Burgess
Charleston Museum, a gift from her great-great granddaughter in 2010.
Attributed to Sarah Eliza Reynolds Croft (c. 1790-1859),
gift of her granddaughter in 1928.
114" x 114" square
Attributed to the Boyle sisters, Petersburg, Virginia
This gorgeous spread is from the family of
Anna Berwick Legare O'Hear (1825-1905)
Charleston, South Carolina
Look at that serpentine stripe!
Her maiden name is inked on the reverse.
See more at Winterthur Museum's online catalog.
Do a search for Legare
From the Arizona project and the Quilt Index
Another beautiful example, this one photographed way out west with no information on the source. It's in Lenna DeMarco's collection.
We can guess it was made along the Atlantic coast from Baltimore south. Most museum curators, collectors and dealers feel pretty good about that location and a loose date of 1825-1850 with these chintz appliqued panel medallion bedcovers.
Photographed in Sumter County, South Carolina for Gladys
Marie Fry's book Stitched from the Soul, 1990.
The family story on this beauty said that the group of quilts were made by " 'sewing women'---slaves that were specially trained to do quilting." We'd imagine many of these chintz spreads were quilted and finished by enslaved seamstresses.
The chain stripe cut from this popular print
Many of the American quilts featuring Panel #5 conform to a formula in the layout: Framed fruit basket in the center with borders of unpieced chintz (often a stripe) and appliqued chintz vignettes.
Which is why this piece with a similar look seems so out of place in London.
It was pictured in the 1991 book The American Quilt Story by Susan Jenkins and Linda Seward, in the inventory of the Antique Textile Company of London (in its early incarnation.) The caption tells us it is English but it looks so much like the quilts above that it's confusing.
British seamstresses did use the fruit panel, which was undoubtedly wood-block printed in England, but often in different fashion. Below two classic British quilts featuring panel #5.
Quilters' Guild Collection
In each of these pieced bedcovers the panel is featured in the center but a supporting cast of prints vies for our attention
Jane Lury's inventory, includes Panel #7 as well as #5.
The overall style is just as distinctive as the American chintz appliques. Supporting prints might be characterized as busy or textured with the look of Indiennes, inspired by classic Indian pattern. Patchwork is simple with a few wide frames in contrasting shades.
Pattern of sorts for a British frame panel quilt based on Jane's quilt.
Ever larger nine-patches.
Bill Volckening's photo of a Baltimore spread.
The background is a textured weave.
The most obvious differences between the British style and the American are (1) less emphasis on applique in Britain and (2) the white background in the U.S. Background fabric in the American bedcovers were sometimes a complex woven pattern rather than a plain-weave cotton.
Wooley & Wallis auctioneers in England
The four smaller panels are #15
Crib quilt 38" x 40" from an American online auction
There's not much to go on here but this quilt located in the U.S.
certainly has more in common with British quilts than with American.
We don't want to go too far in saying there is a definite British style and a definite American style
From an old Quilt Engagement Calendar (Panel #36)
But some bedcovers look British...
Collection of the Greensboro (North Carolina) Historical Society
(Panel #3) Photo from Ellen Eanes
Note the inner border stripe is the same chain print as in the Sumter County,
South Carolina quilt above.
We have set up a style dichotomy and, of course, there are exceptions
which we will address in the next post.