Friday, June 15, 2018

Gothic Ruin: Panel #7

Panel repeated in a finished textile.
Collection of the Winterthur Museum  #1979-0058-009 
22-1/3" x 24-3/4"

Panel #7 Gothic Ruin in Floral Wreath

The cataloging record on this group of four panels stitched together
describes it as an English woodblock print 1790-1810.
Is that printing date too early?

Winterthur's repeat of four images, which they think might have been a pillow sham or handkerchief cover, is remarkably like the center of a quilt in the collection of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles. Do note that the Winterthur example has less vegetation behind the architecture so it looks lighter in the center.

The British quilt is signed in red cross stitch in the center
"J.H. Thorne September 3rd 1824."

The Thorne quilt panel is described as "wreath of flowers surrounding a pictoral design of Gothic ruins and trees." Merikay has looked at the Thorne quilt closely and noted the four panels are one piece of fabric.

Four of the Gothic Ruin panel in the corners framing the Fruit panel (#5). 
From Jane Lury's collection.

Jane showed hers in Nantes, France last year.
The small panel's center looks tan so it may be the same busier variation as in the
Thorne quilt. The quilt looks more like a British frame quilt than an American piece.

The wreath and ruin panel is probably an English fabric exported to the United States, where it was  popular. The Charleston Museum has at least three chintz quilts using a trimmed wreath in a secondary border pattern.

Charleston Museum #HT 586

Detail of HT 586.
The ruin is easy to spot even in a small photo
 because a road runs through the structures
dividing the image into two parts. 

Charleston Museum #HT 740
Two basket quilts framed by floral wreaths. 
The quilt above has the same fabric in the inner border seen in the whiter quilt above.  Panel 7 is in the corners

Charleston Museum #HT 742
This quilt has an outer border stripe of the same fabric found in the inner
border in the quilt below.

Charleston as one of the largest seaports in North America is also home to a distinctive airy chintz applique style that thrived between 1820 and 1850.  Fabrics were imported but the applique style seems American.

Two quilts from nearby Columbia, South Carolina also include the panel as a secondary design in  north/south positions in the border. 

Quilt now in the Poos Collection, attributed to Lavinia Eason

Both these quilts offered by Charlton Hall Auction were from the estate of Jennie Clarkson Dreher Hazlehurst (1916-2006) of Columbia. Jennie was descended from two old Columbia families, the Tabers and the Clarksons. She may have inherited the quilts.

The North Carolina Quilts book showed two chintz appliques by 
Sarah Alexander Harris Gilmer (1806-1832) of Cabarrus County. 
Her panel quilt uses 4 wreaths to frame the fruit panel (#5)
often seen in American quilts.

One of two quilts by Margaret Salena Perkins Laxton (1808-1883) 
of Burke County, North Carolina
in the MESDA collection
All the Carolina quilts use the wreath as an oval with the corner florals trimmed off.

Online auction

Carolinians were not the only American seamstresses with access to the fabric.

This Baltimore bedcover was pictured in William Rush Dunton's 
1946 book Old Quilts.

The four panels are on their sides around the central Fruit Panel.

Collection: Pink Palace Museum, Memphis
57" x 53"
This is a small quilt

The quilt was attributed to Grandmother Tickle, Shelby County, Tennessee by donor Estelle Robertson in 1956. The design seems to owe something to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia in its use of a field of triangle patchwork around a square on point.

The Minnesota project recorded a tattered quilt with a panel in each of the top border corners, attributed by the family to Joanna Murphy Johnson of Maine.

Attributed to England, 108" square
Sold at Skinner's Auctions a few years ago.
This quilt includes several panels of various sizes.

Two of panel #7, one in the top border, one in the bottom.

From the Quilt Index and the Kentucky project, made in Georgia

From eBay a few years ago.
A real beauty.
Panel 7 in the corners, Panel 2 in the center (about which more later.)

Similar construction in one dated 1833 with the initials E.H.R.
from Merikay Waldvogel's collection

Quilt dated March 12, 1839, attributed to Harriet Elizabeth Black.
Collection of the Museum at Texas Tech University.
She used two small panels and the larger fruit panel.

Album quilt for Eleanor Joseph Solomons,
South Carolina, 1851-1854 
Collection of Judith Shanks

Someone who contributed a block used the rose wreath with 
the central ruin cut out. See top row center. This is the latest dated example so far.

What Can We Learn from Panel #7?

(1) The figures of the architectural ruin and the wreath seem the same in all the panels, but the prints found in U.S. quilts have less vegetation with a lighter appearance. Does this indicate that the busier version was printed for the English market and the emptier just for export? Questions: Different mills? Different time periods? Different tastes?

(2) We have four date-inscribed quilts with this panel, an 1824 quilt from England and three American pieces dated 1833, 1839 and in the 1850s. We have many theories about sources and dates for the panels. One of Barbara's is that they were printed in the teens, available and used immediately in England, but not available and used in the U.S. until the 1820s. Is a data set of four quilts enough to base a theory on?

(3) The panels were probably printed after 1810 when the panel fashion began. 1790-1810 is too early. The more we study these multicolor panels the more we think "Printed after 1810."

Two of panel #7 in the top row with panel #11 in the center.
 2013 online auction from Vermont

See the British Thorne quilt here:

And Margaret Salena Perkins Laxton's at MESDA:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hewson Vase Panel # 18

Detail of a Hewson vase panel

A few years ago we visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art where curators were kind enough to show us panel quilts and fabric. We were intrigued by this uncut panel, commonly acknowledged to have been printed by John Hewson in Philadelphia...

because it included a floral vine border, not often seen in other versions of the panel.

Similar panel, different border
in a quilt from the Delaware Historical Society. 

See details of this chintz medallion here:

Center of a quilt in the Herr Collection at the 
Historical Society of York County, Pennsylvania

Metropolitan Museum of Art
27-5/8 x 29-1/2 inches

The Hewson Printworks used woodblocks to print the design so we see various compositions with the same birds and butterflies placed in different spots.

Well-worn quilt from the Winterthur Museum, acquired in the last decade

A toile border frames the medallion...

Much like this one in a private collection.

John Hewson (1744-1821)

Inspired by our late friend Cuesta Benberry we have kept lists of quilts with Hewson Vase panels for quite a while. For this post we added a few more, bringing the list up to 18 bedcovers, indicating the Hewson panel's popularity in the U.S. We have never seen it in British or Commonwealth quilts.

Stuffed work medallion with Hewson panel, inscribed 1809,
St. Louis Art Museum

The earliest dated example in our files is inscribed 1809. The latest 1848. The 1809 quilt is indeed the earliest date-inscribed quilt with any panel in the U.S. dated the same year as the British George III commemorative panel (#24) discussed in this post:

Quilt dated 1848, signed
Elizabeth Hart, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Spencer Museum of Art
Quilt dated 1811 by Betsy Burton, Cincinnati Art Museum

Another early Hewson. What looks like a printed border around the vase is a pieced strip
of eccentric print.

Bird motifs were usually included in the Vase panel

Stuffed-work medallion with Hewson panel
in the Orlofsky collection, published in the 1974
book Quilts in America.

What can we learn from the Hewson panel quilts?

The vase panel must have been Hewson's bread and butter---textile industry jargon for a profitable classic printed over and over. We know very little about their other prints. Did the Hewson printworks produce other woodblock printed panels? Merikay has questioned the common assumption that all the panels found in the U.S. were imported. (See Spring, 2014 issue of Blanket Statements, AQSG's newsletter.) 
"Could any of the chintz panels have been designed and/or printed in the U.S? ... Without company records or advertising this question remains hypothetical."
We'll be discussing this hypothesis further.

Panel #19

We've both been struck by Panel #19, the Butterfly panel discussed in the last post. Hewson vase panels include at least three butterflies (or moths) with much in common such as outlines, antennae and areas of red, brown and blue. Could it be an American print?

Common Hewson moth,
reproduction and original prints above

Andover's repro insects are on a separate fabric

Kathy Hall at Andover did a fabric line based on Winterthur's Hewson collection.A web search for Hewson Andover indicates that online shops still have some "John Hewson" for sale.

Read more about Hewson's wife Zebiah Smallwood Hewson at this post:

Bedcover by Zebiah Smallwood Hewson (1749-1815)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

See her quilt and the panel at the top of the page by going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art page and searching for Hewson:

The best online biography of John Hewson Senior is in the Winterthur catalog.

Liz Wright has a Pinterest Page on Hewson quilts old and new:

Jan Wass still has Andover reproduction Hewson panels for sale:

Someday we are going to get our repros finished.