Saturday, October 20, 2018

Panel #16: Bouquet with Four Stems

Panel #16, this bouquet of flowers with four stems, is a small panel and not very common. All our examples seem to be American in style and location.

The bouquet has a circular frame, a simple ring pinned by 8 oval ornaments.

Our photo above was digitally stitched by Dawn Ronningen with thanks to Terry Terrell, the North Carolina Museum of History & the North Carolina quilt project. Dawn took the half panels in the first border on the quilt below and reconstructed Panel #16.

Quilt by Margaret Jennet Harris Shell
North Carolina Museum of History

The central panel here is #1 with a primrose spray in the center.

We have a snapshot of a block-style chintz quilt in the collection of the Charlotte, North Carolina Museum of History with 8 examples of Panel #16. The spiky leaves offer a visual cue. Other small panels in this quilt are #6 and #17

We can see the unknown quiltmaker used a large chintz floral
for the border and added a few panel corners, the triangular shapes,
to fill in some space with double line and diagonal grid quilting.
Collection of the International Quilt Study Group & Museum # 2006-003-0002

Blowing up their online picture gives us a good view of the trimmed floral image.

A Tree of Life chintz applique found in the North Carolina project is attributed to Cynthia Clementine Brantley Johnston of Mooresville in Iredell County, North Carolina. The bouquet is included as foliage at least four times with the popular palm tree print in there twice....

and two pheasants. Those triangular leaves could be cut from the panel's corners.

Sort of like this.

Long leaves echo the palm fronds

See the Quilt Index file:

The maker's identity seems confused as Cynthia Clementine Brantley Johnston was born in 1860 and died in 1949, much too young to have made this quilt in style fashionable 30 years before her birth. 

We often get the feeling these Southern panel 
quilts were made by professional seamstresses
but this one----Not so much. The details seem
a wonder of improvisation with a limited supply of chintz.

A Mary Clementine Brantley Johnston with corresponding birth and death dates may be the woman who owned the quilt. Her daughter was named Cynthia and her mother was Jane Creswell McNeely Brantley (1821 -1899?), a more likely candidate for quiltmaker. Yet Jane seems a bit young to have sewn such a complex quilt in her teens so it may have been the work of her mother Elizabeth Creswell McNeely (1796-1877). Or perhaps it was a purchase. Another option: stitched by seamstresses free or slave at McNeely family commission.

Our fifth quilt is again just a snapshot, a rather graceful chintz medallion
with the panel in the center area with Panel #14.

What Can We Learn from panel #16?

The catalog records at IQSCM tell us nothing about its origins, but we would guess it is a Southern quilt dating from about 1825-1850. Clues in the other fabrics such as the border print, a primrose path, back up that date. See the file here:

Piece of the border print from the Victoria and Albert Museum collection: "Border of roller and block-printed cotton. The pattern includes a floral design of dahlias. About 1830."

Like the Brantley family quilt from North Carolina this one seems to be the idiosyncratic work of one individual (at least in the planning rather than the stitching). She's adapted shapes to create line and color in the composition.
We recognize the kidney bean scallops as part of Panel #5
the fruit basket. But what are those white shell-like shapes?

So what can we learn? Some of the panel quilts have the style of professional seamstresses who sold bedcoverings to wealthy Southerners, but this one looks like a one-of-a-kind arranged by an amateur.

See more about the pheasants and palms: 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Panel #21: Princess Charlotte of Wales

British quilt top from a Christie's Auction with panel #21 in the center .

Panel #21, Princess Charlotte of Wales/
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg marriage commemorative panel, 1816
A lovely quilt, very British in it's appliqued hearts and pieced frames, celebrating a future Queen of England, the only heir of King George IV.

The final border is a stripe popular on both sides of the Atlantic,
often paired with the fruit panel #5.

 Royal Wedding, May, 1816

Top sold at Tennant's Auction

Another cheerful quilt full of  hearts and hope for the future of the couple.

Sampler by Tirzah Gibbs, 1829, Bonham's Auctions

"Princess Charlotte
Died November the 5th,1817
Aged 22
Hope is Fled"

1817 was a bad year for English celebrities. Jane Austen died in July; Charlotte in November, a day after giving birth to a baby who died too. Great Britain was shocked. There were no other heirs and no hope her parents would ever have a civil encounter in the same room again much less another royal baby.

In 1923 MacIver Percival showed a trimmed panel in his The Chintz Book. In the inner border: "Princess Charlotte of Wales Married to Leopold Prince of Saxe Cobourg May 2, 1816"

The Victoria & Albert Museum has yardage with the name of the printer on the tax stamp: John Lowe and Co. Furniture Printers, Shepley Hall.

The Castle Museum in York has this chintz applique
in its collection. Four Charlotte panels surround an oval floral (Panel #15)

Like other panels commemorating British current events
we can assume that the panel was not printed for export.

See the George III Jubilee panel at this post:

However, there are a couple of style characteristics in the Castle Museum coverlet that make me wonder if it is American. One is the lack of piecework in the borders. Another is the abundance of palm trees and birds. It's not that English quiltmakers didn't use palm trees and peacocks but they didn't use them in the same way. (A digression.)

Most of the Charlotte quilts look very British and most of them are in England today.

England's Beamish Open Air Museum has a nine patch with the panel in the center.

Medallion below from the Binney collection is now in the New England Quilt Museum, the only known Charlotte quilt in the U.S. today. 

Princess Charlotte Commemorative
New England Quilt Museum
Gift of the Binney Family

Parts of Panel #5 form a ring around the birds...

The same birds as in the Castle Museum's top.

A Second Charlotte Panel

In Emma Jane Worboise's 1877 novel The Grey House at Endlestone she crafted a well-observed, cobwebby scene. Hilda awoke in a strange bed...

"the hangings were of faded chintz, the counterpane was a wonderful device of many-coloured octahedrons with a choice centre-piece, displaying the washed-out features of the Princess Charlotte, surrounded by the dates---almost illegible---of her Royal Highness's birth and marriage."

I thought this might be a description of the octagon panel above but then I realized there is another 
Princess Charlotte textile.

With a portrait --- rather washed out and with her birth and death dates.

British frame quilt auctioned at Wooley & Wallis showrooms.

The panel is a monochrome toile, something we are NOT
indexing here but it is too cool to ignore.

The Metropolitan Museum and the Victorian & Albert each
have a panel. As you can see in the quilt it's large, 19" x 26".
The portrait with a mourning wreath was copied from a print...

Copied from a painting

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Wales
1816. Collection of the Brighton Museum

And one more Princess Charlotte memorial:

The New England Quilt Museum also has a nicely
arranged hexagon top by Englishwoman Catharine Tebay 
through 1816 and 1817.

Attention to detail throughout the patchwork...

Including this typeset label along the edge

and a piece she must have inserted after finishing
 the top, mourning the death of the Princess.

Monument to Princess Charlotte at Windsor Castle 
by M.C. Wyatt, finished in 1824

What Can We Learn From Panel #21?

The Prince(ess) of Wales's symbol of three feathers and motto
"I serve" in German

These polychrome framed panels marking public events seem to have been popular with British textile printers in the teens, beginning with the George III Jubilee panel about 1809, continuing through Wellington's Victory at the Battle of Vittoria in 1813 and Charlotte's wedding in 1816. Links to events easily date them and we can assume that many of the other popular panels in similar designs were printed from about 1810 to 1820.

American side chair with nail head trim, 1795
Collection of the Winterthur Museum

 We also assume the panels were printed for furnishings and this Charlotte panel supports that view with its dotted border that looks much like nail heads.

Chair with nail head trim, 1794–99 attributed to
Samuel McIntire, Salem, Massachusetts
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Read Anita Loscalzo's “Commemoration and Grief: Two Coverlets and the Death of Charlotte Augusta, Princess of Wales” in the British Quilt Studies Group's 2012 publication, Quilt Studies 13. 

See pictures of the panels at these links: