Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Panel #37: Octagonal Frame in a Sheraton Panel

Sheraton Panel (#37)
Sheraton panel: One name for these chintz images that are "printed to shape."

Cherub among the flowers?
It may not have been meant to be a face.

This panel's dark octagonal frame is unusual enough that we've spotted several examples in some fuzzy photos.
British frame quilt top in Cindy Rennel's collection

It has four panels in the corners. The panel is a square with cut off corners, an octagon, framed by a dark sprigged collar of sorts. In this example the background is white.

We did a post on this English quilt now in Marysville, Kansas from the Huxtable family there. The center panel is an oval with birds (#30) and like the Rennell's example the center is framed with four of panel #37.

Another quilt with corner panels that look to be #37 with
most of the dark frame trimmed.

Bedcover, 1830-1840, Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum

The central panel here is #5, the fruit basket that was quite popular in the U.S. but not so often seen in the U.K. Cataloging information about the fruit panel:
"The particularly large example at the centre of this bed cover was probably printed in the 1820s or early 1830s, at a time when the surrounding prints would also have been highly fashionable in middle class homes across Britain."
The series of pieced frames and other style characteristics like the border of hexagons indicate that it may be an exception to the rule about that fruit panel being printed for Americans. This may indeed be a British quilt, but Merikay notes the piece was donated to the V&A by American Peggy Westerfield  to honor late curator Peter Floud. Westerfield lived in Maine and was a huge textile collector. The cataloging notes say it was purchased from the Ladies's Work Society---but where.

So the quilt's origins are unclear. We'll do more on Panel #5 later.
Back to #37....

Jane Lury has an elaborate frame quilt in her collection
with Panel #37 as the central focus.

Photo from her exhibit in Nantes, France last year.

An Australian quilt, made in Adelaide, dated by
the papers 1830-1831 and in the center....

Pictured in Annette Gero’s  Historic Australian Quilts.
Tan or tea-ground colorway for the panel.

This  panel isn't large. It may have been designed to fit in a small decorative spot on a chair. We have not yet seen it in  a quilt that we firmly believe is American-made.

What Can We Learn from Panel #37?
Sheraton Style

The dark octagonal shape seems well adapted to chair seats and chair backs for Sheraton-style furniture.
Chair from Percival's Old English Furniture
with a small painted detail on the back.

In his 1923 book Chintz MacIver Percival described panels as "very popular in the Sheraton period, being used for applying to plain material for bed furniture [drapes] and for ornamenting chairs and other seats."

Sheraton period refers to the English furniture style popularized by Thomas Sheraton, who incorporated decorative details from French Louis XVI styles.

French chair in the Louis XVI style, a tour-de-force
 of privilege that preceded the 1789 French Revolution.

French card table top with marquetry (inlaid wood) decoration.
One term for these scroll-like decorative shapes is cartouche.

French chair with child and dog in an
octagonal frame. The seat also  has a decorative 
panel, either embroidered on a canvas (needlepoint)
 or a tapestry (woven on a loom).

At the highest level, French kings and English peers could buy chairs embellished with tapestry or embroidered medallions or commission furniture decorated with paint or inlaid marquetry designs. Those with smaller household budgets could ask an upholsterer to include a printed cotton panel for a similar look.
Sheraton's drawings show chairs with decorative inserts.
 He modified the over-the-top French look, although you couldn't call this understated.

Percival wrote an earlier book on furniture history in 1920, Old English Furniture and Its Surroundings: From the Restoration to the Regency:
"In some cases, Sheraton suggests the use of prints on silk or satin for the finishing of his furniture. They should, he says, 'be sewed onto the stuffing with borders round them.' They were to be used not only for the stuffed seats and backs, but also for the tablets in the top rails of the open-backed chairs, where they were to be pasted on and surrounded by a small gold bead. 
Square decorative image in a Sheraton chair back,
perhaps painted or a textile
"This was, no doubt, a cheap imitation of the more or less well-painted panels used in better class work. Either this treatment was seldom carried out or else it has proved very perishable, for few examples have survived. Even if it were desired to reproduce similar decorations, it would be a most difficult matter as special prints would be required, which are not now obtainable."
Percival sounds relieved.

Chintz chair seat cover from an online auction

Two removable slip covers in Sheraton style

Chair seat cover commissioned by London draper
Richard Ovey. Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Linda Eaton in the Winterthur Museum's latest catalog Printed Textiles points out this Sheraton drawing  featuring a chintz panel from his appendix. Sheraton wrote:
"The covering of the seat is of printed chintz which may now be had on purpose for chair seats, together with borders to suit them."
In his 1945 book Old Quilts William Dunton mentioned Percival's use of the word Sheraton in reference to a panel quilt Dunton found in Baltimore, "which was acquired by purchase a generation or two ago." He then deduced:
"As Thomas Sheraton died in 1806, age 55, it seems safe to assume that this print dates from 1800, or shortly before, until such time as we can accurately determine its age."
Dunton is right about Sheraton's death date but his "safe" assumption is illogical. Sheraton never printed fabric. He was a furniture maker and author whose design ideas shaped taste for decades after his death. Dr. Dunton was very observant in describing and categorizing the quilts he saw in Maryland but some of his conclusions as to dates and quilt sources are woefully incorrect. Forget his "Before 1806" time frame.

Read Sheraton's The cabinet-maker and upholsterer's drawing-book in the 1804 version here:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Floral Bouquet With Blue Ribbons: Panel #14

Years ago Marilyn Woodin, an Iowa quilt dealer, posted a picture of a 
beautiful but well-worn chintz quilt in her collection.
 The center panel has a blue ribbon tying a bouquet of varied flowers.

Untrimmed panel #14

The oval panel is framed by a narrow floral ring with flowers in the corners. This version
from a quilt seems to be a demi-chintz of limited colors.

Colonial Williamsburg has an uncut panel in full chintz coloring.

The most distinctive characteristic is the blue ribbon tying the stems.
The quilts are re-oriented here to place the ribbons at the bottom.

Tree of Life Cut-out Chintz Quilt, initialed G.M.R. Attributed to Maine.
American Folk Art Museum collection.

This is an odd quilt. Curators found both 20th-century and 19th-century fabrics in it. Someone had enough yardage of panel #14 and two other panels to cut strips in half to make a scalloped border. 
Made in the 19th with added 20th-century repairs?
Most likely: Made in the 20th century of old fabric.

The top half of the panel on the left side.

Cut-out chintz medallion, dated 1828, Jane Allen Nesbitt 
Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center has in its collection the earliest date-inscribed
American quilt with a multi-colored imported European panel in the database.

Panel 14 is in the center with it's floral border trimmed.
The date "Sept 16, 1828" is cross-stitched.

Cut-out chintz quilt attributed to Eleanora Roche, Baltimore, Maryland.
Documented in the Maryland project and pictured in their book
A Maryland Album, page 55.

Again, a trimmed Panel 14 is the central focus. A ring of  12 repeats of Panel 17 shows the relative size difference between large and small panels.

Small panel #17

Lincolnton, North Carolina
A fifth cut-out chintz quilt was recorded in the North Carolina project.
This quilt was donated to the North Carolina Museum of History in 1928.
See a post this week on my Civil War Quilts blog about this quilt from the Ramseur family.

Panel 14 and its parts have been reconstructed to make a larger central medallion.

Medallion quilt by Miriam Woodside Ross, Fawn Township, York County, Pennsylvania
Recorded by the York County project and pictured in their book
Quilts: The Fabric of Friendship

The last quilt with panel 14 is quite different in style. Although Miriam Woodside Ross used an untrimmed panel for her center, she framed it with borders of piecework and chintz. The difference in style may be explained by its Pennsylvania origins. Fawn Township is in the southern part of York County right on the Maryland border.  A combination of Southern panel and Northern quilt sensibilities?

What Can We Learn From Panel 14?

When Merikay wrote "Printed Panels for Chintz Quilts" for Uncoverings 2013 she counted 185 quilts in the database with 20 having inscribed dates. The earliest quilt with a large panel in the American sample is the 1828 Nesbitt quilt with panel #14 in the center. The earliest British dated quilt has a date of 1810.

The British Elizabeth Capes quilt from the Poos Collection
with two different panels (#14 in the center) is dated 1810.

As the panel fabrics are generally attributed to about 1815 in England we see a more than ten year lag in their use in the U.S. We also see Panel #14 used in two quilt styles. The Ross quilt from Pennsylvania incorporating piece work borders is more like the British style shown in the Capes quilt.

The more common panel style we see in the U.S. is one in which floral motifs are appliqued to a white background. American cut-out chintz or Broderie Perse quilts are less likely to include any pieced patchwork. Americans didn't often include conventional applique done in template fashion from calicoes and solids.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Chintz Panel Giveaway Winners

In the Empire Line panel giveaway:


The Blue on the left was won by Caroleee
And the Red on the right by Fribble.

I've emailed them and will be sending them off. I gave away both, as I realized I am not going to use either. And then I can buy a couple of new panels.

Now for you unlucky commenters. You can buy panels. You just have to shop with skill.

Here's the current Barnsley by Petra Prins
6.5 Euros

And they can seem pricey if you buy internationally or on-demand print versions.

But conventional fabric companies do reproduce them....

I recently visited Quilters' Station in Lee's Summit, Missouri and they still had a bolt of Preservation
from Moda's Collection for a Cause in white, I think.

 Andover is shipping this Di Ford Windermere to shops next month.

So buy two. One to keep and one to give to a friend.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Bird's Nest: Panel #30:

Quilt by Elizabeth Norman of Lowick, Northumberland, England.
First quarter 19th century.
Collection of the Bowes Museum

The panel at the center of this frame quilt is famous as the same one that the Austen family used for their quilt about the same time (#28), but this post is about the smaller panel,  #30.

The oval panel features a nest in a fanciful rose tree. A colorful bird feeds a worm to nestlings, a scene framed with a ring of lozenge shapes and corner bouquets. The borders on the Bowes Museum quilt were probably cut from yardage showing how the panels were printed as repeat images with a small white space between each oval.

The Quilters' Guild of Britain has an uncut panel in the collection.

Maciver Percival published a panel in The Chintz Book in 1923 with the caption: "Rectangular Panel, Indian Colouring."

"Two most interesting panels of a kind which were very popular in the Sheraton period, being used for applying to plain material for bed furniture and for ornamenting chairs and other seats...The delightful rectangular panel is in the rich indigo and madder colours copied from Indian cottons..."
We see it as an oval panel. Percival dates it to about 1812 and we'd guess a little later. The Sheraton period, when furniture designed by Thomas Sheraton was fashionable, is loosely described as 1785-1820 or more narrowly 1790-1810.

The Sidmouth Quilt with the bird panel in the center.
Collection of the Quilters' Guild of Britain

Like the George III Jubilee panel Percival pairs with it, the Bird's Nest panel seems to have been used only by quiltmakers in the British Isles. We've yet to find a quilt we think was made in America.

The field of patchwork and frames surrounding the panel are
more typically seen in British panel quilts than in American.

Unknown source
Four of the smaller Panel #30 framing Panel #36 in a combination
strippy/frame quilt.

Again the field of patchwork (and particularly the Austen-like diamonds)
mark this quilt as British. The larger panel in the center is #36.

Mary Lloyd of Cardigan, Wales
Collection of the National Museum of Wales, about 1840

Mary Lloyd framed her center panel with cutout chintz
and a field of squares.

The quilt is stained in the center but the panel background
looks to have been white.

We saw this checkerboard medallion on eBay, and we are guessing it's British due to the style.
Notice the panel has a tan ground.

Decades ago the little quilt magazine Nimble Needle Treasures
published a photo of a tied comforter found in the Hollenberg Pony Express Station
in Marysville, Kansas. It certainly looks English 
to us despite its home in an 1870s Kansas building.

Nancy Hornback sent Merikay photos.

Reporter Letha Rice recorded the story she heard. The quilt was donated by Letha's cousin Lydia Flin Warren of Home, Kansas (Marshall County--near Marysville) who inherited the quilt from their grandfather William Clark Huxtable, born in Devonshire, England. He decided to immigrate to Australia, so the family story goes, but after his ship was disabled he was rescued by a ship bound for America. 
The quilt is quite colorful with several blue ground 
and madder red chintzes.

The last pieced border is very English, chintz squares.

Years after he wound up in Kansas his sisters in England sent him this quilt top made by his mother.

William & wife are buried in Marshall County, Kansas.
A little detective work indicates he lived in Genessee, New York 
where he married Maria. His mother who made the quilt may have been Elizabeth
Clark. No father is listed on his birth certificate.

Letha described the quilt top: "Made as many English pieced quilts were, with a center panel framed by pieced strips, row on row with more 'picture patterns' cut from the chintz and placed as corner blocks."

Those "picture patterns" look to be panels (Panel #37.)

What Can We Learn From Panel #30?

By looking at the quilts made from the panels we can speculate that the Bird's Nest panel was printed in England and not exported to the U.S. market. We have no date-inscribed examples but guess the quilts to date from the 1820s and '30s. 

Americans have their chance to buy this panel today. The Quilters' Guild shop offers a more rounded version than the original.

Susan Briscoe used their panel to create a reproduction of the Sidmouth Quilt in 2016.
Read more here: