Friday, September 7, 2018

Panel #3 Trophy of Arms

Panel #3 in full-chintz, wood-block coloring 
with golden-yellow shield on a white ground.

This round panel seems to have been used exclusively by American quiltmakers.

The panel, which has been trimmed of its corners in the quilt top above, depicts a set of bow and arrows in a quiver, a shield with a sunburst, a torch and a horn among flowers with a wreath of a climbing floral---some kind of morning glory?

Donna Stickovich's panel quilt is a classic chintz applique in
the style so popular in the U.S. between 1825 and 1850.

The featured panel is a demi-chintz of red, blue and green with a red shield.

The Winterthur Museum's piece seems to be the full chintz with added tan background ground, a tea ground, so we know of three colorways. This fabric, about 20", has not been trimmed and shows the corner florals that fill out the square. When Curator Florence Montgomery cataloged the panel in the 1970s she dated it to about 1815 and described it as a Trophy of Arms.

 Linda Eaton's recent Printed Textiles, updating their catalog, included the piece in the chapter on "Borders & Design Printed to Shape" (Page 249) as "Block-printed design probably intended for use in the center of a patchwork quilt. Printed in Britain: about 1820."

Collection of Patricia Smith.
The central focus is an uncut panel #3 on point.
The same colorway as Donna's.

We are dating the chintz applique quilts to 1825-1840 by style.

A second medallion with palm trees and game birds framing panel #3.

This one from Cora Ginsburg's inventory several years ago.

We have as of today 21 examples featuring panel #3, none attributed to anywhere but the  United States. In this post we examine this large group of quilts, looking for clues to origins, makers, design sources and hoping to set a few common assumptions askew. 

We begin with cut-out chintz spreads and quilts.

Newark Museum Collection, attributed to New Jersey

Panel #3 in the center with #7 on the sides and #6 at top and bottom along with numerous chintz applique blocks.

Detail of the corner of Panel#3 with a nice view of the quilting
from Barbara Schaffer's blog.

Delia Hayes Claiborne (1794-1838), Richmond, Virginia
Collection of the Valentine Museum

Teddy Pruett shared a photo of this one with stuffed work quilting
and the maker's maiden name "Sarah M Johnson" quilted in the center.

Sarah Mason Johnson (1810-1896) was born in South Carolina; married in 1836 to John S. Lee in Columbia, South Carolina and died in Georgia.

Chintz medallion in the collection of 
Mississippi's Old Capital Museum. 
Photo: Courtesy of Collection of the Museum Division,
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Information from a label on the reverse: Made for the birth of Georgia Butt, born in Columbus, Georgia in 1834, quilted by enslaved seamstresses.

Georgia's mother Priscilla Banks Butt named her daughters after Southern states.
See more about her in the comments by Curator Mary Lohrenz.

Her quilt is on display now in Jackson, Mississippi in the permanent exhibits of the Museum of Mississippi History. Also up is a temporary exhibit Stories Unfolded: An Exhibit of Mississippi Quilts at the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Collection of the Charleston Museum,attributed to 
Mary Withers Read (1790-1817)  first wife
of John Harleston Read of  Georgetown, South Carolina.

The quilt has a central panel of #3 uncut with the larger panel #2
in the corners.

It's attributed to Mary due to the presumed date, thought perhaps to have been made before her death in 1817. But the quilt probably dates from the 1820s or later based on what we have seen of similar quilts so it may have been made by or for Read's second wife Emily Ann Huger Read (1804-1834).

The Read quilt is remarkably like one in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, attributed by the family to Mary Brewton Motte Alston (1769-1838) who lived near the Reads in their winter home in Georgetown and their summer house in Charleston.

Mary Motte Alston, miniature painting in the collection of the 
Gibbes Museum of Art. She is of the right generation to have
made or purchased the quilt. 

The Alston quilt has panel #3 cut in half
to frame the central panel which is uncut and placed on point. 
There is a border vine of chintz applique.

When the pair is laid one atop the other proportions and size are quite similar.

Read more about the Alston family and their quilt at this post:

Center of a quilt attributed to Catherine Crenshaw Holman

The maker trimmed the square's four corners and used them in another area, a typical approach to making the most of the fabric. The oval of triangular shapes is also probably cut from panel corners.

Smaller panels (#6) fill corners inside the
floral swag border. Abundant white space gives an airy look.

Catherine Crenshaw Holman (1804-1889) lived in Newberry, North Carolina where the family believes this quilt was made. She died in Louisburg, Mississippi. Documented by the Mississippi project, it appears in their book Mississippi Quilts.

The Charleston Museum owns a similar, smaller quilt with an airy look.

They have no information about the maker. She
incorporated a circular ring from panel #2
and the long-necked red and blue birds from panel (#11) in the corners.

Smaller birds perch in both quilts, in fact the same birds.

The tan birds in the black outlines are from the Charleston Museum's;
laid atop the Holman family quilt.

Hannah Noland Henderson's quilt. Charleston Museum #2013.6

The Charleston Museum's rich collection of chintz bedcoverings includes another medallion applique with panel #3 in the center---plus four other panels in whole or parts arranged around it. Hannah (died 1890) is buried in Newberry County, South Carolina.

Close looking reveals that those small appliqued lozenge shapes among the butterflies in
the center are cut from the same stripe in the Alston quilt which is on the
bottom in this photo.

Cindy Vermillion Hamilton's collection.
Photo courtesy of Julie Silber.

This block quilt seems to have the same lozenge fabric in a different colorway as the sashing strips.
We discussed the smaller panels (#10) at a recent post:

The center block

Sophia Watson Boatwright, Saluda County, South Carolina
Collection of MESDA Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts

Sophia Watson Boatwright's quilt uses the Trophy of Arms panel in a supporting role, framing Panel #13. See our post on the butterfly panel here:

Collection of the Greensboro Historical Society
Photo from Ellen Eanes

The photo doesn't give us much detail but we can see two very
popular chintzes, one a basket cut from a pillar print

and the other a stripe with kidney bean shapes lining up alongside a chain.

Collection of Katherine Ratcliffe and Eleanor Bennett

This one from the Holmes family of  Rockbridge County, Virginia uses the panel's corner triangles in the same fashion as the Holman quilt with a repeat of a large floral motif in the wide border. It was
pictured in the Virginia project book Quilts of Virginia. The Turkey red dogtooth borders indicate the change of taste in the 1840s that soon replaced the fashion for chintzes.

Documented in the South Carolina project, pictured in their book Social Fabric.

Medallion style was also replaced by the fashion for block-style album quilts. This one made for James Hammond and dated 1846-1848 is one of the latest quilts we have with the panel. The red arrow points to a block with panel #3. Other blocks feature wreaths cut from panels.

Eliza S. Howell's 1848-1849 quilt in the collection of the 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Typical block-style sampler, probably from New Jersey. Eliza inked a self-portrait in the center using trimmed pieces of the morning glory wreath in Panel #3. Panels may have been out of fashion but flowers---never.

See a post on Eliza Howell's quilt here:

Below two that combine chintz style with calico patchwork.

Collection of Merikay Waldvogel

A kind of Delectable Mountains medallion of red and green with
chintz focus and border.

Collection of the American/International Quilt Association.
Six panels frame a star.

Framed tea-ground panel sold at an online auction

The Winterthur Museum has this pretty little chair with
a painted Trophy of Arms on the back. 1800-1810, Baltimore.

The Trophy of Arms is a traditional heraldic image indicating triumph over a military enemy, but this one with its arrows and hunter's horn on the left is also called a hunt trophy or a hunt cornucopia (although the horn is not really a cornucopia.)

In 1750 William Hogarth depicted a riot of instruments of mayhem, 
including a bagpipe.

18th-century French furniture with an inlaid wooden trophy of arms

Fashionable empire look with trophy motifs on the walls
from George Smith's 1833 furniture guide.

"Sheraton wall paper" was fashionable again
in 1911: quiver of arrows below a floral basket.

The "Sarah M. Johnson" quilt

Additional symbolism might have been added with the sun on the shield reflecting young America's image of a Rising Sun.

Rising Sun in a Chippendale chair at Independence Hall
in Philadelphia

What Can We Learn From Panel #3?

The Trophy of Arms chintz is important in that it is a large panel found only in American quilts. We have numerous examples but not one quilt attributed to England, Australia, Ireland or any other part of the British empire. We can wonder whether the fabric was printed in the U.S. but the sophisticated multi-color woodblock is not typical of American workshops in the 1820s. With three colorways, one with an added blotch ground, the current thinking is that the chintz was printed in England exclusively for the export market.

Trophy of Arms with a Rising Sun shield, constructed of sandstone in 1796

The Fort Jay Eagle Sculpture on Governor's Island in the New York harbor is thought to be "One of the earliest, if not the earliest, American monumental stone fort decorations."

 The Trophy of Arms imagery often symbolized a country, e.g. the bagpipes in the Hogarth print standing for Scotland perhaps, so this image with its Rising Sun may refer to the U.S., being printed only for export to America, which is why we have no British quilts using the panel.

The popularity of the panel in South Carolina also makes us think that the fabric came through the port of Charleston and that professional quiltmakers there bought large stocks of it to make fashionable Broderie Perse, chintz applique compositions. The repetitive nature of the fabrics and style in the Carolina quilts makes us wish we knew more about where fashionable Carolinians obtained their bedding.

The closer we look at high-style panel quilts, particularly the cut-out chintz medallions, the more we doubt that they were made in individual households but rather were purchased from workshops by the wealthy.


  1. Barbara,
    So interesting and many thanks to you (and Merikay) for so generously sharing your expertise!
    RE the chintz medallion quilt, photo courtesy of Museum Division, Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) - this quilt is currently on exhibit in the permanent exhibits of the new Museum of Mississippi History. (The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, both MDAH state museums, opened in Jackson, MS, on December 9, 2017.)
    Some more history about the chintz medallion quilt - Census records for 1830 & 1840 show Priscilla Banks Butt & her husband Moses living in Muscogee County, Georgia (in or near Columbus, GA) and that is where their daughter Georgia was born in 1834. The 1860 census shows their daughter Georgia & her husband Thomas Young & their children living in Lowndes County, Mississippi (in or near Columbus, MS). Two towns of Columbus - GA & MS - can make this confusing! Also of note, although she was born in Georgia, Priscilla Banks Butt's father, mother, and husband were all natives of North Carolina. There is a handwritten inscription on the back of the quilt, "Made by Priscilla Banks Butt / For her baby / Georgia Priscilla 1834 / Quilting done by Negro slaves." According to the 1830 census, Moses Butt owned 7 slaves and according to the 1840 census, he owned 45 slaves. After the 1848 death of her husband, Moses, Priscilla Banks Butt continued to live in Muscogee County, Georgia until her death in 1853. The 1850 slave population schedule lists the widowed Priscilla Banks Butt as owning 52 slaves. The complete catalog record for this quilt is available by contacting Nan Prince, director of collections, Museum Division, MDAH,

    Mary Lohrenz
    Exhibition curator for Stories Unfolded: An Exhibit of Mississippi Quilts, the first temporary exhibit of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, December 9, 2017 through October 14, 2018

  2. RE the Miss. Dept. of Archives & History (MDAH) Priscilla Banks Butt Trophy of Arms chintz medallion quilt - Priscilla's daughter, Georgia Butt, was born in Muscogee County, Georgia (in or near Columbus, Georgia) and the quilt is currently on display in the permanent exhibits of the Museum of Mississippi History (not the Stories Unfolded temporary exhibit).
    However, a beautiful calla lily chintz quilt is one of the 40 quilts in the Stories Unfolded temporary exhibit.
    A catalog of Stories Unfolded is available from the Mississippi Museum Store, 601-576-6921.
    Thank you!
    Mary Lohrenz

    1. Hope I have it right now. Thanks, Mary.

    2. Yes, except that Georgia Butt was born in Georgia (not Mississippi). Thank you, Barbara! I enjoy reading all your quilt blogs!
      Mary Lohrenz