Monday, November 18, 2019

New Data Point: Bird Panel Dated 1812

Christopher Wilson Tate at the Antique Textiles Company in London showed this British bedcover last year at the Houston Quilt Market.

It is dated and signed Mary Gibbs, 1812, quite an important quilt
in the database of panel quilts.

That central octagon certainly looks like a panel, although it
might be a regular repeat chintz carefully cut and framed.

Much like this central image in a similar quilt in the collection
of the Quilters Guild in York. The label notes the floral is cut and
framed: "pieced to emulate a block printed panel and then framed with a green sprigged strip."

In both an elongated hexagon shape creates an octagonal design with a light square in the center. Little information came with this quilt.

But Tate has examined the bird fabric and he believes it's
 a panel "not seen on an antique quilt before," We will
have to agree with him.

Do note the oak-style leaves shaded from yellow to green. Very much
in the style of Bannister Hall.

The quilt is important not only for its unusual panel but also for it's date.

The bad news is another date-inscribed quilt means we have to re-do the analysis. We now have 8 British quilts ranging from 1810 to 1834.

The good news is that it doesn't skew the data older or newer. The British dated quilts still range from 1810 to 1834, which means even though we have a small sample the sample seems to be representative.


  1. Hi, Barbara- I found this to be fascinating. In terms of trying to date panels, I was struck by a thought. Many years ago, I went to the Mottahedah Museum in Stoke-on-Trent, England. My trip was to identify some china patterns and donate some plates. Many of their china patterns are handpainted, but they also a special order section that has artists paiting incredible things that have been special ordered. They made/make incredible things besides china just for the purpose of dining. While there, I was also fortunate enough to be shown original patttern books and there were many incredible things. When I looked at the bird panel, it just reminded me of some sort of china pattern. I was wondering if as a quilt historian you look for other mediums that show simlar painting and try dating quilt peices through another path. I was thinking of a couple of places that might be able to shed some light on dating through China. Winterthur in Deleware, Replacements, Inc. in Raleigh, NC and Devonia, which is an exclusive store on Charles Street in Boston that sells very high-end china. All of these sources many not have an exact pattern in stock, but they would be able provide names and photos that might be helpful. The other thought I had was theorem painting. I can't tell you how much I look forward to your different email. Thanks for researching and providing us with a wide variety of information and sources, and for the different quilt blocks to make and follow.

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