Bedcover

Artist/maker unknown, American

Geography:
Made in Maryland, United States, North and Central America
or Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America

Date:
1825-1835

Medium:
Cotton with block- and roller-printed chintz appliqué

Dimensions:
8 feet 4 inches × 6 feet 11 inches (254 × 210.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1925-66-1

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Mary Richardson Fund, 1925

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Additional information:
  • PublicationNineteenth-Century Appliqu

    In addition to designs based on Chinese, Indian, and other exotic motifs, genre scenes of hunting, riding, and harvest festivals were frequently depicted on the block- and roller printed cottons that were commonly used as furnishing fabrics in early nineteenth-century British and American households. A variety of hunting-related prints of cockfights, fox hunts, and fowling matches were produced and marketed in the 1820s by, among others, Joseph Lockett and John Marshall of Manchester.1

    The appliqués on this bedcover display several of these fashions of the period. The undulating floral garland encircling the central basket, for example, is similar in composition to a group of late eighteenth-century printed palampores made along the Coromandel Coast of India for the European market.2 The outer border of exotic birds and arborescent florals is also closely related in color and design to these earlier Anglo-Indian textiles. The forest landscape evoked by this border is populated by top-hatted hunters with their fowling pieces and dogs. Typical of the artistic license taken by the makers of such appliqué bedcovers is the combination of the peacock, pheasant, cockerel, and phoenix in a pastoral setting of palms, passion flowers, and other botanical curiosities, without regard for their relative size or for the orders of nature. The haphazard proportions of elements in the scene, with birds dwarfing the hunters and trees in some cases, suggest the use of several different printed textiles for the cut-out motifs.

    The glazed cotton appliqués include designs that were cut out and applied in their original printed format as well as singular printed elements that were rearranged into the desired configurations. The central basket, with its overlapping diagonal strips and tightly gathered stitches, shows an interesting variation in appliqué, used here to create a woven, relief-like surface. The flexibility of the appliqué technique allowed for such individualized interpretations of stitching and composition, and helped to increase its popularity as an outlet for creative expression among women during the first half of the nineteenth century. Jack L. Lindsey, from Nineteenth-Century Appliqué Quilts, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), p. 14.

    1. Florence M. Montgomery, Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850 (New York, 1970), pp. 292-94.
    2. John Irwin and Katherine B. Brett, Origins of Chintz (London, I970), p. 106.