Made by John Hewson, American, 1745 - 1821
This bedcover, which Hewson produced at his factory in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, is considered the finest example of early American block printing. Elaborately patterned with drapery swags, floral borders, and a center square with a flower-filled urn flanked by butterflies and birds, the bedcover compares stylistically with the palampores printed in India during this period for the European market. The individual designs were most likely copied from pattern books and engravings. For example, the subject and arrangement of the central motifs may derive from Dutch flower-piece prints from the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while the smaller images, such as the bird on a sprig, may refer to printed needlework designs.