Quilt

Mary Ann Skerrett, E.B. Phillips, George S. Lang, Julian Phillips, and E. Phillips, Philadelphiafor Miss Jane Gordon & Company

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

Date:
1841

Medium:
Cotton with roller-printed chintz applique and fine patch pieced work; intersecting diagonal quilting, drawing and inscriptions in ink

Dimensions:
9 feet 10 inches × 10 feet 6 inches (299.7 × 320 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1941-109-1

Credit Line:
Bequest of Natalie K. Rowland, 1941

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Additional information:
  • PublicationNineteenth-Century Appliqu� Quilts

    As the inscription records, this quilt was "Made and presented to Miss Jane Gordon & Co. by Mary Ann Skerrett E B Phillips Geo S Lang, Juli[a]n Phillips E Phillips." It is inscribed and dated, "Philada, May, 1841." The central roller-printed chintz appliqué wreath encloses a verse that may give some clue as to the reason for its creation:

    To Hymen's pleasant yoke. Oh yield
    A yoke of Grape Vine trimed with flowers
    Collected from the laboured field
    From Natures wilds from Arts gay bowers
    A wreath! Where Fruits and Flowers entwine
    Alternate round a silken chain
    The Apple with the Eglantine
    The Cala with the Golden Grain
    Use with Beauty
    Love with Duty
    Twining round and round again

    This dedication to Hymen, the god of marriage, combined with the reference to the yoke, which symbolizes the joining of a couple in matrimony, suggests that the central motif represents a bridal wreath, whereas wreaths in other quilts are sometimes associated with mourning. The pairing of Miss Gordon's name with "& Co." may refer to her fiancé.

    The inscribed central square is surrounded by nine-patch pieced work that alternates with roller-printed floral chintz squares, both set on end. This floral chintz was a popular pattern that appears in a number of appliqué quilts in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see 1952-63-1). Nine-patch is one of the simplest pieced-work designs, with many variations, and was frequently used by girls as young as six for their first patchwork quilt, which they often made for their dolls. The bottom of this quilt has been cut on the diagonal to accommodate a four-poster bed. Dilys Blum, from Nineteenth-Century Appliqué Quilts, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), p. 24.