Origin: America, Connecticut or Rhode Island
Overall: 105"; With Extensions: 85 1/2". Petticoat section: 66 1/4" wide. Damask selvage width: 29 1/4"
Center petticoat portion: plain-woven silk backed with plain-woven wool, with wool batting and silk quilting stitches. Strip extensions: silk backed with twill wool, with cotton batting and later silk quilting stitches. Skirts or ruffles: damask silk. Sewing threads silk and cotton.
Acc. No. 2006-58
Bed cover or quilt made from woman's petticoat, with ruffled extensions on two sides made of Chinese silk damask. The petticoat, which forms the center, has been cut into two portions and stitched together at the hems. Petticoat is yellow-tan silk quilted with tan and brown silk using running and backstitches. The backing is plain-woven wool with off-white woolen batting. Design includes a variation of the royal arms with lion and unicorn, basket of flowers, pear tree with man below holding stick, dog, squirrels, goat, rabbits, birds, and large-scale flowering plants. Dated 1761 in the quilting on the pear tree's branch. The silk flounces on two sides are made of Chinese damask in a floral pattern. Creases in the damask indicate it was once a garment, probably a gown. Damask has temple holes in selvages, typical of Chinese manufacture. Narrow flat extensions at top and bottom of bed cover are later additions, quilted with long running stitches with cotton batting. Loose threads on one of the narrow extensions suggests a third ruffle was stitched in place.
1. 1761: Quilted Petticoat Construction
2. 1810-1830: Altered into bed cover or quilt
3. Unknown Date: an additional ruffle was likely present as indicated by the loose threads on one of the narrow extensions.
Label:Quilt made from a Petticoat
Connecticut or Rhode Island, 1761, remade 1810-1830
Quilted petticoats fell out of fashion after styles shifted to slim skirts just before 1800. The enterprising owner of this petticoat cut the garment in two and stitched it back together at the hems to create a functional bed quilt. Scraps leftover from an out-of-date Chinese silk damask dress became flounces to drape the sides of the bed. The complex design includes a modified version of the British royal arms, flowering branches, cornucopia and basket sprouting flowers, playful animals, birds, and a pear tree with a man and his dog beneath it. The date 1761 is stitched into the branch of the pear tree.
Silk plain-woven face fabric
Wool fiber filling
Worsted plain-woven wool backing
14 to 16 silk back and running stitches per inch
Provenance:According to vendor, found in the attic of the home of William Goddard in Providence, Rhode Island around December 2005.
Inscription(s):Dated 1761 in the quilting on the pear tree's branch