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Quilt, blue wool wholecloth

1740-1775
Origin: America, New England
Overall (L x W): 94 x 95in. (238.8 x 241.3cm) 8-9 running stitches per inch
Wool
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1954-757
This square wool wholecloth quilt is made of dark blue plain-woven worsted, which has been glazed to impart shine. The reverse is mustard-colored plain-woven wool and is not glazed. The batting (or filling) is also wool, as are the quilting threads. The quilted design of the field shows scattered, fanciful flower-trees in an asymmetrical arrangement, the largest of which is at the lower center. While every sprig is similar, none are identical. They include berries, spiky flowers, round petalled flowers, and fruit palmettes. The border design, seen on the two sides and the foot, consists of symmetrical, undulating leafy plumes, each with a fruit palmette at its center. The two central palmettes on either side are nearly identical, save for the scale of the crosshatching inside the fruit. The central palmette on the foot, however, is much more ornate with added leafy swags. The edges of the quilt are turned to the inside and stitched.
Label:Delicate floral sprigs in the center field of this quilt are unusual for wool quilts, which usually feature bolder, large-scale designs more appropriate to the heavy material. The sprigs in this example are almost obscured by the dark indigo color of the plain-woven wool face fabric. The imperfect glazing of the wool suggests that it was probably woven and processed in America rather than being imported from England where weaving and glazing technologies were perfected. Extra pieces added at the upper border indicate that the quilter miscalculated the finished size and was forced to lengthen the bedcover during the process of stitching. The quilt is made entirely of wool, including the mustard-colored backing and the stitching threads.
Provenance:Obtained by Mary Andrews, Ashaway, RI;
Sold to CWF, 1954.