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Quilt, yellow wool wholecloth

1750-1820
Origin: America (probably)
Overall (L x W): 102 x 96in. (259.1 x 243.8cm) 9 wool running stitches per inch
Wool, quilted with wool and marked with silk threads.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1953-951
This nearly square wholecloth quilt is made of pale yellow glazed worsted backed with gold coarse woolen. The batting is wool. It is quilted with running stitches in an almost-symmetrical pattern centered on a four-petalled flower. Surrounding the flower are four curvilinear vines, stemming from leafy scrolls at the center of each side. The vines have large leaves, berries, and floral palmettes. Each corner is filled with a leafy plume. The background quilting is parallel diagonal lines over wool batting. The reverse is marked with the letters “ZHA” in blue silk. The edges are bound in 1/2 inch golden-yellow twill tape.
Label:This wholecloth quilt (made from a single rectangle of seamed textile) achieves its strong design solely from the quilting stitches that trace a design of undulating vines and stems bearing large, fanciful flowers. Quilts of this type were often conservative in design, displaying “baroque” design characteristics in their use of bold, dynamic scrolls and S-curves long after the baroque had been replaced by the rococo and neoclassical styles in other media. The designer conceived a quilt with nearly symmetrical scrolls, flowers, grapes, and leaves turned toward the centered four-petal flower. The letters ZHA stitched into the backing may be the unidentified maker's initials.
Provenance:Purchased from Katherine Prentice Murphy, New York, 1953.
Mark(s):"ZHA" in blue silk on reverse side.