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Quilt, silk whole cloth

1730-1750
Origin: England or New England, possibly Connecticut
W: 101"; L: 96"
Green silk face; green worsted backing; dyed green wool batting
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1952-572
Whole cloth bed quilt of light green ribbed silk taffeta quilted to a backing of dark-green glazed worsted twill through a batting of dyed green wool fibers. The quilting is worked with light green silk in half-backstitches (backstitches spaced slightly apart). The design features a large rondel positioned slightly above center. The rondel encloses a flower spray of tulips. Two smaller medallions are positioned directly above and below the larger rondel. A wide inner border creates a rectangular shape with similar flowers on scrolling stems with fanciful leaves. Quarter medallions in corners of the inner border have pairs of stylized birds eating strawberries. Flower sprays fill the field around the medallions. A narrow outer border has undulating feathery plumes joined with flower medallions. The field is quilted in parallel diagonal lines.
Label:Quilt
England or America, possibly Connecticut, 1730-1750
This pale green quilt has a quiet, subtle texture, yet it is one of the most extravagantly quilted bedcovers in the Colonial Williamsburg collections of whole cloth quilts. Probably professionally designed, this quilt is covered with spaced or half-backstitches in a pattern featuring a central medallion, fans with paired birds eating strawberries in the inner corners, scrolling foliage, and undulating feathers, all against a background of closely spaced diagonal lines. Similar design details were used by Americans from Connecticut and Rhode Island for their whole-cloth quilts and petticoats. The presence of dyed green batting (wadding), however, may indicate English professional manufacture, rather than New England production; professionally quilted English petticoats sometimes have dyed batting to prevent see-through of the batting on the thin silk face fabrics. The quilt has more than half a mile of stitching: at an average of 12 1/2 stitches per inch, it contains almost half a million hand stitches.

[Technical information]
Silk ribbed weave face fabric
Wool fiber filling, dyed green
Worsted wool twill backing, glazed
11 to 14 silk spaced backstitches per inch
Provenance:Purchased from Florene Maine, a dealer located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1952.