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White Stuffed Work Quilt

1830-1850
Origin: America, Maryland or Virginia, probably
OH: 88" OW: 90 1/2"; 9-10 running stitches per inch
Cottons
Gift of Sallyann and Stan A. Greenbaum
Acc. No. 2006.609.7
This is a white cotton "stuffed-work" quilt with cutout corners for bedposts. The white cotton front and back are quilted in running stitches through cotton batting, with some pattern areas having extra batting and cords to raise the design in high relief. The design consists of a center square enclosing mirrored floral cornucopia flanking a two-handled vase of flowers and flower clusters in the four inner corners, and edged with scallops and tri-lobed figures. The wide borders have undulating grapevines with pyramid-shaped grape clusters and veined leaves; outside the grapevine motifs are scrolling feather-like leaves and flowers. The narrower outside borders are formed by repeated finger-like three-part leaves or flowers. The quilting is worked with an average of 10 to 11 running stitches per inch. The face is made of three panels, each about 29 5/8" wide. Edges bound with half-inch cotton.
Label:Quilters had a number of techniques available to them. The unidentified maker of this beautiful white quilt added extra batting in specific areas to raise the design in high relief, a technique known as "stuffed work." Today, some call the technique by the Italian word "trapunto," though that term was not in use when the quilt was made. The technique can create subtle beauty, especially on a bed side lit by the light streaming through a window.

The maker designed the quilt with corners cut out to accommodate a tall-post bed. The center motifs of cornucopia and flower vase, as well as the meandering grapevine border, relate to the designs of Baltimore-vicinity quilts, although the latter were worked in the much different technique of appliqué.
Provenance:The donors purchased the quilt in either Maryland or Virginia.