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Maryland Appliquéd Album Quilt

1840-1855
Origin: America, Maryland, Anne Arundel County
OH: 105 1/2" x OW: 103" (268 x 261 cm)
Plain and printed cottons with wool and silk embroidery threads
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2008.609.4
This is an appliquéd quilt with red, green, and yellow cottons on an off-white ground. The quilt is composed of 25 blocks, each measuring 17 to 17 1/2 inches square, joined by one-inch red sashing pieced to blocks. The blocks contain various floral motifs with green leaves, red flowers, and yellow accents; clusters of green and red grapes; floral wreaths; and potted plants. Some of the motifs use reverse appliqué. An appliquéd border measuring approximately 6 inches wide extends around all four sides. The border design is a running green vine with green leaves and clusters of red cherries. There is additional decorative stitching of outline and chain stitches in red and dark yellow silk and wool embroidery threads to form tendrils and stems. Original pencil lines for the embroidery in border can still be seen. The bedcover is quilted with off-white running stitches, 9 to 11 stitches per inch, around appliquéd motifs and in additional designs, including parallel diagonal lines, leaves, circles and teardrops, and four-lobed crosses, or "fylfots," and feather wreaths. Original pencil lines for some of the quilting can be seen. The quilt is bound in a strip of one-inch folded red cotton and backed in off-white cotton.
Label:The counties surrounding Baltimore are known for their fine album quilts. Made in the county just south of Baltimore, this quilt is composed of twenty-five blocks that relate to those in Baltimore album quilts, yet these are more delicately designed and executed, some with embroidered details. The blocks of wreaths, floral and fruit crosses, and pots of flowers are separated by narrow red sashing, and are carefully assembled for visual symmetry when viewed as a bed covering. The four heavier matching motifs anchor the outer corners, while the other blocks are arranged and directed toward the center. A narrow outer border of shallow meandering vines with embroidered tendrils completes the composition.

The quilt is said to have belonged to John and Sarah Carr of Fairview in Anne Arundel County. Although oral history ascribes the making of the quilt to a woman named Worthington, the family may have mixed up the names, because Sarah Carr's maiden name was Whittington, not Worthington. John Carr and Sarah Whittington married in Anne Arundel County in February of 1843. It is possible that Sarah made or received the quilt as a gift prior to her marriage.
Provenance:According to the owner, the quilt was made by a member of the Worthington family of Fairview, Maryland, in approximately 1835 and has descended through the Carr family since 1843. The Carr family (still in MD) consigned the quilt to auction which is where the current owner acquired it. Because the quilt dates later than 1835, part of the family history must be in error. John and Sarah Whittington Carr were married February 20, 1843, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (see genealogical information in object file.) The relationship between Worthington and Carr families cannot be determined to date.