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Lyre Appliquéd Quilt

1845-1860
Origin: America, Virginia, York County
OH 92" OW 92" (234 x 234 cm)
Printed and plain cottons
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2008.609.7
This is a square quilt with rounded corners, appliquéd with red, green, and yellow-orange motifs. The center consists of sixteen blocks, each measuring about 17" square and centered with an appliquéd 3-string lyre surrounded by leaves and flowers in red, green, and orange. The border on all four sides measures about 11 1/4" wide. The border has repeated appliquéd swags, doubled tassels, and bows. The edges are bound with green cotton. The bedcover is quilted with off-white running stitches at 7 to 9 per inch following outlines of appliquéd motifs. The backing consists of off-white cotton, of 2 lengths about 32 inches wide and one narrower panel.
Label:The maker of this quilt limited herself to repeating the motif of a lyre sixteen times without any separating bands, or sashing. The appliquéd motifs are turned toward each other so the quilt can be "read" from either direction when placed on a bed. Swags, tassels, and bows in autumnal colors ornament the outer border. The quilting pattern follows the outline of the appliqué. The quilt is bound in a strip of green cotton.

The harp-like musical instrument known as a lyre was a popular decorative motif in nineteenth-century furnishings. The instrument appears in ancient Greek art, and the graceful motif was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with other designs from Greece, becoming associated with classical artistic achievement and democratic ideals. The lyre was also used in Masonic ritual and symbolism.

The quilt is said to have descended in the Moore family, longstanding residents of York County, Virginia, from the eighteenth century on.
Provenance:The quilt descended in owner's family, the Moores, longtime residents of York County, Virginia. See genealogy in object file.
Mark(s):"26" in black ink on reverse of backing (facing batting). The letter "G" stamped twice in red on reverse of backing.