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Quilt, white eagle design stuffed work

1820-1855
Origin: United States
94" x 94" (238.8 cm. x 238.8 cm.)
Cottons stitched with cotton
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1981.609.2
Whitework quilt with stuffed and corded designs. The central motif is an American eagle with "E PLURIBUS UNUM" on a streamer in its mouth, with flaglike fields, a ship under sail, and stylized flower in the surrounding field. The middle wider border has stylized flowers and a large willow tree in each lower corner. The outside borders feature grapevines with full bunches of grapes. The outer four edges are finished with folded tirangles with tassels on both the points and in the hollows.

The quilting is achieved by stitching two layers of cotton fabric together into the pattern, then stuffing cotton batting and cords between the layers to create raised design motifs. There is no quilting between the designs on the ground fabric. The quilting stitches are running stitches, 10 to 12 per inch.
Label:The patriotic spread eagle at the center of this quilt holds in its beak a banner that reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” translated as “from the many, one,” the motto selected in 1776 to appear on the Great Seal of the United States. Two overflowing cornucopias below the eagle suggest America’s bounty and prosperity. The stylized flag has thirteen rosette flowers, probably a reference to the thirteen original colonies. The number of stars, or flowers in this case, depicted on a quilt or coverlet is not an accurate indicator of the date of a piece.

This white quilt was worked in the stuffed-work method, in which additional batting was inserted from the back to make the designs stand out in high relief.
Provenance:The quilt was found and purchased from an unidentified Michigan farm estate sale and sold by an unidentified dealer to Don and Faye Walters, Goshen, Indiana.
Mark(s):The banner held in the eagle's beak reads "EPLU/RIBUS/UNUM." A pennant flying from the stern of the ship above the eagle appears to be lettered "CMD."