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Bed Quilt, Hewson Panel

ca. 1830
Origin: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (center)
106" x 108”
Cottons, block printed and plain
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2016-84
Almost-square bed quilt pieced from printed cottons in a framed center-medallion arrangement. At the center is a block-printed panel with an elongated footed vase surrounded by flowers, birds, and butterflies. The center panel is bordered with concentric textile bands of diamond piecing in white and printed cottons, alternating with strips of darker-ground printed cottons. Quilted with running stitches through cotton batting and a backing of white plain-woven cotton in a pattern of chevrons, square grids, and undulating “feathers” or vines.

Center Panel: John Hewson
Quiltmaker: Unidentified
Label:The center of this quilted bed cover can be identified as the work of John Hewson by the survival of a bedcover in the Philadelphia Museum of Art with an identical vase and bird center panel, described in Hewson’s will as “One full Chintz bed spread of my own making.” (PMA Acc. # 1930-100-1.) John Hewson Sr. (1744-1821) and his son, John, were important figures in the history of early American textile printing. Trained as a textile printer in Britain, the elder Hewson immigrated with his family to Philadelphia in 1773 and advertised in 1774 that he was ready to carry on the business of printing “patterns for printing calicoes and linens for gowns, &c.” Hewson offered his goods as far away as New York, where he advertised “…bed and window curtains, coverlids for beds &c….also a neat assortment of patterns for printing of handkerchiefs, janes, nankeens, velverets for Gentlemen’s waistcoats and breeches, &c.” The goods could be ordered from and delivered to Thomas Nixon, a merchant in New York. John the son carried on the printing business following his father’s retirement in 1810; the firm continued under John Jr. until about 1824.
Provenance:Unidentified owner; Amy Finkel; Patricia and Don Herr.