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Pieced Flying Geese Silk Quilt or Comforter

ca. 1852
Origin: America, New York, Brooklyn
OH: 98 1/2"; OW: 93" (250 x 236 cm)
Silks and cotton; silk ribbon
Gift of James and Janet Lusk
Acc. No. 2005.609.3
This is a rectangular quilt made of red, blue, and white silk triangles arranged in rows to form a variation of Flying Geese pattern. Tufts of the silk fabrics are used at points to tie the quilt together (no quilting stitches are used). The quilt is backed with a pink-and-white roller-printed cotton in a design of a subtle stripe with small paisley shapes on the striped line. It is bound with salmon-colored ribbon.
Label:This colorful pieced quilt or comforter is made up of red, blue, and white silk triangles arranged in rows to form a variation of the Flying Geese pattern. The layers are held together with tufts of the silk fabric. Jemima Parmalee Prentice, who created quilts throughout much of her life, made this quilt in her 80th year in 1852, for her son, James Hill Prentice (1817-1891), who was 35 and unmarried at the time. This is one of three quilts that descended through her family to her great-great-grandsons, who donated them to the museum.
Provenance:According to a paper label, the quilt was "Made for James Hill Prentice by his/ Mother [Jemima Parmalee Prentice] in the Eighteth [sic] year of her age/ Brooklyn N Y October 1 [?]th 1852". The quilt descended through the family of James Hill Prentice to Jemima Parmalee Prentice's great-great-grandson who donated it to the museum.

History of quilt maker:
Jemima Parmalee Prentice (1773-1865) was a remarkable woman distinguished for her intelligence, order, hospitality, and religion. Born February 23, 1773, in Newport, New Hampshire, to Ezra and Sybil Hill Parmalee, in 1794 she married Sartell Prentice, a merchant in the fur trade. Together they had eight children, two of whom died in childhood. She created quilts throughout most of her life. A small scrap of paper in her handwriting records the astounding number of eighty quilts that she made during her lifetime. Jemima Parmalee Prentice died in Brooklyn on November 19, 1865, at the age of ninety-two. The Reverend Dr. William B. Sprague described her in his funeral sermon as a woman “of great and retentive memory, of a godly life, taken from her Bible; a habit of private devotion that nothing interfered with, useful in life, endeavoring to imitate her divine Master and of strong faith, employing her musical powers on Watts’s hymns, to relieve despondency, and all to God’s glory.”