COLLECTION: Quilts & Coverlets

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Framed Center Medallion Appliqued Quilt

1830-1845 (some earlier textiles)
Origin: America, Virginia, Petersburg
116 1/2" x 115" (296cm x 292cm)
Multicolor block- and roller-printed cottons and a white cotton backing
Acquired by Bargain/Sale from Mr. and Mrs. Philip Roper, Jr.
Acc. No. 1991-645
This is an almost-square quilt pieced and appliqued with floral and fruit motifs, using buttonhole stitches. The quilt is in a framed center medallion format, which consists of concentric squares of floral borders, centered by a printed basket of fruit and grain with bird. The border squares from the outside are: printed flowers (probably roller printed), not appliqued; narrow bands of brown and green vases of flowers; bold floral appliques; vases band; isolated floral bouquets; vases band; and center medallion of fruit and grain surrounded by four pineapple and fruit arrangements in corners. The quilt is backed in plain white cotton and has a thin batting. It is finished in such a way as to create a narrow stiff binding. A strip of white cotton is folded under on the front edge and turned to the back side and attached. A second line of stitching along the edge of the quilt creates a finished binding resembling piping. It is quilted with 10-12 running stitches per inch in chevron, or zigzag, patterns in the outer border and small diamonds and diagonal lines elsewhere except where the quilting pattern follows the contours of the appliqued flowers and fruit.
Label:This quilt is the product of professional quilters. Family tradition states that along with another quilt in the collection, it was commissioned from the Boyles by D'Arcy Paul (1793-1874) of Petersburg, Virginia. The Boyles were unmarried sisters residing on Pine Street in Petersburg who made their living making quilts and sewing. Written in ink on the backing is "B. Roper from grandmother E. Paul."
Provenance:According to family tradition, this quilt was made by the Misses Boyles for D'Arcy Paul (1793-1874) and Elizabeth Scrosby Cooke Paul (1794–1865) of Petersburg, Virginia. The Boyles were unmarried sisters living on Pine Street who made their living making quilts and sewing. A merchant, D’Arcy was a leading citizen of the town, serving as president of the board of directors for the Petersburg Female College. Family tradition states that D’Arcy commissioned the quilts from two unmarried sisters named Boyle who made their living stitching and selling quilts. Written in ink on the quilt backing is the inscription “B. Roper / from her grandmother / E. S. Paul.” Both quilts were given by Elizabeth to Elizabeth (“Bettie”) Paul Roper (1846–1912), her granddaughter. The quilt, along with 1991-644, descended in the Paul and Roper family of Petersburg, Virginia, until they became a partial gift to the museum.
Mark(s):Written in ink on backing: "B. Roper from her grandmother E. (L or S) Paul"; cotton tags sewn into corners reading "Mrs. B. Roper"