COLLECTION: Quilts & Coverlets

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Appliqued Eagle and Cherries Quilt

1875-1900
Origin: America, Pennsylvania (probably)
80" x 80" (203 x 203 cm)
Plain and printed cottons
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Foster McCarl, Jr.
Acc. No. 1979.609.10
This is a pieced and appliqued cotton quilt composed of red, white, grey, yellow and orange. A central red and gray star is surrounded by four eagles with spread wings. The fanned tails resemble peacocks, and their large combs resemble those of roosters. The lower part of the eagles bodies is shaped as a shield. The eagles are surrounded by an inner red sawtooth border with stylized flowers in the four corners, a second plain red border, and an outer border of yellow. The back is made up of alternating long strips of yellow with red calico and blue with white calico. The quilting pattern in 7-8 running stitches per inch consists of squares on point in the field and outer border, overlapping circles in the inner border of red, outline in the sawtooth border, and outline quilting around the appliques. The quilt is bound in a red cotton strip.
Label:Four large spread eagles are arranged symmetrically around a center medallion, creating an impressive, abstract quality in this appliqued quilt. Yet the eagles appear to have fanned tails like those of peacocks and rooster's combs on their heads. The final impression is one of delightful whimsy.

This design with four spread eagles holding branches or sticks of cherries in their beaks was a popular one in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, especially in Pennsylvania. The patriotic pattern was undoubtedly popularized by the 1876 centennial of America's independence. Scholars have suggested that a printed source, as yet unlocated, must have been available.
Provenance:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Foster McCarl, Jr. Beaver Falls, Pa.