COLLECTION: Quilts & Coverlets

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Adam and Eve Appliquéd Quilt

ca. 1891
Origin: America, Probably Pennsylvania
82 1/2 x 67 5/8" (209.3 cm. x 171.8 cm.)
Plain and printed cottons with cotton embroidery threads
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Foster McCarl, Jr.
Acc. No. 1977.609.1
This is a rectangular bedcover composed of nine appliqued blocks with designs that include large flowering branches and pots of flowers, trees, birds, animals, and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all worked in faded tan, reds, blues, and yellows on a ground of plain weave white cotton. The applique pieces consist of a variety of solids, plaids, prints, and stripes. Some edges were turned under and secured with overcast stitching and others have raw edges exposed and secured with blanket stitching. The backing is four pieced strips of a coarser, plain weave white cotton whose selvages, where intact, measure 30-inches. The 1/4-inch binding is a solid red cotton (except for a 15 1/2-inch long strip at top right where a tan cotton was substituted). The quilt was quilted by hand in white thread at about fourteen stitches per inch in triple diagonal lines throughout the background and in outline stitching within the appliqued motifs. Embroidered details consist of blanket and chain stitches and couched short lengths of thread.

Stitches: blanket, chain, couched
Label:The maker of this quilt combined nine large appliquéd rectangles into a charming, unified design of fruit trees, potted flowers, birds and domestic animals, and scenes. The most prominent vignette shows Adam and Eve, wearing calico aprons instead of fig leaves, beneath a tree entwined with the tempting serpent. Above, animals cavort beneath another fruit tree, with potted flowering vines on which twin eagles perch.

The existence in a private collection of an almost-identical quilt with a date of 1891 suggested a similar date for this example.
Provenance:Acquired by AARFAC's donors in the West Virginia-Pennsylvania-Ohio border area; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Foster McCarl, Jr., Beaver Falls, Pa.
The maker of this quilt is unidentified.