COLLECTION: Quilts & Coverlets

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Quilt, cording and silk embroidery

1700-1725
Origin: England
OW: 88 1/2" x OL: 93 1/2" Face fabric consists of three panels, 29-30" wide, as quilted.
Linen, silk embroidery threads, cotton cording, wool interlining
Gift of Mrs. J. S. Frelinghuysen.
Acc. No. 1941-260
Rectangular quilt embroidered with yellow silk on white linen to form large areas of cord quilting, with additional areas of free embroidery. The design of the quilt shows scalloped-edge oval center medallion with four pendants; quarter medallions with pendant at corners of field, and a nine-inch wide border embroidered with Persian-like flower motifs in stem, split, satin, and buttonhole stitches with French knots. The ground portion of the coverlet is an all-over pattern of cord quilting forming twining stems, leaves, and flowers. This cord or raised quilting is done in parallel rows through which soft-twist cotton cord is drawn to achieve a raised design.
Label:Embroidered and Quilted Counterpane
England, 1700-1725
Linen, silk, and wool
Gift of Mrs. J. S. Frelinghuysen, 1941-260
Luxurious yellow silk embroidery and dense backstitched quilting give this linen counterpane the elegance appropriate to a fine English state bed, which would also have had full-length curtains of coordinating silk or embroidery. The quilt survives with matching pillow covers. The entire set was professionally designed and made.

The ground of the quilt is a lavish pattern of raised cord quilting in coiling stems, leaves, and abstracted flowers, all achieved by parallel rows of backstitches through which cotton cords were drawn from the back. Freely embroidered areas of the quilt were interlined with loosely woven wool for padding and stability; the wool was not used behind the cord-quilted areas, only behind the center medallion, quarter medallions, and borders. In the spaces between the embroidered motifs in the noncorded areas, parallel rows of yellow silk running stitches were worked through the top linen and the woolen interlining and pulled tight to gather up the ground fabric slightly.
Provenance:Coverlet and pillow covers were purchased by the donor, Mrs. J. S. Frelinghuysen, in St. Albans, England, and were said to have been exhibited for many years at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.