COLLECTION: Quilts & Coverlets

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Woven Quilted Weave Coverlet by Unknown Maker

Origin: Great Britain, England, used in Virginia
92" square (234 cm) with 5" fringe on 3 sides
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1979-181
This is a square white bed coverlet or quilt of a type often called "Marseilles." The cover is loom woven full width, without a center seam, in a multi-layer technique with extra weft padding to imitate hand quilting. The design consists of a large centralized square, surrounded by wide and narrow borders. The center of the square has a sunburst within an 8-pointed medallion which has interlacing, curving sides. Four tulips form the center of the sunburst. Each corner of the central square has a pineapple growing from a flower pot. A narrow string of beads outlines the central square. The wide border contains stylized flowers and vases of flowers, circles, four pairs of birds facing each other and eating cherries, and curved star-like medallions in the corners. The narrow outermost border has a chain of anthemion and is separated from the wider border by a string of beads. A wide woven fringe with tassels is sewn to 3 sides of counterpane; the 4th side is rolled & hemmed.
Label:This white woven quilt was used in a Charlotte County, Virginia, family. Woven imitations of hand quilting were available in the eighteenth century and gained popularity for bed counterpanes in the 19th century. They were often referred to as "Marseilles quilts," named after the French center of fine hand quilting. "Marseilles quilting," probably of the woven variety, was imported to Norfolk by the company of Balfour & Barraud in 1766 (VIRGINIA GAZETTE, July 25, 1766).
Provenance:According to the original owner, the bed cover was used in Charlotte County, Virginia. It descended through the family of David Flournoy Morton. David Flournoy Morton (1816-1878) had a son also named David Flournoy Morton (b. 1870).