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Appliquéd Quilt Square

1849
Origin: America, South Carolina, Beech Island
14 3/8" x 14/ 3/8"
Plain and printed cottons
Gift of Ms. Jane Miller Wright.
Acc. No. 2002-73,4
This is an appliqued quilt block or square (one of 25) worked in the "Broiderie Perse style", appliqued with chintz fabric. The design consists of a flower garden scene. A Chinese man with a pole is harvesting a pod from a branch. A female figure is seated nearby; there is a basket at her feet. In the center is an urn and perched on top is a parrot that appears to be tethered by the female. Fluttering overhead is a butterfly. The flowers are roses, lotus blossoms and leaves. The colors are reds, greens, blues, whites and browns. The square is hemmed.
Label:This is one of twenty-five quilt blocks, which were cut out and appliquéd from floral and bird printed cottons and intended to be a finished album quilt. The edges of the appliquéd motifs were turned to the reverse and slip-stitched in place. Probably made by a group of friends and/or relatives, the squares carry inked dates of 1848, 1849, and 1850 and signatures with the names of men and women from families that were concentrated primarily in Aiken County, South Carolina, and Richmond County, Georgia, located adjacent to each other on the state border. Place names include “B. Island” (probably Beech Island, South Carolina), “Augusta, Ga.,” “Milledgeville, Georgia,” and “Charleston, South Car.” The exact relationships among all the signers of the quilt squares are unknown, though some are siblings. The squares descended in the Clarke family.
Provenance:This is one of twenty-five quilt squares probably intended, if completed, as an album quilt for Mary B. Clarke before her marriage to David H. Porter in 1855. According to her great-granddaughter, Mary was the daughter of Samuel Clarke and the sister of Caroline and Sarah Clarke, whose names appear on the quilt squares. The quilt squares along with a casket engraved “Daisy” descended through the family line of Mary’s daughter Jane (b. ca. 1861). Daisy (b. ca. 1866) was one of Jane’s younger sisters. The squares descended in the Clarke family until they were given to Colonial Williamsburg in 2002.
Mark(s):Marked in pencil on reverse of square is the number "14".