Monday, January 23, 2012

Center Medallion Panel Quilts

Early in the nineteenth century printed center medallion panels for quilts became popular. These were manufactured throughout the first few decades of the century, and were widely used in quilts and other needlework projects. Some of the medallion panels celebrated military victories and America's newfound Liberty, but others were ornate decorative designs of fruit and flowers often in vases or urns that fitted with the trend for dense fabric patterns and bright colours.

The particularly large example at the center of this quilt was probably printed in England the 1800's  at a time when the surrounding prints would also have been highly fashionable in middle class homes.
Quilt of printed cottons with center medallion square. Circa 1830s. In the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The center medallion panel shows a basket of fruit on a white ground. This is surroundedby nine patchwork borders of varying widths, including a border of hexagon rosettes, and a border in the design now known as 'flying geese'. Most of the printed cottons date to the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The quilt which was most likely made in England has a reverse of hand-woven white linen and is quilted in a herringbone pattern. The initials 'A.E.W' are worked in cross stitch in the upper left-hand corner, and the initials 'I.K' in the lower right - were these the women who worked on the quilt or was this a Mother's gift for a daughter who had married and moved away?

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