Quilt of the Month


August 2009

August 2009

Crazy Quilt
Maker unknown
Possibly made in Indiana
c. 1880-1890
71" x 70"
IQSC 1997.007.0234
Ardis and Robert James Collection of Antique and Contemporary Quilts
Fanciful Flowers: Botany and the American Quilt Exhibition

Oscar Wilde, Anglo-Irish playwright and proponent of the idea of "art for art's sake," was the most visible figure of the late-nineteenth-century Aesthetic Movement, which was concerned with the intentional artistic beautification of every surface and space of one's home. This quilt actually features an embroidered portrait of Wilde who, in 1882, took America by storm in a country-wide lecture tour, which was warmly received by some and ridiculed and scorned by others. He is depicted here in white thread on a blue background with flowing hair and a neckerchief.

All of the high-style quilts in the exhibition "A Fairyland of Fabrics: The Victorian Crazy Quilt," feature the melange of luxurious silk fabrics, ribbons, colors, textures, embellishments, and artistic and Oriental imagery championed by Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement. High-style Crazy quilts were consciously made as artistic objects to be prominently featured and appreciated in the home.