Quilt of the Month


May 2006

May 2006

English Rose variation
Made by Olive McClure Cook
Made in Anna, Illinois
c. 1939
88" x 86"
IQSC 1997.007.0669
Ardis and Robert James Collection of Antique and Contemporary Quilts
Perfecting the Past: Colonial Revival Quilts Exhibition

The Colonial Revival movement had a strong impact on American decorative arts in the early twentieth century. It influenced architecture, furniture, and textiles, including quilts. Americans living in the modern era, with its new ideas and technology, faced a lifestyle that was filled with constant change and uncertainty. They embraced the Colonial Revival's portrayal of the colonial era as a simple and noble time. Americans drew strength from their national heritage in order to face the uncertain future.

The English Rose variation is a modern interpretation of a traditional four-block style quilt. The maker, Olive McClure Cook, was born in 1862 and would have been aware of traditional four-block quilts in the nineteenth century. Cook made her quilt in 1939 in Anna, Illinois only six years before her death in 1945. Though Cook was an older woman when she worked on this quilt she incorporated modern elements of design, including a scalloped border along three edges, bright red, yellow, pink, and green sateen fabrics, and stylized flowers that show the individual style of the maker. This quilt infuses traditional elements of the past with modern tastes, and is an example of how Colonial Revival quilts were a mixture of progress and nostalgia.