Quilt of the Month


October 2007

October 2007

Hourglass
Maker unknown
Probably made in the Netherlands
c. 1795-1800
110" x 108"
IQSC 2007.005.0001

This medallion quilt is an important new addition to the international collection of the International Quilt Study Center. Most striking is the wealth of patterned cottons that document over eight hundred different designs of both Indian and French origin. In the late eighteenth century, when both Indian and French cottons were more widely available than previously, the technique of patchwork appeared and quickly gained popularity.

The multitude of different fabrics in this quilt reflects the socio-economic status of the maker. Many of the fabrics retain their original glazed surfaces, an indication that the fabrics were cherished and the quilt rarely used. Sewn in backstitch, each hourglass point is perfectly matched. The central and corner rosettes and the spiky stars are made in the reverse applique technique.

Found in Pennsylvania, the quilt was likely brought to America by a Dutch immigrant in the early nineteenth century. Its original rectangular shape was later altered to accommodate a four-poster bed; squares from both sides and part of the indented lower edge were removed and added at the bottom to create a flap.