English influence is evident in chintz appliqué quilts made in America. The center medallion composition and the use of pictorial appliqué were both typical of eighteenth century English quiltmaking traditions. In addition, the majority of fabrics used in these quilts were printed in England.
The tree of life motif is universally recognized as a symbol of healing, immortality and protection. It became fashionable when Indian palampores - printed and painted cotton textiles for bed coverings and bed hangings - were imported to Europe beginning in the seventeenth century. The tree of life was the favored quilt design of American quiltmakers from approximately 1775 to the 1820s.
Click images below to view larger and read more information about some of the quilts included in the exhibit.