Friday, 14 September 2012

Antique Quilts at the American Museum

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post, and a huge welcome to my new followers!

Having promised you some photos of  the beautiful quilts on display at the American Museum of Britain following my visit, I was a little disappointed when I looked through them this morning and realised how few I took and how poor they are in terms of light and clarity.

I was too entranced by what I was seeing at the time to focus on getting get good pictures, and remember clicking away rather distractedly without thinking ahead as to how I might want to share them here with you!

So apologies for the poor quality  - most of the quilts were hung in large cases covered with plastic and then  "bound" like a book, so you turned the "quilt pages" to see the quilts - hence you could never really get a clear face-on shot, but always a side-on (as other people were turning the quilt pages as well you couldn't really open them up too wide!)

But hopefully you can get some idea of the wonderful designs, colours, variety and intricate detail of these beautiful antique quilts from America.

Where I have been able to, I have got information on some of these quilts from the book "More Quilts and Coverlets from the American Museum in Britain by Shelia Betterton" (sold in the Museum Shop), and have included that underneath the quilt photo.

Please feel free to share any info you may have about any of these quilts.

Applique Quilt - wonderful HUGE quilt (see first photo) made up of different appliqued blocks - this was one of my favourites. May also be an Album or Friendship Quilt where each block has been made and signed by a different person.

Wreath of Roses Quilt - 82" square
The Rose has always been a popular pattern for quilts, and this one shows the influence of the Turkey red dye which reached America in the 1820s. The quilting is simple and neat, an outline around the applique pattern and the background quilted diagonally.
This quilt is a nineteenth century one from Bucks Co., Pennsylvania.
(source: More Quilts and Coverlets)


Appliqued pineapples!


I think this design is called  "Around the World" ?


Star quilt 

Tumbling Blocks

Irish Chain Quilt - these tiny squares (above) are just 3/4 of an inch, and made up into 9-patch blocks, set with white to make a variation on the Irish Chain pattern. It has a wide border in pale pink, quilted in a cable pattern and backed in the same fabric. This is from Kentucky and was made in the 1930s.
(source: More Quilts and Coverlets)

Red work quilt - wonderful pictorial quilt, with beautiful embroidered pictures alternating in red on white and white on red - I love the "Cow jumped over the Moon" embroidery! 
Probably made for a child - lucky child!

wonderful applique animals quilt - another quilt likely to have been for a child.

Friendship Quilt - the centre of each block is signed by the sewer.

a rather blurred School House quilt

Bella sandwiched between two quilts!

Wood Block Quilt - from New York around 1800.
A pattern of birds, pineapples, stars, fruit and foliage block printed onto coarse homespun linen, probably by a talented amateur.
(Source: More Quilts and Coverlets)

view of the grounds of Claverton Manor, Bath, which houses the American Museum in Britain.

I still have a few more photos of the Museum to share, which I'll save for another post another day - this one's taken me long enough to prepare and is more than enough for you to read!

Sorry about the length and thank you for your patience - I hope you've enjoyed seeing the quilts!

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  1. Gill these are beautiful I love the red-work the best!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. The hours and hours that must have been spent on making those quilts. They are truly stunning.

  3. Hi Gill, aren't they gorgeous? I lean towards appliqued quilts myself. I love the first album quilt and the wreath of roses. Very inspiring, thank you for sharing with us. Love Linda x

  4. It's me again! I forgot to say how lovely your header is! So pretty! Love Linda x

  5. Amazing quilts, all those stitches, it's great that they have survived the test of time.
    I love the embroidered squares and all the little appliqued animals, I spotted a few rabbits in there!
    Happy weekend Gill,
    Vivienne x

  6. Oh I did enjoy seeing the quilts! How beautiful they all are. I kept thinking 'that's my favourite' but then an even prettier one came along!I love the schoolhouses and the red work quilt. Thank you for sharing. I need to go to that museum and see them in the flesh. xxx

  7. My goodness how impressive!
    Very very difficult to choose one I'd like best...nope just not possible they are all wonderful.
    I've been to Bath umpteen times but never been to this Museum tch!!!
    Next time!

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

  8. Thank you for sharing your photos of the quilts, they are incredible.
    Anne xx

  9. Wow! Thanks for posting all these pictures. It's amazing how wonderfully well made and beautiful these quilts are, despite not having the tools and fabrics that are available to us today. I really liked all those appliques animals!

  10. Love them! My husbands cousin is an expert quilter & she's made us two!! Do you quilt?

  11. Some really beautiful quilts there. They must be so well made to have stood the test of time.

  12. Well - I just loved this post - obviously!! And to think that I was in Bath a few years ago and did not know this was even there!! AAAgh! I shall make a special effort to go this Autumn! x Cathy.

  13. Great post Gill, loved the quilts
    Liv x


Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment - I love to read them!
Gill x