Friday, September 30, 2011

Enormous 1840s Wild Goose Chase

Enormous 1840s Wild Goose Chase, Eastern United States
As if the wholecloth chintz quilt wasn't impressive enough, there was another quilt in the same package - an enormous 1840s Wild Goose Chase in red, white, and green. The quilt came from an eBay seller in Ohio, but a handful of quilt historians and I think it looks like a New Jersey quilt. One historian called it "sorta Delaware Valley" and another said it had that "dark, diagonal, no border New Jersey look" to it.

I wondered how I'd photograph this monster as it hung over my banister
The quilt measures a whopping 110" x 113" - the largest in my collection - and includes a dazzling combination of early red and green prints with solid white, which has aged to an off-white. The yellow has faded out of some of the green fabric, leaving behind a lovely blueish green. It appears as though the quilt had been exposed to water at times, as there are multiple water stains on the back.

There are water stains all across the back of the quilt

The red fabric is a small-scale print with white diamonds outlined in black
The green fabric is a small-scale over-dyed floral print
The binding is 1/4" straight grain, rolled from back to front
A friend asked why people thought it was a New Jersey quilt, and my response was that it reminded me of a lot of the quilts I've seen that were made in New Jersey in the 1840s. The quilts were very large, often without borders, often set on the diagonal, and were simply quilted, finely bound, elaborately pieced with geometric designs in simple color schemes such as red, white, and green - but white is not the predominant color.

All signs seem to point in that direction, but even though I believe it's likely to be from New Jersey, I'm designating its location of origin as Eastern United States. It's a biggie, and it's a beauty.