|blue resist detail c. 1760|
|wholecloth quilt, c. 1790, New England|
|parchwork quilt, c. 1800, Rhode Island|
Quilts, counterpanes, canopes, bed curtains, valences and bed rugs were all part of the bedroom decor in wealthy, colonial households. Fancy bedcovers included stuffed work, appliqué, embroidery and later, geometric patchwork.
|2012 "Quilts in the Baltimore Manner" exhibition at Colonial Williamsburg|
|an elegant Achsah Goodwin Wilkins counterpane, c. 1820s|
|1820s Achsah Goodwin Wilkins counterpane, donated to DAR Museum|
In her essay "Eye on Elegance, Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia" curator Alden O'Brien comments on the early traditions in American quiltmaking.
"...these bedcovers were the product of leisure time and affluence."
"Seasoned devotees of historical quilts know that the oft-repeated tale of quilting's having emerged from frugal necessity is erroneous. Yet it continues to be repeated.
"The quilts in this exhibit, representing typical designs that survive from the early 19th century, tell a different story. Constructed in intensely time-consuming techniques, from fabrics whose price per yard might exceed a servant's weekly wages, these bedcovers were the product of leisure time and affluence."
|early 19th century stuffed work quilt|