Yesterday I was ready to leave the house when an auction alert arrived in my e-mail box. It was from Copake Auction, Inc., in New York and it was for a lot I saved through Live Auctioneers. The lot was a T-shaped bedcover with a chevron design made of print fabrics.
Every time an interesting quilt comes up at auction lately, I ask myself, "Do I really need it?" Of course, with more than 400 quilts in the collection I do not need another one, but there was something about this one.
The auction description did not have much information. It said the quilt was made around 1880. I think it could be older, but need to see it in person before I can say.
The quilt shares many similarities with another quilt in my collection, an "Orange Peel" or "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" from the 1830s, made in New England. I have a hunch the two quilts will have a similar feeling.
Dating fabrics can be a little tricky when considering 1830s vs. 1880s print fabrics in America. There were similar styles in the designs, and similar colors. I am studying Eileen Trestain's first "Dating Fabrics" book to see if there may be a clue. The fabrics and quilts of the 1830s and 1880s quilts share similarities. There were a lot of intricate, copperplate printed designs, darks and drabs.
Based on Trestain's book, the key to discerning between the two periods appears to be the specific combinations of colors seen in prints. We may never find the exact prints, but it's possible to find prints done with similar methods and colors. We'll see when it arrives. Stay tuned...