Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Coverlet, Wheel of Fortune pattern variation

ca. 1820
Cotton and wool, woven
104 x 104 in. (264.2 x 264.2 cm)
Credit Line:
The Sylmaris Collection, Gift of George Coe Graves, 1930
Accession Number:
Not on view
This Summer and Winter coverlet is woven of undyed cotton and dark blue wool in two panels and seamed at the center. It has natural woven fringe along the bottom border and applied woven fringe on the left and right sides.
The three most common types of non-Jacquard woven coverlets made in the first few decades of the nineteenth century are known as: "Overshot" (10.125.410), "Summer and Winter," and "Doublecloth" (1984.330.1). This Summer and Winter coverlet, dating from about 1825, is a fine example of its type. The origins of the name "Summer and Winter" are unknown, but it is assumed that it refers to the reversible nature of this cloth. Usually woven in dark-colored wool and undyed cotton, the finished coverlet is primarily dark on one side, light on the other. The term Summer and Winter could refer to the practice of turning over the coverlet when the seasons changed so that the dark side would be on top in the winter and the light side in the summer, or the name could have a more symbolic reference to the dark of winter and the light of summer, or perhaps it relates to both. The weave itself is very similar to an overshot weave (see 10.125.410); the only difference is that in the Summer and Winter type, the supplementary weft never passes over more than three warp threads at a time and thus produces a denser, more tightly woven fabric. Since Summer and Winter coverlets were generally woven on relatively complex looms with five or more harnesses, they were most likely the products of professional weavers.
[Peck 2015; adapted from Amelia Peck, "American Quilts & Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," 2007]
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