This dark blue wool and undyed cotton double cloth crib or doll coverlet is woven in one panel. Although the piece is meant to be displayed with the two R + B blocks at the foot, it is woven sideways. The natural fringes on the left and right sides are the ends of the cut warp threads. The animal and floral motifs are typical of Haring's work.
David D. Haring (1800-1889) is the best documented of the New Jersey coverlet weavers. The Museum owns three coverlets from the Bergen County area where Haring worked: one signed by him (1988.127), one made by a weaver familiar with Haring's work, or perhaps even trained by him (1982.366), and this example that is attributed to him (1989.30). Haring was born in New Jersey and was a member of a large extended Dutch family that settled in the Bergen County area in the eighteenth century. His work and that of the few other known Bergen County weavers of the period differ in appearance from the coverlets produced during the same years by New York and Pennsylvania weavers. Bergen County coverlet motifs, which are derived from a combination of traditional Dutch designs and symbols of the new American Republic, are quite distinctive, and the coverlets are always double cloth in structure. In addition, it seems that they were woven in only two color variations: dark indigo blue wool and undyed cotton (or occasionally undyed linen) or, in the case of the less common all-wool coverlet, dark and light blue indigo-dyed wool. Haring was the most prolific coverlet weaver in the area, and it is probable that the other weavers who adopted his characteristic motifs either wove with him in his workshop or were trained by him and then went out on their own. The best-known weavers of related coverlets are I. Christie (whose early pieces are practically identical to Haring's) and Nathaniel Young. Unsigned coverlets from the years between 1830 and 1837 have been attributed to Haring. Among them is this rare crib-size coverlet. Marked with the initials "R. B.", it was acquired from a descendant of Rachel Blauvelt (1818-1896), another cousin of David D. Haring, who, according to family history, was the coverlet's original owner. Her descendants assumed that it had been made to celebrate Rachel's birth in 1818, but all documented coverlets of this type were woven in the 1830s. Although this coverlet most closely resembles the coverlets woven by Haring in the early 1830s, it is tempting to surmise that it was made as a wedding gift when Rachel married Peter T. Haring on May 4, 1838. It has also been theorized that because of the coverlet's diminutive size (31.5 x 30.25 inches) and somewhat awkward composition, it may have been made as a plaything for Rachel at an earlier date, perhaps as a covering for her dolls. [Peck 2015; adapted from Amelia Peck, "American Quilts & Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," 2007]