Exhibitions/ Art Object


Ruth Culver Coleman (died 1801)
ca. 1760–75
Possibly made in Suffolk County, Sag Harbor, New York, United States
Linen and wool, embroidered
80 3/4 x 95 5/8 in. (205.1 x 242.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Sansbury-Mills Fund, 1961
Accession Number:
Not on view
This exceptional coverlet demonstrates that eighteenth-century American women decorated their homes with fashionable patterns adopted from faraway lands—even though they may not have fully understood the designs' heritages. The embroidered flora are undeniably exotic, especially the sinuous shaded blue blossoms along the border. Some motifs have several types of flowers emanating from a single stem—a common attribute of earlier Iranian and Turkish textiles. It is unlikely that the maker, Ruth Culver Coleman, who lived in a remote rural community on the eastern end of Long Island, had direct knowledge of her flowers' sources, but at the time this coverlet was embroidered, imported printed cottons featuring exotic designs from Middle Eastern lands were widely available and active shipping between Sag Harbor and New York City made them readily accessible.
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