Stuffed and corded crib quilt

probably English

Not on view

The initial impression of simplicity conveyed by this elegant, monochromatic coverlet belies the intense skill and virtuoso technique demanded of its creator, probably a talented, female amateur, creating functional decoration for her own home. Historically described as “whitework,” this is a whole-cloth quilt (as opposed to a pieced or “patchwork” quilt). It is distinguished by a total absence of colored pigment: instead, the decorative and figurative design is achieved on a bleached white support via quilted stitching, with additional relief created by highlighting and shadowing by inserting cords between layers of support. Requiring considerably more skill and dexterity to stitch than pieced quilts, works like this were conventionally regarded in Europe as more subtle and tasteful than patchwork pieces. Likely of 1830s’ production, when whitework stuffed and corded quilting was particularly popular in Britain and North America, its lusciously chunky and heavy design with abundant cornucopias and trusses of deep, well-rounded grapes is very characteristic of this period. Bearing the inscription in cording “Deborah Ann Finch”, this cot quilt was probably made to celebrate the infant’s birth.

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