Honeycomb Quilt

Maker: Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson (1771–1852)

Date: ca. 1830

Geography: Made in New York, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Cotton

Dimensions: 107 5/8 x 98 1/4 in. (273.4 x 249.6 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. Moore, 1923

Accession Number: 23.80.75


Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson made this quilt from hundreds of small hexagonal pieces of fabric. It is the earliest wholly pieced American quilt in the Museum's collection. Although pieced quilts were popular in England in the eighteenth century, the technique did not catch on in America until the nineteenth century, as increased leisure time made quiltmaking more popular and small patterned printed cottons were less expensive to work with than English chintzes. The quilt was made in a pattern known as Honeycomb. The multicolored hexagons are sewn together with whipstitching. Elizabeth Clarkson probably made the quilt as a wedding present for her son Thomas in about 1830.