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Medallion Quilt


Unknown American Maker (, - present)

Medallion quiltsare designed with a focal point at their center; in this example, a red octagon surrounded by large rosebuds. The colorful elements making up the rosebud medallion, geometric squares, and ribbon border were appliquéd by hand onto a contrasting background. The painstaking stitching needed to complete the bed covering made it a prized gift for newlyweds or infants. During the Victorian era (1837-1901) of floral symbolism, rosebuds stood for beauty, youth, and purity. The precise, regular layout of this quilt echoes the mid-nineteenth-century preference for well-ordered garden design. R. R. Reinagle described the ideal garden layout in The Gardener’s Magazine as straight or gently curving lines radiating from a center point—an ideal which was applied to quilting patterns by industrious American women. (Allure of Flowers)
Though the central rose in this Medallion Quilt appears to be appliqué, closer examination reveals that the rose is pieced. The open center of the quilt reveals the faint, nearly illegible inscription "Grandmother 1861." The Medallion Quilt and similar mid 19th century appliqué quilts were often given as gifts to brides, newborns, and departing friends, and, thus, had names and dates embroidered, inked, or quilted onto the surface. Today, they are highly prized for their sophisticated designs, precise needlework, and abundant quilting within their borders. (Bresler)

Place object was created: Baltimore, MD

cotton, wool thread

Measurements:    height: 43 inches    width: 43 inches    frame height: 49.25 inches    frame width: 48 inches

Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler 2001.38.7

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