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Unknown Maker

Pieced Quilt (Nine Patch on Point)
ca. 1845 New York
calicoes, chintz, and fondu printed cottons; quilted in crosshatch
94 x 85 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia Smith Melton

Unusually bold and expressionistic, this New York quilt certainly would have dominated any bedroom in which it was used. Given the rather inelegant combinations of colorways and prints, it may well have been pieced by a young quilter—or by someone who delighted in clashing colors. In terms of fabrics, the patches in the blocks are cut from calicoes older than the aggressive—even brazen—setting squares.

Though it dates from the mid-1840s, this quilt harks back to earlier traditions in which the printed imagery of richly hued and densely pattterened fabrics—rather than the patchwork patterns they form—predoninated. The glazed chintz used for the whole-cloth border is certainly an older fabric, possibly from the 1830s, when chintz designers revived patterns that imitated woven tapestries.