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Maker unknown
Provenance unknown
ca 1800
73" x 89"
Cotton with cotton filling
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

This bar quilt made from English chintz is one of the earliest quilts in the Michigan State University Museum collection. These fabrics, manufactured for home furnishings, have all the indicators of early block-printing techniques; poor registration, overlapping dyes, and pin registration marks. The blue and pink fabrics, with tiny dots in the background called "picotage," appear to be the same design, printed two ways. The large fabric pieces showcase floral, bird, and fruit designs. Starting with tan fabrics in the center, then blue on both sides, then yellow, tan and finally pink, the maker tried to use colors to mimic the vertical composition of the fabrics that were popular during this period. A handwritten label sewn in the upper right corner of the quilt reads "Mrs. C. E. Low, 35 Grace, Ct." and appears to be an inventory label, rather than a maker's signature. The quilt is tacked, not quilted.

By Beth Donaldson, excerpted from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum


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