Phenomenal Original Pomegranate Tulip Vine 1860s Antique Quilt 12-15spi
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Phenomenal Original Pomegranate Tulip Vine 1860s Antique Quilt 12-15spi:
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ust a thrilling and really original piece of early American folk art, this spectacular quilt alternates on-point blocks of willowy, branching versions of Pomegranate and Tulip motifs.
That pairing already feels unique, but from there the inventive twists just keep building. The blocks are arrayed in three columns and running between these are wide, airy vertical sashing strips, slender blossoming vines meandering up them.
Riffing off the little flowing rose details from the vines, the open white, framing half-blocks are lightly strewn with occasional tiny Turkey Red buds.
Finally, the design detail that really sends this confection right over the top is the lushly detailed border just lavished with pointy little angular leaves and folky flat colored blooms. That frame of such density and lush growth is a beautiful counterpoint to the unusually delicate flavor of the center, with its huge dose of lushly quilted open white space.
Meanwhile, the quilting is positively spectacular, expert, lush and dazzlingly dense and fine. This seriously memorable quilt was originally collected in Ohio with no further provenance and has been in private hands for about 30 years. I estimate its origin to around the 1860's.
The quilt measures about 77 x 91 inches. The blocks run about 13 inches square with slender stems only about 1/4 inch wide, the vertical sashing 5 1/2 inches wide and the vines in the borders about 1/2-inch wide with its tiniest stems as narrow as 1/8 inch wide.
The hand-quilting is breathtaking, with 12-15 astonishingly little stitches to the inch, counting on the top side of the quilt only. This is some of the finest hand-quilting you could ask for, machine-like it is precision and fineness and visually thrilling in the different details she lavished on each section.
The blossoms and pomegranates are lavishly echo-quilted with lines as close as 1/8 inch apart. Then these white backgrounds, like those of the long sashing columns are quilted in with a dense scant-3/8-inch square grid. The large triangular setting blocks have some of the crispest, most perfectly circular orange-peel rings you could hope to see. Finally, the borders are overall quilted with strikingly crisp, miniature hanging diamonds on just a 3/8 to 1/2-inch scale.
Hand-pieced and exquisitely hand-appliqued.
Backing, Binding & Batting
The backing is a crisp white solid, a very strong, starchy, tight weave of cotton. It just has tiny dark brown spots scattered mostly through the borders.
The narrow straight-grain binding is invisibly machine-stitched to the front, rolled and hand-stitched tight on the reverse. It's in good, strong condition with only some staining and minor instances of edge-thinning and wear.
The batting is thin and completely even.
The early quilt's condition is strong, sturdy, supple and clean but up close it has many small flaws. I've pictured these in copious detail and I think that gives the most complete picture, but in basic overview, you will find:
- heavier sun-fading and some tiny dye issues at the upper left corner
- heavier surface wear, fading and staining along the top edge (including two narrow little splits where the background fabric has thinning, hidden right along the binding and measuring 1/4 x 3 inches and 1/8 x 3 inches)
- heavier sun-fading in the border at the lower left corner and traces of some tiny brown spots coming through from the reverse
- large, lighter water stains all along the left edge
- a couple smaller traces of light water staining within the body of the quilt
- scattered teeny flecks of dark brown throughout, often with fabric thinning as if caused by some batting debris
- some small spotting around the corner right block
- some fabric thinning on the blossom fabrics in the borders and on just a single tulip within the blocks
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