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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:English (probably)
Title:coverlet
Date Made:ca. 1715
Type:Bedding
Materials:textile: linen and cotton twill; wool, silk
Place Made:United Kingdom; England (probably)
Measurements:overall: 38 1/4 in x 42 in; 97.155 cm x 106.68 cm
Accession Number:  HD F.097
Credit Line:Mrs. Helen Geier Flynt
F-97t.jpg

Description:
Small coverlet or crib coverlet with wool and silk embroidery in pinks, brown, beige, blue, yellow, black and white on a linen (warp) and cotton (weft) bleached twill ground. The coverlet has "1715" chain stitched in center and the initials "MC" cross stitched in the center on opposite sides sides of a large, embroidered tudor rose; and "M. Lewis" stamped in ink in two corners. This coverlet is similar to a christening blanket made by Mary Fifield around 1712 in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where the fabric was bought in England with the design already marked on it and then worked in New England. The embroidered decoration on Historic Deerfield's example, mostly in chain stitch, includes a black man holding a palm leaf and a black woman smoking a pipe, two geese, and stylized floral sprays. Depictions by Europeans of persons native to the Americas commonly included the smoking of pipes, but the inclusion of this activity for the black woman shown on this coverlet remains a mystery. It is possible that both she and the man are slaves. It does not appear that this coverlet was cut down from a larger one, as the scale of the embroidered designs are consistent with other English examples. Many surviving English crib coverlets that resemble this example have mock quilting, or false quilted, in the background; however, Historic Deerfield's does not. The coverlet has been backed at some later date with more modern bleached, plain-weave linen, and the edges have been bound with matching (faded) maroon wool braid.

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