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Maker(s):Redway, Electa
Culture:American (1793-1837)
Date Made:1812
Materials:textile: bleached (white) twill weave linen (warp) and cotton (weft) ground; white cotton embroidery
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Lanesborough
Measurements:overall: 102 in x 73 in; 259.08 cm x 185.42 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2009.14
Credit Line:Gift of Laura Wick Hallowell
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Cotton and linen whitework coverlet with three panels of cotton with a line warp and cotton weft (fustian twill) joined selvege to selvege and two rounded corners, which is embroidered in loops, knots, and loops in seed stitch with elaborate swags and floral patterns in thick cotton threads in a style known as "candlewicking" because of the thick thread's resemblance to a candle's wick, and a central oval panel inscribed "Electa Redway / Lanesborough / 1812." The coverlet is attributed to Electa Redway (1793-1837), the daughter of Joel Redway (1757-1837) and Hannah Clarke Redway (1787-1841) of Lanesborough, Masachusetts, a small town in the Berkshires. Electa probably purchased the fabric and cotton cording, and either embroidered it herself or with the help of female friends and family in preparation for her future life as a married woman. Long engagements in the early 19th century were not uncommon, suggesting that in 1812, Electra may have already been engaged to her future husband, Valentine Perry, who married on October 25, 1814. The coverlet is also embroidered with a cornacopia over a center footed basket with scrolling grapevines, flowers, and leaves, encircled by swags, bow knots and tassels, and a spiraling chain-like border around the bottom and sides edges. The period term for this kind of embroidery is "knotted counterpane" as found in a c.1854 Illinois reference by Gail Bakkom and referred to by former Winterthur textile curator and author, Susan Swan. White bed coverings, such as this example with white embroidery or surface design, are referred to as "whitework," and frequently appear on examples dating to the early 19th century. Although more difficult to keep clean, white domestic textiles, especially those made from cotton, could be easily laundered.

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