Pieced and stenciled, cotton quilt with white cotton squares stenciled with pink roses, the blocks set on point and sashed with strips of the same cotton stenciled with a design of green fronds with pink flowers, and trimmed on three sides with a scalloped, fishnet fringe which may have been added later; three-piece, plain weave, off-white cotton backing; and no batting. The outlines of the squares are quilted with white cotton thread in a trailing leaf design with a quilted rosette at the joining of each set of four blocks. The resemblance of this quilt to a stenciled quilt owned by Alice Wells (see below made by Sarah Ann Dewey Allen (1814-1846) of North Hero, Vermont, who married Reuben Clapp Allen (1814-1898) in 1841, has led to its attribution to her sister-in-law, Lucretia Allen Marvin (1818-1904) who married David Marvin (1813-1903) in 1845. Family tradition states that Lucretia had similar quilts and that both Lucretia and her sister Celinda Allen helped Sarah make hers. A note from Alice Wells in 2002 regarding her quilt stated: "This is what my husband's grandmother [a descendent of the maker] wrote about this quilt. This quilt was made by Sarah Ann Dewey (Mrs. Reuben Clapp Allen) and her husband's sisters. She died in 1846, leaving her husband and 2 of her 3 sons. In 1896, we found the brown pasteboard which had been cut to make a stencil and tubes of paint such as used in painting pictures. According to 'History of Deerfield: Vol II Geneologies' pg. 14, Mrs. Enoch Allen Sr. removed from Ashfield, Mass. to Grand Isle in 1795, with 7 of her children. Our branch of the family had moved to Ashfield, Mass, where Enoch (4) gr.gr.gr. Grandfather was killed by the Indians. (Deerfield raid in which Enoch's brother, Samuel (4) was carried captive to Canada.) Reuben Clapp Allen was son of Joel Allen, son of Enoch. It is possible the quilts are related; they may have been in the same family or soneone in the family may have seen the one you have, and copied the idea." The art of stenciling was practiced extensively during the early decades of the 19th century. Homes were decorated with stenciled walls and floors, and furniture was enhanced with birds, flowers, and cornacopias overflowing with fruit. Theorem painting, which entailed stenciling still lives on velvet or silk, was a favorite activity for students at academies for young girls. Stenciled household textiles were fashionable in the second quarter of the 19th-century, primarily in New England and New York; almost all stenciled quilts and coverlets have been dated between 1820-1840. The paints used for stenciling had to be carefully prepared. Pigments were ground to a fine powder or prepared by combining vegetable or mineral matter wtih chemicals such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, or mercury. Gum water was added to control the spread of the paint on the fabric's surface. The stencils were generally cut from paper that had been stiffened and made translucent by applications of turpentine or linseed oil, or on cloth dipped in beeswax. Professionally designed and cut stencils were available by the mid 1830s. Each color required a separate stencil and brush, and the base fabric must have been stretched taut in order to ensure the clear definition of each motif. In this example, pink roses are stenciled on square, separated by sashing that is stenciled with leafy vines and more pink flowers. The design creates a wholecloth effect, though it is pieced.
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