Quilt Notes

Dated Examples of 18th Century Quilts

Quilt Historian, Barbara Brackman, has compiled this list of early date-inscribed patchwork quilts attributed to America. It's interesting to see why types of pieced quilts were made during this early period. We thank her for providing this information copyright free.

Note that most of the examples below are medallion style quilts. Quilts made from blocks set in rows throughout the quilt were not common until the mid 19th century.

177_ Block, pieced Star, applique dogtooth, swag & basket border
R Porter. American Museum in Bath. Shiela Betterton, Quilts and Coverlets from the American Museum in Britain (Bath, England: The American Museum, 1978), page 51.

1783 Central focus but block style with variety of pieced and appliqued stars
Deborah Wilson. Daughters of the American Revolution Museum #60.56

1785 Central focus with pieced wheel center, appliqued hearts, broken dishes borders
Anna Tuel, by her mother. Wadsworth Atheneum.

1786 Block, Nine Patch, strip border
Elizabeth Bowman Nace, Heritage Center Museum of Lancaster Co.

1787 Medallion, crewel emb. center, pieced star & sawtooth borders
Rachel Mackey. 1988 Sotheby's Auction.

1793 Medallion applique tree of life center, pieced geese and appliqued bow knot and swag borders
Mary Johnston. Winterthur Museum. Patsy and Myron Orlofsky, Quilts in America (New York: McGraw Hill, 1974) Figure 34.

1795 Medallion, cut out chintz center, diamond stars, bowknot borders.
Jane Warwick Gatewood, Fawn Valentine, West Virginia Quilts and Quiltmakers, page 20.

1795 Medallion reverse applique w/ pieced borders
M. Campbell.Smithsonian Institution.

1795 Medallion with crewel emb. center , broken dishes borders
Mary Jones. Quilt Engagement Calendar, 1988, plate 52.

1796 Medallion, plain fabric center, squares and rectangles in borders
E W(ebster). Gloria Seaman Allen, "Bed Coverings: Kent County Maryland, 1710-1820," Uncoverings 1985 (Mill Valley, CA: American Quilt Study Group, 1986) page 25.

1797 Medallion, applique center with stars and dogtooth borders
Hannah John. Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts. Maine issue.

1798 Medallion, crewel emb. center, stars and melon shaped blocks in borders.
Ann Taylor. Gloria Seaman Allen, First Flowerings: Early Virginia Quilts (Washington DC: D.A.R. Museum, 1987). Page 30.

1798 Medallion Star Center, pieced sawtooth and chained square borders
Magdellan Howell Davis, Maumee Valley Historical Society, Maumee, Ohio. Pictured in Quilts at Meadowbrook Hall catalog.

While pieced quilts, especially medallion style quilts, were made many quilts from this time period were whole cloth. These were seamed down the middle once or twice based on the loom width. These wholecloth quilts were sometimes appliqued while others were left plain so that the quilting of the three layers became the decorative focus.