Quilt top (unfinished)
Overall: 28 x 28 x 1/4 in. ( 71.1 x 71.1 x 0.6 cm )
Whole pieced unfinshed quilt top of an all-over "honey-comb" patchwork design surrounding a "compass" or "wheel" central medallion motif within a hexagonal block, consisting of hexagonal, triangular, and diamond-shaped pieces; each piece lined with paper, held together by whip-stitching around the perimeter of each hexagon and basted onto hexagonal "honeycomb" paper patterns. Fabrics appear to all be vegetable-dyed two- and three-color roller-printed cottons made in England in the early nineteenth century.
Honeycomb quilts, made up of hundreds of small hexagonal pieces organized around a central wheel, were popular in England and caught on in America in the 1830s. This quilt top was made according to the time-consuming method described in Godey's Lady's Book in 1835, in which each tiny hexagon patch was formed over a template of stiff paper in the same shape. This quilt's paper templates, cut from old letters, bills, and copybook pages, are visible beneath each hexagon of the unfinished top. According to the donor, this quilt top was made by her great-grandmother, Maria Cooper Pillow (b. 1762) of Canterbury, England. Her granddaughter, Eliza Pilcher, married John Vaché Cox in New York City in 1844. The dating of this quilt is based on its two and three color vegetable dyed, roller-printed fabrics of small geometric prints and glazed chintz. In addition, it incorporates an all-over honeycomb pattern, a common quilt design of the period before repeat designs became popular.
Gift of Isabella Vaché Cox
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.