The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Medallions? Frame? What's in a name!

"Medallion" is a much prettier word than "frame" - a book with the title "Frame quilts" wouldn't have the same appeal.  I would buy either like a shot because I have always loved quilts with something in the middle.
However, I have decided that there are two other categories neither of which could be correctly described as Frame Quilts.

I have been searching hard on line for a nice example of a British Frame Quilt and chose this one -

I don't know much about it and I apologise to the person who took the picture because I have lost the reference.  It is well organised for a British Medallion and it looks as if it might have embroidery in the middle which was quite a popular thing to do. It has some interesting touches mixing applique with simple piecing.

Some of our earliest quilts can't really be described as Frames. What would you call the three below?

The Sundial Coverlet dated 1797
The Jane Pizar Coverlet - some confusion about this date but I think it is early 19th century
The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet is one of the earliest known dated patchworks, and is constructed in the mosaic patchwork tradition of piecing over papers. 

None of the above images are that great and I apologise but they at least give you an idea of the layout of these 18th and early 19th century quilts with a large focus block at its centre surrounded by a field of small blocks.

These  British coverlets are really sampler quilts with a "medallion" in the middle, perhaps a new category, Sampler Medallion?  The Jane Pizar is certainly the best design - it works beautifully with its three borders all well thought through, no - oh well let's just finish it off quickly here - which is a great temptation after such a mammoth piecing effort.  Though I adore the Sundial, I think it falls short in this respect.

Then the other category could be Mosaic Medallion such as the Elizabeth Chapman coverlet -

This is just a part of the Elizabeth Chapman coverlet (it's  very big) in the V&A Collect dated 1829

A great many Dutch quilt fall into this category too -

A fabulous old Dutch Quilt in the International Quilt Study Centre in Nebraska.  It's early - late 18th century I think?

Medallions are so fascinating I think I will be returning to this subject sometime!

Sorry about my above spacing issues, I have been chopping this piece about and Blogger doesn't like that!



Diane-crewe said...

I am a BIG fan of medallion type quilts xx

Jan said...

Medallions are a favorite of mine, too. These are some beautiful examples!

regan said...

These quilts are all so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

Great medallions Mary. I can't wait for the Cheltenham museum to open again so I can get up close and personal with the Jane Pizar quilt.
Maybe you could come up and have a look and after seeing it for real give your opinion on it.
I'll keep you posted on developments of when it's going to on view again.

antique quilter said...

these quilts are just amazing, I love medallion quilts and especially the Jane Pizar Coverlet and the Sundial coverlet I could look at for hours and always amazed at how you see different things/fabrics everytime you look at it.
thanks ,great post I know I will be thinking about medallions all day now!

Susan Briscoe said...

Quilts like the 1797 & 1718 coverlets would be mindboggling to make if they weren't created as medallions! I made a repro of a checkerboard in the V & A's collection which is a mosaic medallion and found there was a lot of subtle reflective and rotational symmetry in it. 'Medallion' does sound prettier than 'frame', but 'frame' is possibly a better description for those earlier quilts, where each round is quite separate from the next, as 'medallion' also includes the more kaleoscopic modern medalion quilts with quite a different effect. What do you think?

Little Welsh Quilts and other traditions said...

Thank you all - it's lovely to have comments again!

Sue - I would love to see the Cheltenham quilt and would be very glad if you would let me know when it is available for viewing.

Susan, I take my hat off to you or anyone making a repro. I do love that checkerboard one!

Jean said...

I love your analysis of the medallion style and had not thought that perhaps a new term is needed to adequately describe them! These are different from the obvious 'framed' styles but still central medallion. I like the mosaic medallion format. I just finished a framed medallion of 1840 repros....the top that is. I had a machine quilter baste it overall in 5" grid so I can start hand quilting. Wool batting - my first use of that. Love this style though it was a challenge to design.

Marjorie Horton said...

I love medallion quilts too. I think it's all the details that come together in med. quilts. Great pictures. The Sundial coverlet is one of my favorites.