English Medallion Quilt
It always amazes me that some quilts become so well-known that they actually become fiber celebrities. A case in point is an English medallion quilt with appliqued baskets surrounding a field of mosaic pieced hexagons and stars.
I first saw this quilt late 2007 when it was being offered on the Christie’s London Auction website. I almost fell off my chair with deep fiber envy and was actually seriously considering digging deep to find the money for it. Just imagine, an English applique in a medallion format. This was just my kind of quilt! I even when as far as to call the auction house to get further information about its condition as well as some close up photos. (To see the original auction description, go to: www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5018313)
Well, the photos were disappointing and I never got a real good idea what the condition was so, I abandoned the idea thinking I’d never see the quilt again, alone get to see good photos of all the blocks. Oh…was I wrong! Not only was this my kind of quilt, but it appears to be a lot of other folk’s idea of one great textile; this coverlet has become the lastest phenom of the quilt world. Don’t ask me how it made it from the auction house to the hands of Karey Bresenhan, because I haven’t a clue. But, she generously showed it to the world at the International Quilt Festival held in Chicago this past April. And from there…the rest is history. Information on the quilter has long been lost, but her design has captured the hearts of quilters around the globe some 200 years later.
You may have already seen photos of this quilt, but I thought it would be helpful to pull some of these resources together in case you missed one. Of note are the photos that Vicki posted on her blog What a Load of Scrap (whataloadascrap.blogspot.com/). She gives us a complete set of the applique blocks, noting their location. Thanks Vicki…you know what us appliquists really want. There are also photos that show more of the non-applique and mosaic bits on Taryn’s blog, Repro Quilt Lover (http://reproquiltlover.blogspot.com/2010/04/19th-c-folk-art-chicago-3.html).
On Tara Lynn’s Sew Unique Creations blog you can see closeups of the fabrics used in the quilt as well as the exhibit description signage. You may note that what was described by Christie’s as a mid-19th century quilt has been re-dated at c. 1800 (which may be more appropriate). (http://www.sewuniquecreationsblog.com/2010/04/wow-2-back-to-back-quilt-shows.html)
On Susi’s blog Susis Quilts (http://susisquilts.blogspot.com/2010/04/top-border-is-finished.html) you’ll see the reproduction she’s made. It’s truly an amazing amount of work given the short time since it was first exhibited. And, it looks* so* much like the original.
Virginia Cole from the Galloping Pony Studio (//gallopingpony.com/Digital%20Patterns.htm) has come up with a little wall hanging pattern inspired by the quilt which you can download for a modest fee. It’s really a cute, quick project that includes all the major elements without having to take a year to complete the project.
And, finally, I have it on good authority that the quilt is in a recent issue of Quilt Mania magazine. Since I haven’t yet seen a copy, I can’t really say which issue. So, if anyone out there knows, please let me know so that I can track down a copy.
I’m sure that this is only the beginning for this quilt’s celebrity. I would imagine that we will soon see derivatives and quilts inspired by this fanciful design. Who knows, some ambitious designer might be presenting patterns at tomorrow’s opening of Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. One can hope. And, I know that I’m not alone when I say that I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the perfect brown background fabric!
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