Today's Quilt Historians
Women at Work
New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert,
Review by Kimberly Wulfert, PhD
Telltale Textiles: Quilts from the
by Lynne Z. Bassett
"Telltale Textiles," the
exhibit catalogue for the quilt exhibit held at Historic Deerfield in the summer
2004, was a pleasure to read and a great deal of quilt history is packed into 40
pages! What it lacks in large pictures of the quilts, is made up for by
excellent close-up shots that show the quilting patterns and textile prints.
This is particularly important, since many of the quilts were whole-cloth or whitework, where quilting makes the quilt! There are small photos of quilts in
period rooms at HD, which is a
But the text is the best part and
reason to buy this booklet in my opinion. Lynne Z. Bassett provides so much
detail in a brief space, about the early quilt styles, fashions, and design
influences, here and abroad. These worked hand in hand, and she points this out
throughout and provides pictures of decorative arts and furnishings to
supplement the text.
This will be a reference book for
sure. And it won't take a ton of time to go through. The chapters name the
style of quilt discussed. The names are catchy and my favorite is, "Woman
Power to Water Power," which discusses what else, but the industrial
revolution's impact on textile production. In fact, many of the quilts and
topics discussed in the catalogue were topics on Quilt History List (online discussion group) this past year, such as:
what makes glazing on wool
quilt history myths
costs of early calicos in
Marseilles and whitework quilts
Is it a wool whole-cloth or
There were some great quotes and
figures from 18th and 19th century records and diaries. I'll share one that
that stood out for me, as it's from 1843. In "The House Book," Eliza
Leslie writes, " Patch-work quilts of old calico are seen only in inferior
chambers; but they are well worth making for servant's beds. The custom of buying new calico to cut into various ingenious figures, for what was called
handsome patchwork, has become obsolete."
I didn't know patchwork became
obsolete in 1843, and thank goodness there were other's who didn't read her
book either! I wonder if it was this kind of thinking that contributed to
appliqué quilts being especially popular from 1840-70.
The catalogue is only available through Historic Deerfield Museum store: Museumstore@historic-deerfield.org
Book publishers and authors: if you would like your book reviewed on this
Website, and it falls within the scope of topics, please
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My Book Reviews
© 2004 - 2016 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use
of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.
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