[Note 1] The exhibition centered on the Anna Tuels Quilt (Fig.
1—[click on second figure within link])* in the museum’s permanent collection, and focused on quilts with an ownership history.
It was common practice among teenaged girls of the era to create quilts and other linens in preparation for their future marriage and establishment of a new home.
The North American colonies followed the tastes of Europe, and this is reflected in early eighteenth-century North American quilt production.
The quilt measures 86 x 81 inches, roughly the size of a double bed.
A circular pieced medallion enclosed in a square is in the center, a pattern that many see as a precursor to the Dresden Plate block that was highly popular in the 1920s and 1930s.It also seeks to answer the question posed by the Wadsworth Atheneum curators—who was Anna Tuels? Visual Aspects The Anna Tuels Quilt is the earliest surviving medallion patchwork quilt to have been created in the United States.The curators of the Wadsworth Atheneum have assumed that it was produced in Maine, where it was found, though, as will be discussed below, it was most likely created in Marshfield, Massachusetts.This pattern is called the Yankee Puzzle, today also known as the Hourglass or Bowtie square.More appliquéd hearts are seen at each corner of the quilt’s pieced section.The earliest documented patchwork quilt in England (Fig. It dates to 1718 and is currently in the York Quilt Museum and Gallery in Peasholme Green (66 ½ x 73 inches). Birds, hearts, flowers, deer, and other appliquéd creatures coexist with Yankee Puzzle, Four-Square, Nine-Square, Star, Square-in-a-Square, and Crisscross patterns.The backing is also pieced, the scraps of fabrics sewn together in a haphazard way.An early nineteenth-century North American example is the Catharine Ann Penniman Bradford Quilt, currently in a private collection in Wisconsin.This quilt, which dates to 1825, includes a large embroidered vase and flowers as the central medallion.The only things women could claim as theirs were linens and household articles, such as bridal chests, tableware, and silver.Women’s names or initials, in fact, also figure on some of these other items. The medallion or frame-center patchwork quilt was a type that was very popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in both North America and Northern Europe. above the central medallion along with the date of execution, was more ambitious than the maker of the Anna Tuels Quilt in that her patchwork and appliqué work are more varied and complex.