Workshop of James Alexander (American, 17701870)
Little Britain, Orange County, New York
Cotton and wool; 96 1/4 x 81 in. (244.5 x 205.7 cm)
Gift of Roger Maclaughlin, 1967 (67.33)
Distinct regional differences exist in the patterns and weaving techniques of the wool and cotton coverlets made in the United States between 1820 and 1850, when they were at their peak of popularity. This work is a good illustration of the New York style. The earliest New York weavers were immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland and had been trained in carpet weaving. This training explains both the usual doubleweave structure and the appearance of New York coverlets. They are made of undyed cotton and indigo-dyed wool, with a structure much like woven carpets, and large medallions like the designs found on British carpets of the period. James Alexander, a British immigrant, had a weaving workshop in Orange County, New York. This example is attributed to his workshop, since the eagles in the upper and lower borders are trademarks of Alexander's work.