Chintz appliquéd quilt

Maker: Mary Malvina Cook Taft (1812–1905)

Date: ca. 1835–40

Geography: Made in Suffolk County, Sag Harbor, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Cotton, Chintz appliquéd

Dimensions: 110 1/4 x 92 1/2 in. (280 x 235 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Gift of Miss Elsey R. Taft, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.288


This quilt is appliquéd with pieces of chintz to form a Tree of Life motif at its center, recalling the design of popular imported Indian bed hangings, called "palampores." Chintz-appliquéd quilts such as this one were most popular in the South during the first half of the nineteenth century. According to family history, Mary Malvina Cook Taft made the quilt for her trousseau. She probably made it about 1835, since she was born in 1812 and probably married in her twenties, as was common at the time. There is no documentation of where the piece was made, but stylistically it seems most closely related to documented bedcovers from Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina.