The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) in Baltimore, Maryland, owns the largest collection of Baltimore Album quilts. Lucky me, I live just outside of Baltimore and had the pleasure of participating in an excellent quilt program there this past weekend. Actually, it is a two part program so I’ll be back there next Saturday, too.
Phyllis Twigg Hatcher started us off with a lecture and show-and-tell of pre-1850 quilts (mostly from Maryland) from her own collection. It was heaven for a fabric lover like me. Then we took a walk through the museum’s current exhibit of Maryland quilts plus some folk art and artifacts that are depicted in the album quilts. Following the tour was a slide show lecture about Baltimore monuments which were frequently depicted on the Baltimore Album quilts. We also received kits to make our own album blocks which include an inking of Baltimore’s Washington Monument.
This quilt was a stunner! Called “Mathematical Star” because that is how these star quilts were listed in the records of the Maryland Agricultural Fairs, it is dated to 1835 and was likely made by Adeline Virginia Bartruff Darnall. It is one of the richest looking broderie perse quilts I’ve ever seen. Interestingly, I learned from Phyllis that this technique used to be called “cut-out chintz” instead of the fancier sounding broderie perse. I kind of like that straightforward descriptive title.
The MdHS is rotating their quilt collection through a small, ongoing exhibition. There are only about 7 quilts currently on display but I think you can tell by these photos, it is worth visiting and savoring the selection. There were also some stunning crazy quilts that are truly examples of some Baltimore needlewomen’s work of a lifetime.
Next week, we continue on beyond the Baltimore album era with more of Phyllis’ collection and may include a little walking field trip to the actual Washington Monument (IF Baltimore’s weather warms up to something higher than frigid).