I've been going on about this quilt in the collection of the Shelburne Museum, which has been considered a Civil War quilt since the 1950s.
Scroll down for more posts to read more of the rant. I am thinking it's British rather than American
and it could even have something to do with the Crimean War.
The four female figures in the center....
La Belle Chocolatiere
Florence Peto saw chocolate.
I often think of chocolate as the answer to everything but....
What if she isn't a lady with a cup of chocolate,
but rather a Lady with a Lamp?
Illustrated London News 1855
Say: Florence Nightingale, the angel of the Crimean War, known as the Lady with the Lamp,
who made nightly rounds checking on her injured soldiers with an oil lamp in hand.
Inexpensive prints of Florence Nightingale and her fellow nurses were quite popular in the 1850s in England, possibly inspiring a silhouette of a nurse.
The Lady with the Lamp became iconic enough that an image of an oil lamp remains a symbol of nursing.
Read a little about Nightingale and her lamp in this text book of nursing:
Now, I have no more evidence that this is a Crimean War quilt than Peto had it was a Civil War quilt---actually less. She may have heard a family story. I am just making it up. I wish she were around to discuss this with---perhaps over a cup of hot chocolate---or a chocolate martini.
I'd say, "Futhermore, Florrie, it's not quilted but a finished spread. Such a British finish to patchwork."
So after three posts, I rest my case.
So your case is as good as the next..... let's look to the horses...anything distinctive about them? Crows have any significance? If not then I can live with your case....
After reading all your posts on this quilt I agree with you! I am betting no one at the museum wants to readdress it though they should. We should never stop learning or researching!
It's so good of you to question - and you have the knowledge to back it up. There have been other things (which escape me since it would be convenient to state an example right now) of things said of the Victorian Era that I know to be incorrect or a tool for a certain purpose posed as something else, etc. I love getting 'into' a time period - so what did this mean? or why that? & so on. You do a fabulous job at that. Thank you for sharing.
Just to give the Shelburne its due, when I asked them for information about a quilt of theirs I wanted to research, they were most cooperative and even tho my theory would have questioned the attribution of the quilt's origin, they gave me everything they had and wrote with encouragement, saying that they were delighted someone was interested in a piece in their collection. I mention this because I, too, have had the opposite experience with some notable institutions, including a branch of a very famous taxpayer-supported museum in Washington D.C. (I may ask my Congresswoman for help). So the Shelburne, it's one of the good guys, not one of the bad guys!
It is interesting to see the lady and similar items that they could have been inspired by.
I am proud that I am a nurse, wishing I could go back in time, sometimes, when nursing was nursing, and very hard work for very little pay, no picket lines, no complaining, you did it because you wanted to. (I know some women came from bad pasts) Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I admire her greatly.
I don't say anything new by stating I totally agree with you.
Just wanted to add I so love your humor that slips in your text.
I think you have a convincing case. Its been years since I visited the Shelburne Museum and I viewed the quilts on display at the time rather indiscrimantly--being only familiar with the late 1800's 'scrap quilts' still in use at my grandfather's farm house.
I am wondering if those are crows... Why not the lovely nightingale bird! Makes perfect sense to me.
Some readers seem to think I am criticizing the Shelburne here. I am commenting on dating a quilt. My teasing is at the expense of Florence Peto who did the best she could in the 1940s and '50s.
Not all of life is an adversarial situation.
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