Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp: 30 Floral Trails

Star block by Becky Brown
with four colorways of a floral trails reproduction print

Antique quilt about 1830
The brown-ground print on the edges above
meanders in a floral trail. Other figures are set in foulard-style
half drop fashion and some are scattered.

Terry Thompson and I did a similar floral trail
for our Spencer Museum of Art Collection years ago.

Val D's repro pillar print block used three prints from that line,
including the same print in yellow and a red floral trail for the corners.

Vintage star set with a shady-ground chintz in a floral trails set

Dark brown chintzes and calicoes were fashionable in the 18th century and are found in the earliest American patchwork quilts after 1775 or so.

Vintage quilt detail from Cyndi at Busy Thimble, 
glaze still on the chintz.

Dark or shady grounds were popular coloring for prints featuring plants that spread across the surface. These flowers and leaves on meandering vines have been called Floral Trails by the designers.

Quilt by Elizabeth Nace, date-inscribed 1796, 
 one of the earliest dated American patchwork quilts

The border features a brown ground print in a regular grid set, a formal contrast to the floral trail in the nine-patches.

This quilt is in the collection of the Lancaster
Heritage Museum

Late-18th-century dress.
Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Floral trails were popular on white grounds too.

Reproduction block by Becky Brown using a light
ground floral trail for the background.

An early quilt featuring a blue on white floral trail.

Notice the rose print trailing across a stripe. Floral trail plus a fancy ground---
a later style. Floral trails continued popular into the 1830s.


Petra Prins's Dutch Heritage chintzes feature this excellent example.

Becky Brown used a plum from my Lately Arrived from London for the star's
She has quite a few floral trails in her stash, and we hope you do too.
This week you can stitch a star with a dark-ground floral trail
-a dark ground print
-or a floral trail print.

From Moda's Collections for a Cause: Faith

I reproduced this mid-19th-century floral trail for
Civil War Jubilee.

What to Do with Your Stack of Stars?
Create an Energetic Composition by Alternating blocks of Busy Chintz.

Cyndi at the Busy Thimble bought this classic star in Maine.

A bad online picture of a similar Maine quilt.

Star alternated with toile-style print
These early quiltmakers seemed to enjoy the visual noise.
A symphony it is not!
I like to see it as a fight between the fabric and the patchwork.
No winner but what fun to see.

Prussian Peacocks
Reproduction by whom???

UPDATE: Rietje and Wendy both recognized this as a Jinny Beyer print from about 1990.
Rietje still has some peacocks left in hers.

A great interpretation.

A bird and tree print, an arborescent chintz
and a lapis print all in one.

Now if this vintage style is too much for you try a 
simple white ground chintz.

American Beauty, reproduction quilt and 
pattern by Alison Vandertag

Alison has captured some of the period look but tamed it with high contrast patchwork, lower contrast fabric and two or three borders.
More symphony than noise.

One More Thing About Floral Trails

Early frame quilt with two floral trail chintzes
in light and dark from the collection of 
Michigan State University

Floral Trails were so popular about 1800 that you see a definite early quilt style featuring meandering blooms in dark and light ground chintzes

Collection of the Helen F. Spencer Museum at the University of Kansas.

Detail of the Spencer quilt

We copied the light print above for the Spencer Museum of Art Collection.

Note the lapis blue in the top strip here, meaning this is probably after 1810.

Chocolate or plum brown was such an early favorite that a dark
ground, floral trail can be a clue to a late-18th-century or early 19th-century quilt.

Hallie Larkin at The Golden Scissors blog posted about Dark Ground chintzes, giving us some period references for names for fashionable fabric from 1749 to 1772.

Here are a two:
"purple spot and dark ground calicoes"-Pennsylvania Gazette, December 27, 1749 
"fine dark ground chintz" - Pennsylvania Gazette, July 18, 1754


Wendy Caton Reed said...

I think the Prussian peacock print was an older (c1990) RJR print from Jinny Beyer. I still have a piece of the border print but unfortunately no peacocks left.

Faunacoco said...

The peacocks make me want to swoon. They are so vibrant and set off with that red. Madder? Nowadays peacock fabrics are all blue and green. Lacking the spice of the red flowers. Fabulous.