Saturday, November 7, 2020

Harriet Alexander Caperton's Sampler 1


Block from a quilt top made by Harriet
Alexander Caperton (1811-1899)

It looks like a friendship applique sampler but there are no names on it, and many of the blocks
look like the design ideas of one person rather than a group of friends. Documentors for the West Virginia project believed: "All except one appear to be from the same hand."

Fabrics all look to be solid color fabrics, no help in
dating this quilt other than "After 1840."

Intricacy of the applique designs indicate a pre-Civil-War date.

Examining this quilt is confounded by a restoration/reconstruction from the late-20th-century. The caption in the West Virginia book tells us the top was found with 24 blocks stitched together but 
"with a block missing from the upper left corner...a new block was made, and the top lined and bound by employees of  [quilt dealer] Shelly Zegart in Kentucky."
Twentieth-century addition in top left corner.

We assume this to be the top left corner; tulips, heart and dark fabric ---not Harriet's style.
The top was bound in the 1970s; sold to another dealer
who sold it to the woman who brought it to the
West Virginia documentation day in Franklin County, West Virginia in 1995.

She had the information that the top first surfaced in 1970 at the estate sale of  Harriet's granddaughter Rose Caperton (1880-1969) who, according to the National Register application for the family house Wyndridge, lived there "eschewing such modern conveniences as electric lighting." She was the last Caperton to live in the home and is buried in an unmarked grave near the barn.

Harriet's son William built Wyndridge about 1870,
enclosing two older two-story log houses. Rose was born and died there,
keeping family treasures and memories.

Harriet lived until Rose was almost grown so they must have known each other rather well.

Harriet spent her life in Monroe County, beginning as a Virginian and
ending as a West Virginian. She lived near the town of Union, which might
give us some insight into her Civil War experiences (if we did not examine our assumptions.)

"A Quilting Party in Western Virginia"
Regional humor published in Boston's periodical Gleason's Illustrated,
October, 1854, about the time the quilt was made.

Next Week: More on Harriet and her family.

Several of the blocks are rather conventional in design such as this lyre---"Yet they exhibit a curious touch that sets them apart from mainstream renditions, while the shapes fill space in an exuberant manner. "
I bet Fawn Valentine wrote that lovely description in the West Virginia Quilts & Quiltmakers Book.

1 comment:

Pieceful Lady said...

Thanks for the glimpse into Harriet. Always an interesting read from you and look forward to hearing more about this quilt. I have always like red and green quilts and this one is unique. Have a great Sunday.