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Album Quilt

Quilt of squares on a beige base, each with a unique flower or small scene with dark-skinned figures and animals.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Quilt of squares on a beige base, each with a unique flower or small scene with dark-skinned figures and animals.

Date:

1854

Artist:

Sarah Ann Wilson (American, active c. 1854)

About this artwork

Made before the Civil War, as indicated by the date inscribed in a square in the bottom row, this quilt depicts African American figures who seem to be a family. The figures are sensitively portrayed, with appliquéd and embroidered brown fabric comprising their faces and hands. The familial narrative is reinforced by the hand-and-heart motif in the bottom right corner. The specificity of the portrayal and the similarity of the figures to those in another quilt (depicted here) suggest that these figures may represent the maker’s own family. Although historians know little about Wilson, she may have been a free black woman living in New York.

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Textiles

Artist

Sarah Ann Wilson

Title

Album Quilt

Origin

New York

Date

Made 1854

Medium

Appliquéd, pieced and embroidered quilt; dyed, undyed and printed cotton plain weave fabrics and cotton and silk velvet fabric; cotton embroidery threads

Inscriptions

Inscription: Sarah Ann Wilson Aug 1854

Dimensions

217.1 × 255.8 cm (85 1/2 × 100 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mrs. David W. Grainger

Reference Number

1999.509

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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