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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.




Sarah Ann Wilson (American, active mid-19th century)
New York or New Jersey, United States

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.


Currently Off View




Sarah Ann Wilson


Album Quilt


New York (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1854


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


Inscription: Sarah Ann Wilson Aug 1854


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

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. David W. Grainger

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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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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