About this artwork
Lionizing the infamous Irish-American boxer John Sullivan, this quilt presents a striking collage of representational images, patterns, and text. The embroidered portrait of Sullivan in the center depicts him as a formidable individual with crossed arms and a steely gaze. Around him, the quilt features an irregular assemblage of fabric scraps embroidered with imagery and text drawn from popular print media of the time. Although the central placement of the portrait, which is accented with shamrocks and an American flag, as well as the scattering of lucky horse shoes, appear celebratory, the ominous phrase BLOODY BUTCHERY appears at left, perhaps a description of one of his matches. Below the central portrait, the red-and black-striped fabric features a depicted of the 1889 bare-knuckle match in which Sullivan triumphed over Jake Kilrain after seventy-five rounds.
—Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs, October 20, 2017-April 1, 2018
Currently Off View
- John L. Sullivan Quilt
- Pieced and embroidered “crazy” quilt top; dyed and printed silk, cotton, wool and metallic, plain, twill, satin, velvet and patterned weave fabrics and ribbons; silk, metallic and cotton embroidery threads
- 209.6 x 201.9 cm (82 1/2 x 79 1/2 in.)
- Restricted gift of the Margaret Cavigga Trust