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Bed Rug

Large tan rug with black and brown floral motif.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large tan rug with black and brown floral motif.




Hannah Johnson (American, 1770–1848)
United States, Connecticut, New London County, Bozrah

About this artwork

It is not surprising that early American textiles reflect the strong influence of European, especially English, designs and techniques. Materials were scarce and making utilitarian objects such as bedcoverings depended entirely on raw products that could be raised by a family or community. Yet indigenous forms of American needlework did develop, as can be seen in this masterful bed rug. Although the coiling tendrils of its design are reminiscent of motifs that appear in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English textiles, their application to a bedcovering and the technique of looped running stitches embroidered through a wool support fabric are typically American. The term rugge or rugg appears in colonial inventories, where it refers to a woven yardage fabric used to make bedcovers. Such pieces were unique to the Connecticut River Valley. The information provided by the needlework contributes to the rarity of this piece: the initials H. J. refer to its maker, Hannah Johnson, the daughter of Ebenezer and Anna Johnson. It is dated 1796 and carries the number 26, which indicates that Johnson was twenty-six years old when she made it.


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Hannah Johnson


Bed Rug


United States (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 1796


Wool, plain weave; with cut pile formed by wool yarns embroidered in looped running stitches


Inscribed: 1796 / 26 / H J


249.4 × 246.1 cm (98 1/4 × 97 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by the Needlework and Textile Guild

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

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