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.

Date:

1796

Artist:

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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Textiles

Artist

Hannah Johnson

Title

Bed Rug

Origin

United States

Date

1796

Medium

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

Inscriptions

Inscribed: 1796 / 26 / H J

Dimensions

249.4 × 246.1 cm (98 1/4 × 97 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of the Needlework and Textile Guild

Reference Number

1944.27

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 .

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