June, 2023


Maker Unidentified 
Probably made in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
Dated 1814
Appliquéd, Reverse Embroidered

This patriotic piece is a stunning example of a center medallion American eagle and shield quilt, using the Great Seal of the United States in its design motif. Dated 1814, it is one of few surviving chintz appliqué and mosaic pieced quilts of the post-War of 1812 era.

The fierce imagery of a shielded eagle clutching arrows and branches is juxtaposed with geometric devices and a solid chintz border. Hexagonal patterns like those featured in this quilt were fashionable in English quilts of the time. Notice the piece also features the following verse:

“Strong in thy strength we bend no knee
To Monarks (sic) or to Tyranny
But borne upon thine ample opinion
We Ride to freedom and dominion”

Author and historian Barbara Brackman suggests the verse was derived from Joel Barlow — a poet and diplomat who, in 1808, published similar patriotic prose in “The Columbiad.”

It was likely made in Philadelphia or New Jersey; the maker is unidentified at this time. The quilt was acquired by the International Quilt Museum in 2022 and is one of the earliest dated pieces in its collection.