Star of Bethlehem

August, 2013

Star of Bethlehem

Maker unknown

Probably made in Baltimore, Maryland
Circa 1830-1850
Donated by Robert James in honor of Patricia Crews, 2013.001.0001

This Star of Bethlehem quilt was donated to the International Quilt Museum by Robert James in honor of Patricia Crews, founding director, who is retiring on August 2. In addition to the pieced star, the quilt includes floral chintz appliqué, an unusual diamond pieced outer board and extravagant stuffed work. Chintz appliqué quilts combined with pieced patterns, such as a Star of Bethlehem or Rising Star, were popular in the 1820s and 1830s, according to Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections.

“Chintz appliqué quilts, whose decorative technique is often referred to as broderie perse, were constructed of motifs cut from expensive chintz fabrics stitched in place on a neutral background. These distinctive quilts were made most often in the United States, but they were also made in England and the Netherlands. In the United States, chintz appliqué quilts were primarily made in the Delaware Bay area of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Made to cover fashionable high-post beds, the quilts often measured as large as eight to ten foot square. They were typically created by women of upper and upper middle class society who had the means to purchase the expensive fabric and the time to devote to such an ambitious task.”

- Excerpt from Chintz Appique: From Imitation to Icon by Carolyn Ducey