Week 11: Comparative Analysis

After watching Dr. Long’s lecture last week, I began compiling a spreadsheet of mosaic patchwork quilts that I could use to compare with the quilt at the Rising Sun Tavern. I identified thirty pieces that I felt would be most productive to analyze because they were made in the same way (mosaic patchwork), they were based around hexagons or similar geometric elements, and they spanned the 18th to the 20th century, giving me a wide range within which to identify trends. Some of these I chose from the Elegant Geometry exhibition, some from other scholarly articles on the subject, and the remainder from collections searches of reputable institutions like Colonial Williamsburg, the International Quilt Museum, and the MET.

For each quilt, I included the object’s title, the institution to which it belonged, when it was made, whether it was a quilt, coverlet, quilt top, or fragment, and descriptions of form. I included its pattern type, organization of geometric elements, whether it had a concentric organization as well as its size, material, location of fabrication, and any other notes. I did not find significant patterns in an increase in geometric complexity over time as Dr. Long proposed, but this may be due to the small sample size. I did notice trends in color schemes and a small spike of popularity with concentric patterns in the early 19th century. I also noticed significant absences of certain materials across several decades, indicating possible trends. I would have liked to see patterns in type (quilt vs. coverlet), size, and general pattern but this study did not bear that out. It was primarily useful in comparing overall fabric types and color schemes.

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