1880s Masonic Folk Art Quilt


The wonderful Masonic Folk Art Quilt pictured above is now in the museum collection of the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Mass.  You can visit their museum on-line at:  http://www.monh.org/


Here is what Sotheby's "Important Americana" catalogue (January 28, 29 and 30, 1988) says about the bottom quilt: "Unusual Appliqued Cotton 'Masonic' Quilt, Ohio, circa 1880, composed of red, yellow and green printed and solid patches with various Masonic symbols and bands of stars, all mounted on a white cotton ground with feather, cable, wreath and diagonal line quilting. Approximately 76 by 76 in. (193 by 193 m).

It then lists the literature and exhibitions in which the quilt appeared.

It goes on: In giving expression to so much of what was important in their lives, women covered many "subjects" in their quilts. Using the traditional format of red and green appliqués, the maker of this quilt created a piece full of Masonic symbols to celebrate pride in her husband's fraternal affiliation. Masonic symbols march along the border and frame Masonic emblems just as a classical swag border would surround a more traditional appliqué design. The quilt maker's red, orange and green hearts, stars and moons (each with symbolic meaning to the Masons) add great spirit and vitality to the quilt, suggesting a very whimsical, folk-art quality. Classical feathered wreaths, a traditional appliqué quilting pattern, add rich texture to this personal, vibrant quilt.




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