New York Beauty Quilt
Pieced quilt top for single bed.Full description »
Pieced quilt top for single bed. The piecing is in red and plain yellow fabric; the background is white with a small black polka dot. Two parallel lines of yellow and white triangles, divided by a white line of equal size, form a border at the top and bottom of the quilt. Backed with plain white cotton. Hand-quilting echoes the pattern, while diamond quilting (¾ in apart) fills the background fabric.
This complex pattern has been pieced by an accomplished quilter. It is a difficult pattern to sew accurately, consisting of many curves and small triangles with sharp points. The colour choice is subtle. Usually New York Beauty quilts are made from bold, solid hues that enhance the graphic quality of the design.
The pattern is also called Crown of Thorns. The quilt top features four large ‘crowns’ of red and yellow fabric. The blocks are all joined by diagonal bands made by rows of yellow and white triangles that appear to lie over the crowns. Stars made of yellow and red triangles mark the points at which these bands cross one another (at the centre of the crowns).
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, companies were producing cheaper material. Although this meant that fabric was more widely available, quality suffered. Cloth from this period commonly has a lower thread count. New chemical dyes were produced, increasing colour range. Not all of these dyes, however, were stable. The chemicals used for dark colours often reacted with the fabric and caused structural deterioration. The quilt illustrates this type of damage. All pieces of the red fabric are uniformly covered in small holes. It is likely that this is a result of a mutating dye used to produce a small pattern, now obliterated, on the original cloth.
From 1900 to 1924