This quilt mixes two collections, the Sarah Johnson quilt from the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, and the Copp quilt from Stonington, Connecticut, now in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.
Both lines were from RJR Fabrics in the mid-1990s, and came in multiple colourways. The Sarah Johnson line had thirty-three designs in ten prints. Six of them were from the quilt itself and the others were based on late 18th and 19th century quilts. Undulating stripes, two-tone prints, scrollwork, foliage, feathers, florals, chintz and geometrics were featured. The Copp line was based on prints and a quilt in the Copp Collection of Goods and Textiles which were donated to the Smithsonian Museum in 1890 by J.B. Copp. There were eleven prints in three colourways, featuring brocades, florals, stripes, garlands, vines, and geometrics.
The original quilts and prints have fascinating stories. Sarah Johnson was a fourteen-year old girl and quite proficient when she made the quilt in 1826. The Copp donation to the Smithsonian was the beginning of its quilt collection; amongst the textiles, clothing and furniture were three quilts. The Copp quilt is dated between 1795 and 1815. These quilts and collections have been written about in various publications about quilting and I am indebted to issues of Quiltiques (February, May/June, and September, all from 1996) for jogging my memory.
When I made this quilt, I laid out all of the triangles on the floor and left them there for a few months. It was the best way to make sure I was happy with the balance of the prints. There were days when I didn’t even look at them but I liked to think that I was noticing them subliminally. Because the top of the quilt is so busy, I chose a solid green backing. The outer borders are rectangles of the same prints with a knife edge. I just couldn’t get enough of them, I guess!
The quilt measures an odd 61” x 56”, and is entirely hand pieced and hand quilted.