Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Glorious Broderie Perse!

On our recent trip to the American South - Charleston and Savannah in late April - Glen and I were  impressed and inspired  by the amount of 18th and early 19th century architecture and decorative arts which have been saved in these two beautiful cities. A case in point:  We wandered into the Charleston Museum   , by the way, the oldest museum in the United States, founded in 1773, and found in the Textile Gallery the most amazing and comprehensive collection of 18th and 19th century broderie perse quilts made by early Charlestonian women and  donated by their families. 

Displayed in low level lighting to preserve the fabrics and their original colors, these quilts fairly glowed inside their glass cases. Broderie Perse is an early technique of hand applique' in which motifs are cut from printed fabrics - mostly cottons- and attached in pleasing arrangements on a cotton or linen background fabrics. The background fabric is then finely hand quilted . These quilts incorporated French and English copper plate and wood block printed dress and upholstery goods. The detail is amazing and the colors are superb. The patterns echo the chinoiserie craze of the 18th century and the neoclassical taste of the late 18th and early 19th. 

Enough  words - let the quilts talk for themselves.

This little crib quilt below was actually my favorite -  I may have to make my own version of this with some reproduction fabrics.  

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