Exhibit of Winterthur’s American quilts opens Oct. 9 at Virginia’s MFA


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Vintage American quilt. Photo courtesy Winterthur Museum

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RICHMOND, Va. — One of the world’s finest collections of early American quilts will open at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Oct. 9, 2010. Traveling for the first time, the exhibition of more than 40 quilts will continue until Jan. 2, 2011.

The pieces in the exhibition are from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, famed for its remarkable collection of period furniture, fabrics, decorative arts and quilts collected by philanthropist and collector Henry Francis du Pont.

In addition to showcasing the quilts’ artistic qualities, the exhibition explores the lives of their makers. It also looks at the political, economic and technological developments that shaped production of the quilts.

Dating from the 1700s to 1850, the quilts in the exhibition were selected for their artistic significance and for their importance as artifacts of early American culture. Whitework, appliqué, whole cloth, pieced, embroidered and stenciled quilts are all featured in the collection, as well as cushion and dressing table covers, samplers and a quilted petticoat. 

The centerpiece of the exhibition is an exquisite stuffed whitework quilt stitched in 1815 by 23-year-old Mary Remington of Warwick, R.I. The only known American example featuring a family coat of arms, her quilt was stitched in preparation for her marriage to a local ship captain. Using historical research and letters between her and her fiancé, the exhibition reveals the family relationships, friendships, education, important books and influential politics that shaped a young woman in early America.

A lavishly illustrated catalog, “Quilts in a Material World,” written by Linda Eaton, exhibition curator and curator of textiles at the Winterthur Museum, accompanies the exhibition.

For more call 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum. ?



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