This quilt top is made of the most elaborate style of block seen in Baltimore Albums. Most of these designs are found on numerous other Baltimore album quilts, but never with as many elements in every block. Many blocks here comprise over 100 pieces.
What are those buildings? The central American eagle with flag and liberty cap is flanked by the U.S. Capitol as it looked back then (left), and the Baltimore Merchant Exchange (right). Below the eagle is Baltimore’s Washington Monument.
Historians once attributed this style to Mary Simon, a German who arrived in Baltimore in 1839. This theory is now in question, but the style still bears her name. Countless quilts with identical blocks suggest Simon was perhaps in a group of women employed to cut and baste fabrics onto squares, ready for purchase and assembly.
Roller-printed and solid cottons; linen backing; embroidery; ink
Mary Simon-style blocks are distinctive for their use of blue and tan shaded, or as they are known in the quilt world, “fondu” (French, “melted”) prints. Both the color combination and the shaded effects were fads of the time.