The kaleidoscope, invented in 1816, created a huge sensation. Its startling new imagery influenced quilts and other decorative arts. Starburst quilts’ small pieces in mirror-image segments recalled the tiny glass pieces reflected by mirrors inside a kaleidoscope.
The quilt is of Virginia origin, but its family history is unknown.
Roller-printed cottons; cotton filling; roller-printed backing; cotton twill tape binding
The outer fabric is an elegant and costly large-scale furnishing chintz. The quilt maker was showcasing both her skill at piecing a difficult design, and her ability to purchase plenty of yards of costly fabric for the border.