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Pieced Framed Medallion Quilt
Made by Rebecca Ellen Davenport Blackwell (1790-1831)
106 in. W x 105.5 in. L
7-8 stitches per inch
Gift of Lucy Steptoe Jones in memory of Nannil Levell Blackwell
Conservation funded by Gretchen Wurth in honor of Randall Garner Jackson and future generations
Framed medallions composed of patchwork derive from high style English pieced quilts. Martha Washington made at least three similar quilts in the 1780s, but with fewer borders and larger-scale piecing.
Rebecca Davenport, born in Jefferson County (now West Virginia), married John Blackwell of Fauquier County in 1819. She had ten children in eleven years, but none of her daughters was old enough to help her cut and piece the quilt. However, nineteen enslaved women and children were in the Blackwells’ household in the 1830 census. Some of them surely helped with household tasks like sewing.
Block- and roller-printed and solid cottons, cotton filling, backing, and binding
More than sixty prints make a virtual catalog of 1820s cottons, mixing florals and ferns with printed stripes and plaids. Though the use of “scraps” in quilts has been exaggerated, the number, and miniscule amounts, of fabrics here suggest that this quilt does use pieces of dress fabrics. These would not be recycled, but leftover after cutting a garment.