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Tree of Life Framed Medallion Quilt


Probably made by Mary Lang Harris or Sarah Harris Spencer

84.5 in. W x 87 in. L
9-11 stitches per inch

Gift of Dorothy L. Darrach and Edward Harris Darrach, Jr. in honor of Edward Harris
Conservation adopted by John Holmes Chapter, MN


Moorestown, Burlington County, New Jersey

Moorestown, Burlington County, New Jersey

Styles extend beyond this region


The large central flowering tree was produced along the East Coast from the late 1700s to about 1830. In this example from New Jersey, two stylized birds alight in a stripped-down tree surrounded by sawtooth frames typical of Maryland and Virginia.


The quilt was made for Edward Harris, a naturalist and close friend, collaborator, and supporter of John James Audubon, by someone in his family. The most likely maker is either his wife, Mary, or his sister, Sarah. He also had numerous female cousins nearby, who may have helped too.


Block- and roller-printed cottons; cotton filling and backing

Like other appliqué medallions, this quilt uses several fabrics to compose the branches, blooms, and birds. The same block-printed bird is found in the Lester quilt in this section–made in Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia–testifying to the widespread availability of the high-end imported fabrics from ports from Philadelphia to Savannah.