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Coverlet Fragment (USA), ca. 1850

This is a Coverlet fragment. It is dated ca. 1850 and we acquired it in 1956. Its medium is wool, cotton and its technique is continuous supplementary weft patterning in plain weave foundation (overshot). It is a part of the Textiles department.

In rural homes, overshot coverlets were the primary form of bedroom decoration. The term "overshot" refers to the long spans of wool supplementary weft that are used to pattern the plain cotton foundation. While some overshot coverlets were undoubtedly produced by professionals, home production by men and women on simple four-harness looms was very common. Families in rural Appalachia continued to make their own coverlets until the early twentieth century. This coverlet fragment was made in western Georgia around 1850 in an area south of the Appalachian Mountains. The weaver took a deceptively simple checkerboard pattern and created an eye-catching optical effect by gradually compressing the squares at regular intervals both vertically and horizontally to create a dazzling, almost dizzying, repeat pattern of rounded squares. The blue color was most certainly made using indigo dye, while the tan color could have been produced by native trees, shrubs or herbs.

This object was donated by Sara Muschel. It is credited Gift of Mrs. Sara Muschel.

  • Bed Cover (suzani), 19th century
  • silk embroidery on cotton foundation.
  • Gift of Provident Securities Company from the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. William....
  • 1955-133-18

Our curators have highlighted 10 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Textile, Turbo, 2010
  • 100% poly-silk warp and 100% acetate ribbon weft.
  • Gift of Hechizoo and Cristina Grajales Gallery, New York.
  • 2011-57-2

Its dimensions are

H x W: 85.1 x 42.2 cm (33 1/2 x 16 5/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Coverlet Fragment (USA), ca. 1850; wool, cotton; H x W: 85.1 x 42.2 cm (33 1/2 x 16 5/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. Sara Muschel; 1956-173-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Coverlet Fragment (USA), ca. 1850 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 September 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>