by Patty Harants
Drawing on the colorful hues and patterns which originated in Baltimore over 150 years ago, this collection is sure to delight quilters who are part of the resurgence of this popular quilting art form.
Although a short-lived fad, magnificent Baltimore Album quilts were quite prolific from 1846-1854. The coastal seaport of Baltimore provided great access to new and varied goods for the more prosperous families of the area. Rather than the customary scrap quilts, the newly acquired quality fabrics brought in by the ships allowed for more elaborate, appliquéd designs.
The blocks were often designed and appliquéd by several women, inspired by patterns found in china, textiles, and paper cuttings. Popular motifs included floral vases, fruits, landmarks, eagles, and the blocks were reflections of a more personal nature, such as hunting, and gardening. Most album quilts were signed.
Also known as Presentation Quilts, they were often created to mark a special occasion, such as the moving of a favorite friend, family member or clergyman.
The enthusiasm for the quilts and their time consuming efforts faded after a decade or so, in part, due to the Civil War and and the efforts of the women to turn to the matters of producing quilts, bedding and bandages for the soldiers. They are most commonly found from New York to Virginia.