1847 Baltimore Album made for Bernard Nadal.
Collection of the National Museum of American History.
The lyre image is commonly seen in Baltimore Album blocks...
Inspired by a taste for classical form
exemplified in this chair back from the Duncan Phyfe workshop.
One could purchase a kit for a graceful block
or draft the musical instrument oneself.
Mary Couchman Album
Bill Volckening Collection
1851 Baltimore Album by
Eliza and Sarah Waring and other family members.
Collection of the DAR Museum
From an album dated 1847-1849, signed Margaret & Elizabeth Cameron.
documented by the Arizona project.
Baltimore Album in the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Art
This single block with a heart is similar to three lyre blocks in a Baltimore Album
in the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Lyre designs were also appliqued in repeat block format.
From the James collection at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Gate in a New Orleans cemetery
Here's an analysis on the meaning from the blog Gravely Speaking.
"The lyre is a symbol of Apollo, the Greek god of music. In Christian symbolism it can represent harmony and Heavenly accord and song in praise of the Lord. In funerary art, however, the lyre can also represent the end of life."
Lyre & Swags, Moore Family, 1845-1860.York County, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg Collection
Elizabeth Manning, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Collection: Historic Arkansas Museum
Darwin D. Bearley Collection
Again the heart at the base of the instrument.
This might symbolize harmony and accord,
But the weeping willows make one think of mourning
and the end of life.
And then there are medallion formats...
Sue May Billmyer Lemen, Jefferson County, Virginia
Documented in the West Virginia Project
Pat & Arlen Christ Collection
Bayou Bend Collection
Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Sue Garman designed a repro block for her Simply Baltimore pattern.