Monday, January 23, 2017

A New York Tulip: Rather Random Thoughts

This week we begin the 2017 Civil War Quilts BOM, an appliqued and pieced Yankee Diary. We'll start with a simple applique floral inspired by a block quite popular in New York about the time of the Civil War.
Here's a link to the pattern:

Block from a Sampler dated 1851
(That date done in cross-stitch-style piecing makes me think it's from New York.)

Here's one dated 1868 from dealer Stella Rubin.

The single floral blocks are found beyond New York. The above example was auctioned in Pennsylvania.

Sold in Maryland in 2006.

From the Van Benschoten  family, auctioned in New York. 
Regional NY tree border.

Perhaps the above was the second best quilt by W Van Benschoten, mentioned at the New York State Fair in 1867.

 New Yorkers seemed to think it an important pattern.

Quilt date-inscribed 1858, made by Amanda Birdsell and others for Sarah. Note 3 variations of the simple floral.

Dated 1863, Cowell Family from Schenectedy.
Four  Three  variations in this NY sampler too.

It's so common in New York album sampler quilts that it's a clue to a possible New York origin like a triple white rose is a clue to a Baltimore Album.

Detail of what is now called the Reconciliation Quilt.
International Quilt Study Center & Museum

The ultimate New York sampler is by Lucinda Honstain of Brooklyn, who included a pair of  flowers with a butterfly and birds in her quilt dated 1867.
To see the whole quilt go to the IQSC search page and do a search for Honstain.

Lucinda's double floral would not be remarkable but for two things:
One is that there are two quilts attributed to Lucinda Honstain at IQSC.
Her other quilt is a repeat block of the same flower alternated with a leaf block.

The second remarkable thing is another double floral and butterfly block in a New York sampler. This one dated 1861.

That quilt, made in Westchester County, NY, is in the collection of the American Museum of Folk Art.

The Westchester County quilt has three variations of the unnamed flower.

The pattern type is #28.44---unnamed traditional block in my Encyclopedia of Applique 

Lucinda's florals look a lot like tulips with those elongated leaves and that's what most of us would call it.
In 1959  Marguerite Ickis showed a variation in her book The Standard Book of Quilt Making.

But it could be a lily or perhaps a peony...

In 1846 Mrs A. A. Hosmer of Riga New York won $2 at the Monroe County Fair for 1 quilt (peony figure.)

The Quilts in the Ladies Department must have been interesting.  Mrs. C. Cogwell of Rochester won $1 for "1 piece patch work (4000 pieces)" and Mrs. H.B. Martin of Clarkson won mention for a "silk quilt---quite novel."


  1. It's wonderful to learn of another Lucinda Honstain quilt. Thanks for including that one.

  2. Coming here from the Yankee Diary page and was thrilled to learn about the significance of tulip blocks in NY quilts. I was lucky enough to see the Reconciliation quilt in person in 2014 at the NY(C) Historical Society's exhibit of the "Homefront and Battlefield" collection. I used Andover Fabrics repeat print of Honstain's tulip block from their line "From Lucinda's Window" as a backing for a reproduction quilt.

  3. Such interesting reading! I am a quilter from Western New York State, between Buffalo and Rochester, and have a few antique quilts that I've rescued at the local auction. Thank you for this post.