Cockscomb from the collection of Lynn Evans Miller
Bettina Havig's version of Hospital Sketches #2
The Cockscomb is Block #2 in the Hospital Sketches BOM of fashionable mid-19th-century designs. See a post with a pattern at Civil War Quilts:
The popularity of this rather eccentric design is surprising.
Attributed to Berks County, Pennsylvania
How the pattern was handed around and any regional preferences are hard to figure out. You see it a lot in Virginia, but you also see it a lot in Indiana.
The design wasn't published until 1900 or so,
decades after quilters began using it.
"When Patchwork Becomes an Art"
by Rebecca Mosenfelder Simon
Ladies' Home Journal, 1908.
Simon called it The Olive Branch, a symbol of peace.
This quilt, quite mid-19th-century, looks a lot like her example.
The Ladies' Art Company also called it The Olive Branch.
You could buy a finished block for 85 cents from them.
I'll take 9.
Collection of the Belchertown Historical Society
From the Massachusetts project & the Quilt Index.
It's also surprising to see how often it was used in samplers
and friendship quilts.
Here's an antique from Judy Roche's collection and her
Dillow Collection in the International Quilt Study Center & Museum,
dated 1861, attributed to Fulton County, Pennsylvania
From Julie Silber's inventory
Most of these are from the mid-19th century when the pattern appeared.
Even though I can't tell you much about its history I have a lot of photos. Since we like to look at quilts here are some pictures of the cockscomb and its variations:
Four way symmetry dated 1859 from a Bonham's Auction
Two way symmetry from Jeffrey Evans Auction
in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (I think.)
Various parts re-assembled
From the collection of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
Another 20th-century version
With the Vessel, Vine & Floral border, by Frances
Shaw of Hagerstown, Maryland. West Virginia project
and the Quilt Index.
From Molly at Fourth Corner Antiques
A Different flower at the base
Jean Stanclift owns an antique that she copied for our Sunflower
Pattern Cooperative book Cranberry Collection.
Jean's pattern is very much like one below from the Carlson Collection
of Four-Block Quilts at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
As a border from a Pook & Pook Auction
Several quilt historians asked where the bird was. This one
from Bill Volckening.
See more about the bird:
By Emily Johnson, North Carolina Project & the Quilt Index
Posts on the pattern