New London County Quilts and Bed Covers, 1750–1825 – Old Lyme, CT

February 15, 2022 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
96 Lyme Street
Old Lyme CT 06371
$10 adults; $9 seniors, $8 students, free to kids 12 and under
Blue Bed Rug

Blue Bed Rug, Attributed to Jerusha Foote Johnson (1755‒1831), Colchester
Bed rug, 1782
Collection of Rick and Susan Copeland

February 12 – May 1, 2022

Some of America’s most celebrated items of textile folk art were produced by women from New London County, Connecticut and nearby areas. This exhibition, guest curated by Lynne Bassett, brings together for the first time two important groups of these lauded textiles: petticoats uniquely quilted with an array of animals and maritime motifs, and embroidered bed rugs. Masterful stuffed whitework and appliquéd bed covers demonstrate the continuation into the early 19th century of this region’s extraordinary needlework heritage and the family connections that nurtured them.

High-style European design filtered down to colonial New England through pattern books referenced by craftsmen and through imported goods, such as lining papers, ceramics, silver, and lace, inspiring regional interpretations in various decorative arts. Examples of the books and household objects that inspired the unique designs of New London County’s needlewomen are displayed here alongside their quilts and bed rugs.

New London County’s general economic stability, with prosperous seafaring ventures and farming, allowed many families to have household help (both enslaved and free), which provided the hours necessary for middle- and upper-class women to pursue their needle artistry.

Handicap accessible

Parking: ample on-site parking

Food: available nearby

Red bedcover

Red bedcover, Unidentified maker, “PG”
Quilted petticoat made into a bed quilt; petticoat ca. 1750‒1760; bed quilt ca. 1810‒1840
Wool, broadcloth/muslin
International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005.016.0001