Rose Family Crazy Quilt

Rose Family Crazy Quilt

Artist: Made by the Rose family’s dressmaker
Type: Tufted quilt made from dress and clothing scraps
Year: circa 1880
Size/Dimensions: 66 x 64 in. 
Origin: Gift of Peg Newton Smith
Accession Number: 2003.4.115

America’s infatuation with “Oriental” art began in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where some nine million people visited the Japanese Pavilion. The asymmetrical designs introduced there influenced the spectrum of American decorative arts, but especially appealed to textile designs, in the form of the “crazy quilt” pattern. Cuts of velvety soft earth tones and shiny silks were seamed together with brightly colored embroidery stitches. Eastern motifs like fans and figures in kimonos were popular, as well as other Victorian symbols such as butterflies, daisies, and peacock feathers.

This quilt belonged to the prominent Rose family of Little Rock. Their dressmaker made beautiful use of the formal garments she had sewn for the family’s special occasions. Over the years, members of the Rose family gazed at the quilt and recalled “Ellen’s debut dress,” “Emma’s trousseau gown,” and other fine remnants from which the crazy quilt was made. Certain embellishments make this quilt a sentimental family scrapbook of sorts, such as the initials “U.M.” for Uriah Milton Rose (1834-1913), the family’s figurehead and founder of Rose Law Firm.

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Rose Family Crazy Quilt