Star of Bethlehem and unknown foliate pattern

Star of Bethlehem and unknown foliate pattern

Artist: Made by Mary Jane Vincent 
Type: Piece and appliquéd cotton, linen
Year: circa 1860
Size/Dimensions: 74 x 73 in. 
Origin: Gift of Nona V. Ogle
Accession Number: 88.47

A tradition in the Vincent family was for the mothers in the family to christen their baby’s birth with a newly made quilt. True to this custom, Mary Jane Vincent completed her Star of Bethlehem on the night her son was born, in 1860. The quilt stayed in the Vincent family well into the late 20th century, until the dying days of the family’s last heir, Nona (Ogle) Vincent. In 1988, Vincent mailed the quilt to the museum with a letter that read: “I am sending my father’s quilt in your care… If you like the quilt, please keep it and restore it, I am 81 years of age, my health is no good, I will not be able to keep it much longer. I am the last one of the immediate family.”

An expansion on the central medallion concept of earlier quilts, the star begins in the center, and thousands of diamond-shaped cutouts emanate to the quilt’s outermost edges. The prismatic effect of this pattern is believed to have been influenced by the invention of the kaleidoscope in the early 19th century.

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Star of Bethlehem and unknown foliate pattern