1795 M. Campbell's Reverse Applique Quilt

Embroidered in dark brown silk cross-stitches and eye-stitches along the top right edge of the center of this quilt is "M. Campbell 1795." This quilt is a rare dated and signed example of the use of reverse appliqué which is found in the center panel and the eight border motifs. In reverse appliqué, the positions of the pattern and background fabrics are reversed from those of onlaid appliqué. The silhouette of the pattern is cut out of the background fabric, and openings are filled by applying a contrasting fabric from underneath. It was not often used in American quilts. The remainder of the quilt top is of geometric pieced work.
Block printed cotton fabrics of floral prints, stripes, and small geometrics, mostly on brown or tan grounds, were used for the appliqué and piecework. The lining is linen and the filling cotton. All appliquéd motifs are outline quilted along both the inside and outside edges. The white backgrounds, center border, and printed fabric blocks in the outer border are quilted in a diagonal grid and chevron patterns, seven stitches to the inch. M. Campbell's skillfully worked quilt is a notable example of the reverse appliqué technique.
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Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton, linen (overall material)
thread, linen, silk (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 99 in x 88 in; 251 cm x 223 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Chronology: before 1820
Sewing and Knitting
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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