1800 - 1850 Mary Jessop's Appliqued Quilt Top

This quilt top was made at Vaux Hall, a plantation near Baltimore, Md., owned by Charles Jessop. The center square, composed of motifs printed about 1800 and appliquéd with linen thread, has been attributed to Mary Gorsuch Jessop. The corners, with chintz motifs printed about 1830 and sewn with cotton thread, were added later.
The sixteen block-printed motifs applied to the center square are the work of John Hewson (1744-1821), one of the few 18th-century American textile printers who have been identified. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin to leave England before the Revolutionary War, Hewson set up his printing works on the banks of the Delaware River near Philadelphia. There he worked with such skill and success that the British, who sought to eliminate competition for their products, posted a reward during the Revolutionary War for his body, dead or alive.
Hewson survived to demonstrate fabric-printing, aboard a float, in the Grand Federal Procession held on July 4, 1788, in Philadelphia, to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution. William Bagnall ‘s The Textile Industries of the United States , published in 1893, states, “President Washington was accustomed to point with patriotic pride to domestic fabrics worn by Mrs. Washington and printed at the works of . . . Hewson.”
Mary Gorsuch, born in Baltimore County, Md., in 1767, married Charles Jessop (1759-1828) in 1786. Their son, William, was born in 1800 about the same time that Charles bought 200 acres of land and built Vaux Hall. Mary died in 1830. William’s wife and Mary’s daughter-in-law, Cecilia Barry Jessop, may have added the corners to the quilt top in 1830. William inherited Vaux Hall and lived there until his own death in 1866 (or 1869). Vaux Hall, named for gardens in England, was destroyed in the 1930s in the construction of a dam for Baltimore.
The quilt top was placed in a trunk with other finished family quilts and put in commercial storage. At a later date it was discovered that the lock of the trunk was broken and the finished quilts missing, leaving only this quilt top. The quilt top is significant for the John Hewson prints that were used for the appliqué.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Jessop, Mary Gorsuch
Barry, Cecelia
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, linen, cotton (overall material)
filling, none (overall material)
overall: 63 in x 63 in; 161 cm x 161 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Baltimore county
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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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