1840 - 1860 Sophia Denty's Floral Appliqued Quilt Top

According to family information, shortly after the quilt maker, Sophia Denty, married she moved into a house built in 1729 located in Fairfax, Northern Virginia. The house at the time had an old English garden that Sophia had always admired and it was supposedly the inspiration for the patterns she chose for this quilt top.
Twenty-five 17¼-inch blocks were appliquéd with red and green flowers and leaves in sprays, wreaths, and vases. Embroidery enhances a few of the stems. Two blocks have appliquéd star designs and one has appliquéd pineapples. Plain-weave cottons in plain colors were used. The 8¼-inch border is appliquéd with a meandering vine bearing leaves and buds. The blocks were joined after 1840. The color scheme, red-and-green, and standard designs are typical for many mid-nineteenth-century quilts.
Sophia Barker was born on January 26, 1813, in Fairfax, Virginia. She married James Compton Denty on July 10, 1832. They lived in Northern Virginia with their eight children. Sophia died February 19, 1886 and is buried in the Pohick Church in Accotink, Fairfax, Virginia. Emeline Denty Talbott donated her grandmother’s quilt top to the Smithsonian in 1972.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Denty, Sophia Barker
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
overall: 103 in x 103 in; 261 cm x 262 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Fairfax
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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