1840 - 1860 Paulding Family's "Tyger" Quilt

“I have a quilt that has been in my husband’s family for generations . . . It is supposed to have been slept under by Martha Washington . . .” was the claim when it was offered in 1974. While the quilt was probably made in the mid-19th-century, the fabric that was used made the quilt exceptional. It is a copperplate-printed cotton produced in 1785 by Bromley Hall, England’s largest eighteenth-century textile printing firm.
Copperplate-printing is a process, developed after 1760, by which a pattern is etched on a flat plate, color applied by brush with the excess removed by a scraper, and then the plate and fabric passed through a flat printing press. The pattern found on the fabric of this quilt is labeled “Tyger” in the Bromley Hall pattern book. It features a wide variety of classical and pastoral motifs such as two boys riding leopards, architectural ruins, a dancing shepherdess, peacocks, parrots, sunflowers, and dragonflies, among many others.
Both the front and back of this quilt are composed of pieces of fabric copperplate-printed in brown. Each side has its own lining (one of cotton, one of linen), with a layer of cotton wadding between the two linings. A block-printed border is used for edging both layers and the two sides are whipstitched together. Most likely the "Tyger" fabric and block-printed trim were from an early set of bed furniture. The quilting consists of widely-spaced Vs, worked in crooked lines with uneven stitches, plus or minus four stitches per inch.
The quilt was from the William Paulding family of New York . William Paulding Jr. (1770-1854) was a lawyer and active in politics. He served in the War of 1812, and as mayor of New York City 1824-1826. In 1838 Paulding, along with architect Alexander Jackson Davis, designed and built a country villa named “Knoll” (“Pauldings Folly” by his critics). The house is known today as “Lyndhurst” in Tarrytown, N. Y. A National Trust Historic Site, it remains one of the extravagant examples of 19th-century Gothic Revival mansions along the Hudson River.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton, linen (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 89 in x 73 in; 227 cm x 185 cm
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Government, Politics, and Reform
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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