1840 - 1860 Susan Esputa's Patriotic Embroidered Counterpane

Description
Susan Adel Esputa embroidered this elegant counterpane in the style of album quilts of the period. She used a tambour hook--a sharp-pointed, hook-shaped needle--to create tiny chain stitches on the surface of the fabric by pulling thread through the fabric from a continuous supply below it. The fine crewel yarns used were from colorful braids widely used at the time for decorating clothing.
The overall layout is of patterned blocks with decorative sashing and borders. Susan copied the designs for the blocks from favorite illustrations, and drew her own patterns for the borders.
Susan Adel Esputa and her husband, Francis, both were born in Spain. Susan, an accomplished guitarist, and Francis, a musician, came to Washington in about 1839. Francis taught music. One of their children, John (1830-1882) performed with U.S. Navy and Marine bands and taught music. One of his students was John Phillip Sousa.
When their granddaughter, Josephine Esputa Daly, donated this bedcover in 1901, she wrote, “. . . it was worked by my grandmother, a Spanish woman. My father’s mother . . . did it more than fifty years ago. My grandmother had only one perfect hand, her left being two thumbs . . . . The quilt was my story book when we were children, my mother and father taking great pride in describing all the pictures worked on it, the flowers on the curtains of my mother’s bridal parlor shades . . . the title page of ‘Jakey Polka’ . . . the ‘Lover’s Quarrel’ and many other pictures . . . . The borders are all original designs.”
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
bedcover, embroidered
date made
1840-1860
maker
Esputa, Susan Adel
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton, wool (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 94 in x 92 in; 237 cm x 232 cm
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
TE*E209971
catalog number
E209971
accession number
37898
subject
Quilts
Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Government, Politics, and Reform
Quilting
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Quilts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Josephine Esputa Daly
Additional Media

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