Daniel Pursell (attrib.); coverlet; Figured and Fancy, double-cloth; c. 1840; Ohio


This Figured and Fancy, double-cloth coverlet is undated, although the object file contains a newspaper clipping suggesting that it is dated 1840. There is also no corner block or trademark to help identify the weaver. The centerfield is made up of a lattice-work of squares reminiscent of the “Single Chariot Wheel” pattern found in geometric double-cloth and overshot coverlets. Inside the lattice-work are alternating rows of sunbursts and stylized medallions. The side borders are double rows of grapes with leafy vines. The top has no border and the bottom border is just a thin zig-zag interspersed with dots. There is fringe on three sides. The double-cloth structure requires two sets of warps and wefts. Each set is made up of a 2-ply, S-twist, Z-spun cotton yarn and a similarly spun wool yarn. The weaver has expertly arranged the red- and blue-colored wools in the warp and weft to create gridded pattern of color that is amplified by the double-cloth structure and the white cotton.

Although the coverlet is unsigned, it is still possible to attribute this piece to the workshop of a weaver in Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio, Daniel Purcell (1812-1880). Clarita Anderson and Robert Heisey both mention Purcell in their catalogs of known weavers. He only dated one coverlet that is known, but based on census records we can estimate that Daniel Purcell was weaving in Scioto County from approximately 1840 until his enlisted in the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Battery L in 1861 as a bugler. In the 1870 Federal Census, Daniel Purcell is listed as a paper-maker, having abandoned weaving after the Civil War. In the 1880 Federal Census, Purcell is listed as a drug store attendant in Logan, Hocking County, Ohio. He died shortly after. Purcell appears to have designed his own patterns. It is not clear what kind of loom he wove on or how his business was organized, but he clearly had an eye for design and color and ranks as one of Ohio’s most skilled coverlet weavers.

Date Made: mid 19th centuryDate Made: c. 1840

Maker: Pursell, Daniel

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Ohio, Portsmouth

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Textiles, Coverlets, Textiles


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Ethel V. Walker

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TE.T12615Catalog Number: T12615.000Accession Number: 234386

Object Name: coverlet, figured

Physical Description: double weave (overall production method/technique)medallion (center pattern)red (overall color)white (overall color)blue (overall color)Measurements: overall: 87 in x 77 in; 220.98 cm x 195.58 cmoverall: 86 in x 78 in; 218.44 cm x 198.12 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-969a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_620467

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