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

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

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet, figured
Date made
mid 19th century
date made
c. 1840
Pursell, Daniel
place made
United States: Ohio, Portsmouth
Physical Description
double weave (overall production method/technique)
medallion (center pattern)
red (overall color)
white (overall color)
blue (overall color)
overall: 87 in x 77 in; 220.98 cm x 195.58 cm
overall: 86 in x 78 in; 218.44 cm x 198.12 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Ethel V. Walker
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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