Elizabeth Johnstone; coverlet panel; Summer-and-Winter weave; c. 1770-1790; Connecticut

Elizabeth Johnstone; coverlet panel; Summer-and-Winter weave; c. 1770-1790; Connecticut

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Description
This blue and white, cotton and wool geometric coverlet panel is an excellent example of the structure known as Summer-and-Winter. There is a lot of apocryphal and mythological information circulating about the origins of this structure. Is it an American invention or a European holdover? It is quite likely we will never know. Summer-and-Winter weave is an overshot weave with stricter rules. The supplementary warp yarn cannot float over more than two warp yarns. This creates a tighter fabric and also gives Summer-and-Winter its light (Summer) side and its darker (Winter) side. This particular coverlet panel was woven by the donor’s great-great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Johnstone of Hartford, Connecticut for her dowry chest in the late eighteenth century. A letter from the donor recorded that the family said the coverlet was woven in the “late Revolutionary days.” Elizabeth married John Ashley, also from Connecticut, and the couple moved to Catskill, New York where they raised their family. Elizabeth would later move to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1836 to live with son John Joseph Ashley. The pattern depicted in this panel is most commonly referred to as “Whig Rose.” This panel would likely have been one of three that would have been woven as one length, cut, and sewn together to create the full, finished width. The coverlet was likely separated into panels during subsequent generations as it was passed down through the family.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet panel, Summer-and-Winter
coverlet panel
date made
c. 1770-1790
place made
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
Physical Description
whig rose (overall pattern)
Summer-and-Winter (overall production method/technique)
blue, white (overall color)
cotton (overall material)
wool (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 85 in x 34 in; 215.9 cm x 86.36 cm
ID Number
TE.T10092
catalog number
T10092.000
accession number
180475
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Muriel S. O'Neill
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Coverlets
Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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