1840 - 1860 Susan Esputa's Patriotic Embroidered Counterpane

1840 - 1860 Susan Esputa's Patriotic Embroidered Counterpane

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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.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
bedcover, embroidered
date made
Esputa, Susan Adel
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton, wool (overall material)
overall: 94 in x 92 in; 237 cm x 232 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Josephine Esputa Daly
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Government, Politics, and Reform
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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