Baltimore, Maryland, "Album" quilt

Attributed to

Martha E. Keech ( American, 1839 - 1930 )

c. 1861
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General Description

Baltimore, Maryland, "Album" quilts, so named for their prevalence in the Atlantic seaport and their resemblance to keepsake albums, form an important moment in American textile history during a period in which manufactured - rather than homespun - fabrics appeared with increasing regularity. The use of a grid of decorative elements and a simple red and green color scheme inspired by textiles of German immigrant communities in nearby Pennsylvania readily identifies them.

While most "Album" quilts were produced by several hands with various levels of competency, the regularity of this example suggests a single quilter, believed to be Martha E. Keech of Baltimore. With a running vine border, this quilt incorporates plain fabrics in red, green, orange, and yellow which are padded or stuffed in a technique called trapunto. Motifs include the common rose wreath, flowerpot, tulip cross, and bible, all rendered in a direct manner that provides the quilt with unexpected and powerful visual clarity.

Adapted from

Kevin Tucker, DMA unpublished material, 2003.

Web Resources

View another Baltimore, Maryland, "Album" quilt in LACMA's permanent collection.