Published: February 12, 2008
The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center has opened a new exhibition, “Cover Stories: Quilts and Bed Coverings from Regional Collections,” which will be on view through March 23.
This exhibit features more than 30 bed coverings, made during a 125-year period from 1770 to 1900, many of which have never before been on display. Each quilt comes with its own personal history and the collection tells the story of families whose livelihoods were tied to local industries, including textile production, sewing machine manufacturing, needle and button making. Together they tell the story of the shift from colonial domestic self-sufficiency through the rise of manufacturing.
Both private collectors and institutional lenders have contributed to the show. Connecticut quilts on view include “Whig Rose Variation,” circa 1818, which was made by students of Miss Sarah Pierce’s Female Academy in Litchfield. Quilt historian Sue Reich loaned “Young Man’s Fancy,” circa 1830, which was made by Content Newtown of Durham.
A spinning wheel and a quilt made by Lois Hotchkiss comes from a private collection in Vernon. Hotchkiss was born in Waterbury in 1795 and to help her mother who was widowed early and left to raise many children, Lois sometimes visited her friends with her spinning wheel in tow. “One-Patch,” a calico block on point with sashing is backed with a plain white cloth that was spun and woven by Lois’s mother, Tamar Richardson.
At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, the domestic production of textiles began to decrease as the industrial revolution made its way to Connecticut. Textile mills, wool weaving factories and even silk worm farms grew up along the state’s waterways, creating new towns and factory villages.
This exhibit has been organized by Mattatuck curator Cynthia Roznoy and collections manager Suzie Fateh.
The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center, at 144 West Main Street. For information, 203-753-0381, ext 10, or www.MattatuckMuseum.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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