American Quilts at the Georgia Museum of Art, an exhibition celebrating the museum’s dedication to building an important collection of quilts and other decorative arts with a focus on works made in or of significance to Georgia, is on display until Nov. 19.
Because of their size and fragility, quilts can be difficult to incorporate into traditional installations of the museum’s permanent collection galleries. This exhibition provides, for the first time, an opportunity to display together the quilts in the museum’s collection.
There is a range of quilts on display, including formal presentation quilts from the mid-19th century as well as casual, informal quilts with brightly stitched names from the mid-20th century.
These textiles include a chintz appliqué quilt (above), also known as a Broderie Perse quilt. It contains 30 squares hand-inscribed in ink with patriotic text, expressions of friendship, passages from the Bible and verses relating to death and mourning.
It is attributed to the Sewing Society of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia. This society was founded in 1839 to “assist pious young men in the preparation for the gospel ministry by furnishing them with clothing and also to promote social and religious intercourse among the members of the church and congregation.”
It appears to have been made for Frances Henrietta Holcombe Tucker Hoff, the daughter of the Rev. Henry Holcombe, pastor at First Baptist Church of Philadelphia. She had a son named Henry Holcombe Tucker with her first husband, Germaine Tucker of Warren County. Their son became a Baptist minister and served as president of Mercer University in Macon from 1866 to 1871 and then as chancellor of the University of Georgia from 1874 to 1878.