Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection
Mary Remington was just twenty-three years old when in 1815 she created a beautiful and intricate white work quilt in anticipation of her impending marriage. Mary's quilt, and the letters that she penned over the years to Peleg Congdon, first her fiance and then her husband, provide both an elegant framework for interpreting the outstanding quilt collection at Winterthur and a fascinating glimpse into life in nineteenth-century America. The themes of each chapter are drawn from Mary's letters, which describe how her life was affected by politics and war, the volatility of international trade and the growth of the American textile industry. Her letters also describe the literature she read, her decision to marry a man whose motives she questioned, the social difficulties she later experienced living apart from her husband and the pride she took in her family heritage, which is reflected in her quilt - the only known example of an American quilted coat of arms. With the strength of the collection falling into the period of the late 1700s and early 1800s, these rare survivals are themselves a grouping of unusual depth and beauty. young woman from a previous century and discover, through her quilt and letters, that the passing of time does little to alter human nature.
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