Theorem painting, or stenciling, was a popular decorative art practiced by young ladies in the early 19th century. Stenciling not only adorned furniture and framed art, but also decorated collars, reticules (small, drawstring handbags) and other fashion accessories. A small but significant number of quilts and bed coverings in New England were also embellished with this technique. Sometimes the scale and overall arrangment reflect an architectural influence, with stenciling that might otherwise be used as a wall decoration. Other stencils, including those used in the white areas of this quilt, are smaller and more delicately proportioned, as one might find embellishing other textile accessories.
|Pieced and Stenciled Quilt, Eight-Pointed Star Pattern, 1837 |
Clarissa Moore (1820-1912), Eastford, Connecticut. Cotton, paint, 107" x 105 1/4". OSV 26.23.162.
Clarissa Moore was seventeen when she pieced and stenciled this amazing quilt. She combined piecing techniques, using an eight-pointed star variation, and stenciling to personalize her creation. This quilt was clearly of sentimental importance and was passed down as a family heirloom.