Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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Mexican Shellflower & Calla Lily Textile

Considered by many to be the most popular chintz for quilt makers in the 1840s, the Mexican Shellflower, Calla Lily and Tulip can be found in many beautiful chintz quilts. This textile was one of the “Famous Fabrics” that we tracked in our book Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection where we provide a list of the many quilts using the fabric.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has the original antique fabric in unused condition. There also appears to be a block printed border fabric that was made in 1824 prior to the larger floral fabric. The larger flower fabric was created in England during 1830s to 1840s, although the specific manufacturer is unknown. The existing textile shows that unlike other medallions of the period, this was not originally designed as a medallion. It has one repeat of the floral design across the width of the fabric, with a textured background.

Based on the number of quilts using the fabric, it must have been readily available in the United States on the east coast with quilts created using the fabric in many cities and states. The lack of an official medallion frame didn’t stop the inspired 19th century quilters from using it in many ways including the corner of Mathematical Stars or Star of Bethlehem. The fabric was used as an individual cutout chintz block, or as a center medallion.

Quilt & Textile Collections is pleased to offer a reproduction of the well-loved floral design based on fabric in the Poos Collection. Our background has a subtle linen look with the full design in 2 sizes. The 24-inch size which is a similar size to the original, and a 12-inch size. We have also designed a 6-inch cornerstone of the Mexican Shellflower to coordinate with the larger florals. Here is the link to get your own reproduction medallions. We can’t wait to see what you make with these medallions!