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    76.91.2_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg 76.91.2_detail1_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg 76.91.2_detail2_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg CUR.76.91.2.jpg CUR.76.91.2_documentation.jpg

    Crazy Quilt

    Crazy quilts, assembled from remarkable arrays of small, irregular pieces of cloth, became the rage in quilt-making in the late nineteenth century. They were made possible by newly affordable luxury fabrics produced by the growing textile industry and encouraged by women’s magazines dismissive of “old-fashioned,” “dreary” cotton patchwork. Another catalyst was the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where millions of Americans encountered English embroidery, inspired by medieval and oriental aesthetics, and Japanese pottery with a “crazed” or cracked glaze.

    Crazy quilts were used in Victorian homes to decorate public spaces, conveying their makers’ gentility, taste, and artistic skill. They also provided a canvas for women to commemorate important relationships, or to express political preferences and celebrate important social events through the incorporation of banners or souvenir sashes.

    • Culture: American
    • Medium: Silk, silk velvet, silk satin, lace
    • Dates: ca. 1885
    • Dimensions: 69 1/2 x 62 in. (176.5 x 157.5 cm)  (show scale)
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 76.91.2
    • Credit Line: Gift of Arrietta H. Smith
    • Rights Statement:
    • Caption: American. Crazy Quilt, ca. 1885. Silk, silk velvet, silk satin, lace, 69 1/2 x 62 in. (176.5 x 157.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arrietta H. Smith, 76.91.2
    • Image: overall, 76.91.2_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
    • Record Completeness: Good (66%)
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