This exceptional Victorian crazy quilt is one of several antique quilts in Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society’s collection. When accessioning of the History House collection was begun in 2000 no record was found of who created it or who it belonged to. It wasn’t until about 2007 that we discovered a 1953 newspaper clipping in one of our scrapbooks that finally revealed that it belonged to the Society’s founder, Ina (Stanley) Emery, and that it was made by a relative, Miss Susan Chapman. In that article Mrs. Emery stated that “the heirloom silk quilt was made about 1878 by Miss Susan Chapman of Kezar Falls. Miss Chapman was famous for her needle work in those days and her craft served mostly for the smart set. Without a doubt, she kept the pieces left from the many dresses she had made and from each made this beautiful quilt.” It is embellished with a wide range beautiful embroidery stitching.
A quilt appraiser describes the quilt as followings.
“This Victorian Crazy Quilt has some of the finest embellishment I have ever seen. With single strand silk thread, the artist has created pictorial characters from the 18th century. Each person is depicted in full attire complete with tools he or she may have used in life. The creator of this quilt was not only a person who excelled with the art of the needle, but she was also a graphic artist and a master of color. This exquisite quilt measures 71”x 84” and is comprised of silks and silk velvets from C. 1885. The 2 5/8” silk grosgrain ribbon is used as the sashing and border of the quilt. The fabrics indicate that a family of affluence made the quilt. The backing is a quilted cotton fabric manufactured for use as a backing for crazy quilts. The individual blocks measure approximately 11”x 11” and contain wonderful floral embellishments. The sashing is covered with exquisite floral as well as pictorial embellishments. Scattered through the quilt are Victorian symbols such as horseshoes and animals. Acting as a juncture between each set of blocks is a square on point with the sides measuring 31/2 inches. All these blocks are hand painted depicting flowers, fruit and birds.”
Miss Susan Chapman was born in Porter, Maine December 9, 1835, the daughter of Abraham and Susan (Mason) Chapman, one of seven children. She lived on a farm on Spec Pond Road that was later the home of Walter Carpenter. Susan was a dressmaker. She never married and died at the age of 84, December 9, 1919.
Come by History House this summer and see this beautiful quilt.