Monday, July 17, 2017

Vintage Dresden Plates and an Antique Fabrics Mystery

My weekly quilt group had fun learning about early 20th c fabrics by studying vintage Dresden Plates quilt pieces and a set of cut fabrics circa 1905.

 Cathy had Dresden Plates made by her grandmother.
The blocks inlcuded a marvelous selection of 1920s and 1930s fabrics. Each plate included two solids across from each other. Don't you love the orange in the block below?
The black and white fabrics struck as less usual in Depression era quilts.
The prints included abstracts and florals.
The black on white ground with yellow flowers struck everyone.

This pink is more fuschia than the Bubble Gum pink I connect to 1930s quilts. Note the yellow fabric.

The second quilt we looked at was also a Dresden Plate. Karen had an antique quilt top that she took apart to make her Dresden Plate. She had a photo of the original top and an original block.

The original quilt top
She was in the process of hand quilting the completed top. She used yellow sashing to match a vintage quilt she had liked. We noted how alike the yellow was to the color in Cathy's Dreden Plate blocks made by her grandmother!

Karen showed us how she made paper templates to cut the old fabrics. She left the templates on until the Dresden Plates were appliqued, then pulled them out.
Karen showing the templates 
The templates and extra fabrics are shown below.
Dresden Plate templates
Karen's antique fabrics were very interesting. I was sure they dated to the first fifteen years of the 20th c with some from the late 19thc. But how to 'prove' it?

The fabrics included indigo, double pink, black, and madder browns in checks, stripes, and various prints.
 This pink print has a wonderful optical design.
Some of the fabrics were very thin.
Turkey Red!

This print had a puce ground with light brown stripes and white spots.

There were a number of checks, some with light grounds. And black and white prints.
 I noticed one paper template among the fabrics.
 There was part of an illustration on one side and writing on the other.
I saw the name Delacroix, the famous French painter, that appeared to be under an illustration. And an article by Alice Viola, with her last name only partially left. She wrote that Mr. Fournier had returned to Paris to work. Was the paper from a magazine about art?

I shared photos of these fabrics and the template on the Facebook group Quilts-Vintage and Antique. I heard from Eileen Fry who commented that the article was written by Alice Viola Guysi, born in 1863 and died in 1940. Guysi was a native of Cincinnati who taught art in Detroit schools and the Detroit Museum of Art. She was a contemporary of Alexis Jean Fournier and they both painted in the American Barbizon style.

Fournier was from Minneapolis. He made trips to Paris in 1893, 1895, and 1901.
That indicated that the template paper was printed after one of Fournier's later trips to Paris. We can conjecture that the fabric pieces are from the same time frame, dating them from the late 19th to first few years of the 20th c.

I was interested to discover  Fournier's association with Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft arts community of East Aurora, NY. Fournier was one of the most prolific Arts and Crafts painters. His murals grace the Roycroft Inn.  He moved to East Aurora late in life.

I found that Guysi exhibited in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Alice Violet Guysi's painting exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair
Read an article by Guy from School Arts at

Read more about Elbert Hubbard and his death on the Lusitania at

No comments:

Post a Comment