National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Woven Coverlet Woven Coverlet
Rendered by Charlotte Angus (artist), c. 1940
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 49.4 x 41.3 cm (19 7/16 x 16 1/4 in.) Original IAD Object: 80" long; 104" wide
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 5 of 17

The most colorful and complex of the woven coverlets were those made on looms equipped with a Jacquard attachment. This device, invented in France by Joseph Jacquard in 1801, contained a series of pattern cards, punched through with holes through which the threads were guided. Mounted on an existing loom in place of the conventional heddles, this mechanism allowed each thread in the warp to be separately controlled, thus making possible an almost unlimited range of patterns and variations in design. The Jacquard attachment was introduced in America in the 1820s, resulting in the production of innumerable elaborately patterned coverlets. Here is a detail of a Jacquard coverlet made in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. While patriotic symbols, such as the American eagle, were frequently featured in Jacquard designs, this coverlet retains traditional Pennsylvania German motifs in its stylized tulips, roosters, and stars. Woven inscriptions often appear at the corners of Jacquard coverlets. Here the weaver has followed the common practice of including his own name and that of the owner, the date, and the name of the county.

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