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Old 03-24-2018, 10:15 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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March 25th, 2018: Autograph Quilt

Back in the 1850s young ladies didn’t run wild in the streets like in the 20th century, they spent their leisure time doing useful
things like quilting. One style was the autograph quilt with the signatures of people involved with a particular happening like a
wedding or celebration.
In 1856, 17 year old Adeline Harris Sears had a bigger idea, a quilt with celebrity autographs.

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She sent a small diamond of white silk in the post with an explanation of her project and a request that they send it back to her signed. The returned and now autographed fragments were then worked into the quilt as the “top” planes in a wonderful trompe l’oeil tumbling block design.


Now isn't that better than Bee's Knees & 23 skidoo, or sex, drugs, and Rock&Roll?

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The response she got to her unusual request was nothing short of phenomenal — she ended up incorporating 360 signed pieces in total, including those from such luminaries as Jacob Grimm, Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Abraham Lincoln (one of eight American presidents represented). According to her grand-daughter the Lincoln signature was, due to a family connection, actually acquired in person, and Adeline was meant to have even danced with Lincoln at his inauguration ball.

As for the process, conservator Elena Philips explains that, after examining the seams along the quilt top, it can be seen that “first she stitched the individual diamonds into blocks, then connected the blocks into columns, and finally seamed the columns together across the entire width. In total, she cut and stitched 1,840 individual silk pieces to create the quilt… [and used] more than one hundred and fifty different silk fabrics.”
I wonder how many times she got pricked sewing that?

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Old 03-24-2018, 10:46 PM   #2
sexobon
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Reminds me of a story I read long ago about someone who wanted to combine collecting autographs with numismatics. That person sent a SASE to famous people, along with a letter of explanation, requesting the VIP send a signed check for $.01. Many did, including some of the most widely recognized people of the time; however, the person's 2 or 3 most favorite celebs weren't among them. It was still a notable accomplishment.
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Old 03-26-2018, 01:32 AM   #3
mrputter
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
360 signed pieces in total, including those from such luminaries as Jacob Grimm, Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Abraham Lincoln (one of eight American presidents represented).
Wow.
This is... borderline incomprehensible to me; the word "priceless" doesn't even begin to do it justice.

I would have to imagine it's one of the more valuable pieces in the Met's collection...
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:09 AM   #4
glatt
 
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Originally Posted by sexobon View Post
Reminds me of a story I read long ago about someone who wanted to combine collecting autographs with numismatics. That person sent a SASE to famous people, along with a letter of explanation, requesting the VIP send a signed check for $.01. Many did, including some of the most widely recognized people of the time; however, the person's 2 or 3 most favorite celebs weren't among them. It was still a notable accomplishment.
I once wrote a check for something like 30 billion dollars to a friend during college. She never tried to cash it, thankfully. I wouldn't be able to handle the bounced check fees. We were all amused.
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