Fruit Basket Too!

Fruit Basket Too!

Initially, the center medallion of this quilt attracted me because of the beautiful detail in the basket, fruits, and bird. I wanted to learn when it had been printed and where. Research revealed, this well-known panel, called the Fruit Basket Medallion or Basket of Fruit, has been documented in approximately forty British and American quilts. It was a favorite of American quilt designer Achsah Goodwin Wilkins, as documented by Dr. William Rush Dunton, Jr. in his 1946 book Old Quilts. In 1923, Maclver Percival featured the Decorative Panel in his book The Chintz Book. Percival described the panel as block printed chintz of the Sheraton period. Thomas Sheraton died in 1806, which placed the panel circa 1800. Mary Conroy notes in her book 300 Years of Canada’s Quilts, a Yorkshire quilt at the Royal Ontario Museum with the Basket of Fruit Medallion. Conroy’s research attributed the panel as printed by Thomas Armitage from Bristol, England.
My sister suggested reproducing the actual panel, which we did in three sizes. The original size of the panel at 25 inches was too large for the study quilt. So, I selected the 12-inch size that Quilt & Textile Collections (QTC) designed and reproduced. Next I began focusing on the frame around the center medallion. I didn’t want to replicate or reproduce, copying another artist. Instead I elected to be inspired by the original quilt, even hand painting my own “chintz like” flowers in the corner to coordinate the medallion with a reproduction fabric I liked. Continuing my tribute to the techniques of the past, I used hand quilting to echo the “appliqué” as well as added grid quilting like on the original, but placed diagonally.