By: Mary E. Gale and Margaret T. Ordonez
Printed textiles played an important role in decorating eighteenth-century beds and displaying a family’s pecuniary status. Among the fabrics popularly used for bed furnishings and curtains were indigo-resist prints, distinctive because of their blue designs on a white ground. Extant examples today include lined hangings, quilted hangings and bed covers, and yard goods. The designs of these rare textiles share a rich Indian and European heritage. They are very distinctive and amazingly similar on all the existing indigo resists. The authors analyzed and photographed thirty-eight indigo-resist textiles including six indigo-resist quilts housed in several east coast museums. An eighteenth-century pattern book in England, which includes patterns for some of the indigo-resist fabrics, was examined and photographed as well.