February 25, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 2)

John Hall (1739-1797), a British artist and engraver, produced in 1775 an engraved print based on Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  His engraving reversed the image of the original painting, causing the figures to be facing in opposite directions than those painted by West.  Hall titled his print "William Penn's treaty with the Indians, when he founded the province of Pennsylvania in North American, 1681".  This print was published in June of 1775 by John Boydell in London.

Copperplate print of Benjamin West's painting engraved by John Hall in 1775.  Photograph of
 print courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George 
Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Painting of John Hall by American artist Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), 1785.  Hall is holding a copy
of his print based on Benjamin West's "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  A holding of
the National Portrait Gallery, London, England.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Hall print received wide distribution after its publication and several artists later used it as the basis for their own depictions of the allegorical work by West.  Two of these depictions were painted by Quaker artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849).  The first, painted in 1833, is his famous painting titled "The Peaceable Kingdom".  It features a depiction of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" in the background.

Edward Hicks' "The Peaceable Kingdom".  A holding of the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D. C.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

The other "Penn's Treaty" painted by Hicks is dated 1847.

Edward Hicks' version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" based on the print by John Hall.
Private collection.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

We found one example of a textile that reproduces the orientation of Hall's print.  That is, unlike the textiles shown last time from the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, this textile was printed with West's image reversed.  It is used as the central panel in a quilt belonging to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.  The quilt is attributed to Martha Washington as maker.

Brown plate-printed linen panel depicting Hall's version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  
Photograph courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's 
Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

"Penn's Treaty Quilt" attributed to Martha Washington.  Photograph courtesy of
the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon,
Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The quilt itself measures 100 X 100 inches and is described by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association as being a "quilted and patchwork bedspread, developed on the basis of concentric squares."  The fabrics are described as "multi-color glazed block-printed linens and cottons with penciling."

This and all prior photographs of the quilt blocks courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies'
Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Barbara Brackman posted information about this quilt on her "1812 War & Piecing" blog.  She cites a 1905 biography of Tobias Lear who was George Washington's Secretary.  The biography featured a photograph of this quilt with a caption saying that is was presented by Martha Washington to Mrs Lear.  Mrs. Lear was Frances Dandridge Henley Lear, Tobias' third wife, and Martha Washington's niece.  The quilt was a gift to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association from Louisa Lear Eyre in 1931.

Our special thanks to Dawn Bonner of the Mount Vernon organization for so generously sharing the photographs and information about this spectacular quilt.


Barbara Brackman's "1812 War & Piecing" blog post of October 9, 2011.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Personal email correspondence with Dawn Bonner, George Washington's Mount Vernon.

(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

February 14, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 1)

The English Quaker William Penn first visited the New World in 1682 after receiving a grant of 45,000 acres of land from King Charles II in payment of a debt owed Penn's father.  The grant took place in 1681 and Penn's land would become the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

William Penn (1644-1718).  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Penn's intention upon arriving in the New World was to create a "Holy Experiment" -- a colony based on Quaker principles and dedicated to religious tolerance, participation by members of the population in governance, and brotherly love amongst men.  The result of his vision was a growing population of people with diverse religious beliefs and practices who sought the freedom to worship as they chose while living among the native population whose land they occupied.

While freedom of religion remained key to the colonial experience Penn created, equality among members of the various religions was not.  Government participation in the form of office-holding and voting was restricted to those Christians who believed in "Jesus Christ as the son of God and the Savior of the World".  (Kashatus.)  Jewish settlers were denied the vote and participation in government by Catholics was restricted because of their perceived allegiance to the Pope.

In promoting "brotherly love", Penn was particularly concerned about relations with the Native American population.,  He wanted his government and fellow-colonists to treat the native population with respect and as friends.  At the same time, he insisted that they give their consent to the occupation of their territory.  Penn established conditions that colonists and Quaker officials were to follow when dealing with the Native Americans.  According to Kashatus, these included "sharing the land, trading goods of the same quality sold in the marketplace, and trial by jury."  But, believing that Native Americans lacked the necessary intellect to constructively participate in government, they too were denied the opportunity to vote and hold office.

Penn entered into a number of treaties with local Native Americans in an attempt to ensure the peace and promote good will.  Not all of these transactions treated the Native Americans fairly or honestly, and promises given by the colonists weren't always kept.  However, Penn's persistent attempt to maintain peace and harmony through treaty agreements because a legendary subject for artists.

An allegorical painting by the English artist Benjamin West was commissioned by Penn's son, Thomas, in 1770 or 1771 to commemorate the meetings Penn held with local tribesmen.  This painting depicts a meeting involving Penn, colonial merchants, and members of the Lenni Lanape tribe at Shackamaxon on the Delaware River.

"Penn's Treaty with the Indians" by Benjamin West (1738-1820).  A holding of the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Of particular note is the object of trade being examined by the tribesmen.  It is a bolt of white cloth, offered in exchange for occupying the land that gave rise to Philadelphia and its suburbs.  In the recent publication Interwoven Globe, Amy Bogansky speculates that the cloth may represent all trade goods since weapons, alcohol, and tobacco were also traded at the time.  (Peck, 287.)  The cloth certainly presents a more "respectful" and peaceful image than would the portrayal of these other goods.

This fictional depiction of Penn's interactions with the local Native Americans was copied by engravers, repeated as a motif in paintings into the next century, and became the topic of scenic textiles.  The best-known textiles based on West's painting are furnishing fabrics produced in England during the late 1780s.

Copper-plate printed, cotton textile depicting "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" produced in England
c. 1785.  A holding of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.  Photograph courtesy of the
Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Another textile of the same date printed in red.  Also a holding of the Winterthur
Museum, Garden and Library. Photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, 
Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Whole cloth quilt comprised of panels of the "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" fabric,
1780-1800.  A holding of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.  Photograph 
courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Another holding of the Winterthur Museum is a piece of fabric depicting the Penn's Treaty theme probably printed in England in the early twentieth century.  It is based on the English fabrics printed earlier in the 1780s.

Photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library,
Winterthur, Delaware.

According to Florence Montgomery, at least three versions of the Penn's Treaty scene are know, all "taken from John Hall's print published by John Boydell in London in 1775."  (Montgomery, 285.)  This print by English engraver John Hall will be discussed in our next post -- one that leads to the description of a quilt attributed to Martha Washington that features a Penn's Treaty textile as its central panel.

Special thanks to Catharine Dann Roeber and Linda Eaton at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library for so generously sharing photographs and information about the Museum's Penn's Treaty textiles.


William C. Kashatus.  "William Penn's Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity" in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, Volume XXXVII, Number 2, Spring 2011.

Florence M. Montgomery.  Printed Textiles, English and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850.  A Winterthur Book.  New York: The Viking Press, 1970.

Object Reports, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 2014.

Amelia Peck, ed.  Interwoven Globe, The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800.  New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

February 1, 2014

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt

In our last post we looked at a tattered quilt that came out of the Lupton-Bond House on Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia.  This time, we will see another quilt attributed directly to one of the ladies of that house, Ann M. Lupton Bond (1840-1920).  This dynamic 81 X 98 inch quilt has blocks measuring 14 1/2 X 14 1/2 inches.  One of the many names for this block pattern is "Doves in the Window".

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt.  Photograph by John Herr.  Collection of John and Katie Anderson.

You might notice that there seems to be some confusion in the block four rows down, second from the right. One often-repeated theory is that craftsmen of both sexes (quilters, weavers, potters, etc.) sometimes intentionally made mistakes because only God is perfect but scholars now consider this a myth.  We can speculate many reasons this block appears as it does but, no matter the cause, we feel its presence lends an irresistible charm.

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt, detail.  Photograph by John Herr. Collection of John 
and Katie Anderson.

Ann Lupton Bond.  Photograph courtesy of John and Katie Anderson.

Ann was the daughter of Jonah Lupton and his second wife, Lydia Walker Lupton.  The Luptons lived just west of Apple Pie Ridge on Babb's Run.  Ann married orchardist John Bond in 1873 at the age of thirty-three, moving into his family's home.  The Bonds lived on Apple Pie Ridge--a nine mile stretch of Virginia orchards and farmland--in a c. 1810-1830 house with an early, front addition.  The house is still occupied by descendants.

Lupton-Bond House.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.

Ann was a respected Elder in Hopewell Monthly Meeting and the mother of six children, four of whom lived to maturity.  She is buried in the Quaker Upper Ridge Cemetery on Apple Pie Ridge.  It was an honor to include her quilt in the 2008 exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum and Mary's publication "Quilts and Quaker Heritage".  It is a pleasure to share it with our readers.

Virginia Quilt Museum, second floor gallery, 2008.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.