These family quilts are all beautifully constructed, but as they were studied for recurring patterns we noticed that several of them contain odd, seemingly random choices of fabrics.
To creative eyes, the visual effect evokes a feeling of spontaneity, lending a charming surprise fo viewers.
We find the same occurrence on another quilt bearing the name of George W. Holmes. The large blocks set on point (diagonally) between broad bands of sashing distinguish this handsome quilt, as do the diamonds emanating from the ends of the eight-pointed stars.
Anne Holmes' name is inscribed on two of the seven Holmes Family quilts, but others are inscribed with the names of her siblings George and Lorena. This is not the first time we have found a group of family quilts inscribed with the names of siblings. It reminds us that a name inscribed on a quilt might - but does not necessarily - denote the quilt's maker. Furthermore, while there is documentation of nineteenth-century quilts made by men, there is such a strong oral family tradition that the quilts were made by Anne that it is unlikely that George made "his own" quilt.
George (1847-1915) became a Director in the Loudoun National Bank at Leesburg, Virginia. He married Rebecca Crockett and they had two children. They resided in Woodburn, Virginia, in a home they called "Meadow View Farm"
When studying historical quilts, it is important to ask as many questions as possible. Anne and her sister lived with their parents for many decades and together even after their parents had died and Anne was married. It is possible both worked on the quilts. Their mother, Esther (or "Hester") Thomas Holmes lived from 1817-1892. She may have had a hand in them too, as well as any of the help who shared their abode. However, given the family tradition attributing the quilts to Anne, we will record her as the most likely maker of these wonderful quilts.
Photographs by Mary Holton Robare.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2014.