Dutch Patchwork/Applique Coverlet

The most important feature of this coverlet is the applique tulips which I believe are unique to a coverlet or quilt. The variety of prints used is huge and very few are repeated. 


the central square applique with a cusped roundel cut from a red monochrome print, with hand blocked and hand painted floral oak leaves applque to a dark brown cotton, printed with small trails of pinks (carnations) and hand painted with blue pencilling, surrounded by 404 pieced triangles, in a variety of techniques, a few Indian indigo resist chintzes, hand blocks, copper plate and roller prints, some monochrome (toile de jouy type) in red, blue/green and green and some multi coloured, predominantly in shades of beige to brown with lots of pinks to aubergine prints, some indigo and china-blue blue, green and yellow, two diagonal outer corners with large squares conaining applique tulips in soft red patterned with flowers, the leaves of fine stripe and the stems of a small green patterned cotton , the opposing corners with applique sunflowers in yellow cotton printed with a small oval design, the leaves and stem similar to the tulips, narrow guard stripes seperate the outer border contsining larger triangles interspersed with diagonal zig zags, lined with cotton, 7ft 11 in  x 6ft 5 in or 2.41 x 1.95 m

The central square 21 in or 53 cm.  The central traingles 6 1/2 in or 16 cm. The outer border's  triangles are 9 in or23 cm longest sides.



In remarkable good condition with many glazed cottons. Clearly unwashed.

The very central roundel has some very light brown staining which has also seeped into the points of the oak leaves. The backing cloth of one of the tulip squares has a split to three quarters of the length and an additional two smaller slits. The second tulip square also has some slight wear to the background fabric. Only one triangle in the border is badly damaged. This has a brown ground and hand blocked with cream spots.

The central ground of triangles has two with brown stains and then a little group of 4 each with one corner with a light brown stain. 1 triangle is badly stained; 1 with some damage.

Photos of course are available of all the damaged areas.


The quality of the fabric is high and only the odd piece has a looser weave. The cottons on the coverlet are Indian chintz with red, yellow and blue grounds, printed for the Dutch market; indigo resist prints;  prints in monocrome red, green and blue/grey; Geometric French prints; Dark background chintz from Alsace; and English prints. Some are from the 1780's such as the print with a vermiculated background..

I have counted some of the prints.  For instance there is only 1 example of a pencilled indigo blue hand painted , so called china blue. There are 31 monchrome prints.. There are about 6 Indian hand painted examples made for the Dutch market. French copies of Indian hand painted cottons. Wonderful finely drawn English botanical prints. There are only two yellow prints, one used for the sunflowers, the other for the small quarter moons in the corners of the large central square. 2 prints  have selvedge end markings. so ends of rolls.

English printed textiles were imported in large quantities into the Netherlands during the 18th century. Some of the brown geometric prints are in a French sample book illustrated in An Moonan's book A History of Dutch Quilts.

There is one woven cotton damask triangle with a very small design of a flower bud and flower head, in madder and indigo, situated in the outer border, near the sewn on rings (presumably made into a curtain at some stage). These can easily be removed.

This coverlet is most likely from the  the trading area of Zaanssomons in the north of Holland which was a booming area at this period of time. The coverlet was bought from the son of  a Mrs  Kuyper, now deceased.He did not know anything about the coverlet's history. His mother lived in Purmerend in the province of North Holland, a small town north of Amsterdam in the rich dairy area. Unfortinately no more information is available.

Similar examples can be found in the Netherlands Open Air Museum, Anhem (TR47-1978); the Vusco Museum, Helmond (S 10/3) both illustrated in Moonan's book.  Another can be found in the collection of the International Quilt Study Collection in Nebraska.

The coverlet has been looked with great admiration and interest at by the following:

Bridget Long, ex President of the Quilters Guild of Great Britain.

Dr P.A. Sykas, Research Associate, MIRIAD
Manchester Metropolitan University

John Styles
Research Professor in History, University of Hertfordshire
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum

John Styles carried out computer magnification of the prints whereby we could see the cotton structure of all the prints and the painting/printing. As we have said one is woven cotton.


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