Collections › MESDA Collection › Embroidered Coverlet

Embroidered Coverlet

Artist/Maker:
Wynne, Oney Boulton
Place Made:
Caswell County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1780-1790
Medium:
linen and cotton
Dimensions:
HOA 75′; LOA 54′ (approximate)
Accession Number:
4912
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Made of linen warp and cotton weft with cotton thread. One layer, hand stitched and embroidered coverlet with 3 panels. 1/4′ hem is sewn along edges. White linen background with multicolored linen thread flowers, leaves and vines. Variant of the Tree of Life pattern. Bird in tree which is the center motif. Embroidered vine pattern runs around the coverlet in separate inner and outer vines. The vine is blue-gray with varying shapes/types of flowers that sprout off. Leaves are primarily navy blue and flowers are navy, mauve, brown, blue-gray and white. Vines serpentine to make curved pattern. Embroidered in the center of the coverlet is a vine like tree that grows from a pink, white, and blue-gray basket. Branches of tree have various leaves and flowers growing on them in navy blue, mauve, darker pink, brown, blue-gray, and white. Tree also has a navy, blue-gray, brown, and pink bird in the center. Colors appear to be faded and some of the embroidery, primarily the brown thread, has worn away completely. Coverlet has spotty brown staining. The tear in the lower left portion measures approximately 5 1/2′ x 1 1/2′. Four small holes or tears are located directly above the tree. 2 holes, approximatley 1′ each, are in upper left corner.

PATTERN: The pattern appears to be based on the printed “Palampores” imported from India in the 18th century and heavily emulated by American needlewomen in their hand done “work’t” coverlets.

History:
This embroidered coverlet was made by Oney (Boulton) Wynne (c.1765-c,1798). She was probably born in Goochland County, Virginia, where her parents Charles and Elizabeth (Hickins) Boulton were married by the Reverend William Douglas on July 11, 1757. By 1780, the Boultons had moved to large tracts of land granted her father at the juncture of the Dan River and Country Line Creek, just below the Virginia border in present-day Caswell County, North Carolina. In 1786, Oney married Obadiah Wynne (1757-1801) of neighboring Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and the Wynnes quickly joined the mass migration of Virginians and North Carolinians to newly opened lands in Piedmont Georgia. The coverlet was probably made around the time of her marriage in Caswell County on March 4, 1786.

The combination of linen warp and cotton weft in its construction and materials is supported by Charles Boulton’s 1803 will which left to his wife Elizabeth life interest in his plantation and mansion house, twenty slaves, livestock, household furnishings including three beds and furniture, and specific textile making equipment, “1 Wheel each of cotton & flax…and a loom.”

The coverlet subsequently descended in the Joseph C. Greenfield family, whose ancestors had migrated from Virginia and North Carolina to Georgia in the late 18th century. Oney Boulton’s daughter, Sarah Wynne married John Favor (1791-1828) in Wilkes County, Georgia, and their son John Bolton Favor (1812-1874) married Martha Antoinette Lumpkin in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Their daughter, Jewel Favor (1862-1937), married Joseph C. Greenfield (1864-1920).

Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Greenfield