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Palmer, Catherine Couturier Marion
Place Made:
Cherry Grove Plantation Berkeley County South Carolina
Date Made:
HOA: 109 7/8; WOA: 103 1/4
Accession Number:
MAKER: Catherine Couturier Marion Palmer (1807-1895) was one of eight daughters born to Francis Marion (1777-1833) and Harriet Kirk (1782-1856). Her father, Francis Marion, was born Francis Dwight. In 1799 he changed his name, at the request of his great-uncle Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox. Catherine lived at Mt. Pleasant Plantation in St. John’s Berkeley, South Carolina where she was married to John Gendron Palmer (1807-1840) in 1830. Catherine and John Palmer lived at neighboring plantation Cherry Grove (1807-1840).

Made of chintz appliqué, this quilt features many selections of chintz fabrics, that were cut and applied to a cotton ground fabric to achieve an ambitious tree of life design. This quilt was made for Harriet Marion Palmer (1830-1896), Catherine’s daughter, when she was seventeen years old. Catherine Palmer is responsible for not only this palampore design quilt, but two other quilts in the MESDA Collection.

DESCRIPTION: Quilt with three pieced borders surrounding a tree of life appliqued to a white ground. The whole quilted with diamond pattern; very thin layer of cotton batting. First border has mitred corners and is 13 1/4″ deep; all four sides are one complete piece. Second border does not have mitred corners and is 6 1/2″to 6 3/4″ deep; some marking lines are still apparent on this border and it is made of a total of nine pieces. The third border has mitred corners, is 6 3/4″ -7″ wide, and is covered in crepeline; all four sides are one complete piece. Center and white border are quilted in diamond pattern; chintz borders are diagonally quilted only parallel to mitred seam. The inner square is 55 3/4″ high and is two pieces with a verticle seam; quilted up to applique but not over applique. The lower 1/2 of the central tree is from one fabric and the upper 1/2 is from another fabric. The quilt has a very thin layer of cotton batting.

RELATED OBJECTS: In the MESDA Collection are three other quilts that descended in the Palmer and Marion families. Made by Catherine Palmer’s mother, Harriet Kirk Marion, is a crib or child’s quilt (acc. 2534.1), and a mosaic quilt (acc. 2534.4). Harriet Kirk Marion also contributed a square to an album quilt (acc.2534.3) which Catherine Palmer is credited with assembling. Catherine Palmer is also identified as a co-maker with her mother Harriet on the mosaic quilt (acc. 2534.4).

HISTORY: The provenance of this quilt is solidly documented. The chintz applique palampore quilt was made by Catherine Couturier Marion Palmer (1807-1895) and given to her daughter Harriet Marion Palmer Dwight (1830-1896). The quilt is inscribed on the back in ink – “Harriet M. Palmer from her mother”. Harriet Palmer Dwight had no children so it was then passed to her niece, Kate Palmer Logan (1870-1944). The quilt descended from Kate to her daughter Frances Logan Parker and her sisters before it came to the MESDA Collection in 1972.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund