You are currently viewing Medallion Style Quilts

Medallion Style Quilts

The origin, popularity, and development of the medallion style of quilts with a central medallion surrounded by a series of borders, go back to the 17th century. In early 1613 this trade was associated with the spice and textile trade of the East India Company. The designs intermingled with Indian printed and painted decorated cotton (chintzes). Spices, cloth, styles, and techniques from Persia, China, and India fused with Europe, England, and the USA.
Over centuries, the accumulation of these and historic happenings resulted in medallion quilts, unlike any other traditional quilt styles. Characteristics of these quilts included decorative motifs, borders, fabric strips, rows of piecing, blocks, and vibrating colour combinations.
Palampores refer to floral forms of printed or bright coloured painted calico (Indian cloth). The Broderie perse style was derived from the palampors used cut-out motifs, rearranged, and applied to a coloured background. Motives were outlined with cord- or chain stitches, couching, and laid work. The central design consisted of a flowering tree, floral motifs, urns, wreaths, or baskets, surrounded by various borders, and was directly related to the Indian cotton chintz palampores.
Museums still keep many of these exquisite historical medallion-style quilts, and it was still considered a prize item in any household. Jenny Byer; (known for her Ray of Light medallion quilt); set the stage for the rebirth for contemporary interpretations of this quilt; with her book Medallion Quilts (1982).
The first photo is a fabulous example of a basket medallion quilt made in 1987 that was hand appliqued pieced-and-quilted. It was made in Washington by Donna Eines. Four different basket patterns were used and included borders with tiny baskets. Unquilted portions of the quilt appear stuffed because of the tightly stitched quilting.
The photo of the second quilt (blue and yellow) resembles the traditional basket medallion quilts. The design features reflect the owner’s (Christine’s) unique DNA, with two contrasting colours in medium tones. This basket medallion quilt, finished in 2013, is beautifully illustrated in full in Quilt Potpourri. It used the basket and hexagon as the main feature of the medallion, and the magic of triangular quilt making with 60° corners incorporated. This quilt was machine appliqued, pieced, and quilted. The diamonds were cut vertically from strips of fabric and individually positioned, and allowed some colour gradation from green to blue in the corner piecing.

This uniquely designed quilt, planned as a bedroom quilt, ended up as a wall quilt because of its beauty. Its true calling came to life, complimenting a wrought iron staircase. The whole display is a perfect picture.
Medallion Quilt

Leave a Reply