Four Centuries of Quilts The Colonial Williamsburg Collection Linda Baumgarten, Kimberly Smith Ivey, Ronald Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Publication date:
23 Oct 2014
Yale University Press
356 pages: 260 x 229mm
320 color + 54 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

An exquisite and authoritative look at four centuries of quilts and quilting from around the world

Quilts are among the most utilitarian of art objects, yet the best among them possess a formal beauty that rivals anything made on canvas. This landmark book, drawn from the world-renowned collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, highlights the splendor and craft of quilts with more than 300 superb color images and details. Fascinating essays by two noted scholars trace the evolution of quilting styles and trends as they relate to the social, political, and economic issues of their time.
The collection includes quilts made by diverse religious and cultural groups over 400 years and across continents, from the Mediterranean, England, France, America, and Polynesia. The earliest quilts were made in India and the Mediterranean for export to the west and date to the late 16th century. Examples from 18th- to 20th-century America, many made by Amish and African-American quilters, reflect the multicultural nature of American society and include boldly colored and patterned worsteds and brilliant pieced and appliquéd works of art.
Grand in scope and handsomely produced, Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection is sure to be one of the most useful and beloved references on quilts and quilting for years to come. 

Linda Baumgarten is curator of textiles and costumes, Kimberly Smith Ivey is curator of textiles and historic interiors, and Ronald Hurst is the Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator and vice president of collections, conservation, and museums, all at Colonial Williamsburg.

"A wonderful book, an enormous, fabulous overview devoted to the world-famous collection of Colonial Williamsburg. . . . The two textile conservators responsible for the collection offer us in this book a fabulous journey to a land of richly documented quilts and hundreds of photos of extraordinary pieces. Obviously, this is one to collect!"—Quiltmania

"[A] landmark book . . . The book is a trove of information and inspiration, and one that any lover of antique quilts or quilt history must own."—Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting

"Grand in scope and handsomely produced, Four Centuries of Quilts is sure to be one of the most useful and beloved references on quilts and quilting for years to come."—Quilt Scene Magazine, Winter 2015-16 issue

"The book Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection, by the curators Linda Baumgarten and Kimberly Smith Ivey, . . . delves into the genealogies of craftswomen, including a Maine blueberry farmer, a Brooklyn philanthropist and an Alabama housekeeper."—Eve M. Kahn, New York Times

"Quilts aren’t just for warmth. As historical documents, for example, they show the ways women reacted to the Civil War and how far-flung countries traded with each other at an early date. . . . The book catalogs nearly 180 quilts from the museum’s collection, dating back more than 400 years, and tells the stories of the quilt-makers . . . often left out of the historical record."—Alexandra Wolfe, Wall Street Journal

"An important addition to any decorative arts library, for it contains the most recent quilt scholarship, carefully footnoted."—Lita Solis-Cohen, Maine Antiques Digest

"[Four Centuries of Quilts] is a joint publication by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Yale University Press. With those credentials you know that this big, attractive book is the word on quilt making in America."—Danielle Arnet, syndicated columnist, "The Smart Collector,"  Chicago Tribune

"An indispensable—and strikingly beautiful—addition to the study of historic American quilts."—Rhonda Sonnemburg, Selvedge