PRINCESS FEATHER APPLIQUÉ QUILT, 1850s
The prince’s (or princess) feather quilt design, one of few named patterns in the 1800s, imitates the drooping plumes of the Prince of Wales species of the amaranth plant. The three plumes in the English Prince of Wales’s emblem inspired the bloom’s name, but the quilt design is American. Another amaranth species, “love lies bleeding,” has varieties blooming in both red and green, like the fronds in this and many other princess feather quilts.
85” x 86”
Gift of Consuelo Carnes Atkins, 80.89.2
Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Prince’s feather)
Amaranthus caudatus (Love lies bleeding)
The graceful droop of the prince’s feather flower is stylized in the curve of the quilt design’s fronds. The use of green as well as red may have been suggested by the green varieties of the love-lies-bleeding species of amaranth.