A rendering of one of the complex squares in the Dutton Quilt This quilt has a fascinating history. The background fabric was the wedding dress of Emma Schooley at her marriage to John B. Dutton in 1838. Their daughter, Mary Frances (Molly) Dutton, wore it in 1862 for her marriage to Franklin M. Steer at Fairfax Meeting House in Waterford. A scrap of the same brown silk fabric is in a quilt made by Waterford Quaker Susan Talbott Walker (1793-1872) in the Loudoun Museum. This quilt was a gift to the Waterford Foundation by Miss Phoebe Steer, Molly’s granddaughter.
A photo of Waterford Foundation's Dutton Quilt The pattern of this quilt is known as Double Irish Chain. It is actually a two-block quilt. Usually this pattern was made with cotton fabrics, often a solid color on a plain contrasting ground, with decorative quilting in the open square. The Dutton quilt is all the more striking for using fabrics in multiple colors and patterns, especially as they are all silk fabrics, with elaborate quilting designs.