Monday, January 7, 2013

Quilled Tree Ornaments at Winterthur

Before thoughts of Christmas fade away completely, I wanted to share with you a beautiful place in northern Delaware - Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. It was the home of Henry Francis du Pont and his family throughout the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s. Mr. du Pont, a renowned antiques collector, established it as the premier museum of American decorative arts.

Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, Quillwork tree in China Hall 2012

Each holiday season, Winterthur (pronounced winter-tour) offers a Yuletide Tour that features exhibits depicting holiday festivities of yesteryear. My sister attended on New Year's Day and emailed me about the tree you see above as soon as she returned home. It was decorated with quilled ornaments that had been made by Winterthur staff in the early 1990s as a nod to the traditional 18th century hand work. The intricate ornaments always intrique visitors!

Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, Quillwork tree in China Hall 2012

I spy snowflakes, stars, birds, and angels in white and gold, along with rolled red berries on natural twigs and a quilled peacock as the tree topper. The 2012 Yuletide Tour has closed, but Winterthur is an inspiring place to visit at other times of the year, not to mention there are more examples of quilling on display.

Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, Quillwork tree in Wisteria Hall 2011 – detail, photo by Jim Schneck 

Within the mansion are several quilled wall sconces with shadow-box-type backs that date from the mid-1700s; some are attributed to New England. They're located in several rooms on the fourth floor.

Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, Quillwork tree in Wisteria Hall 2011, photo by Jim Schneck

If you are interested in visiting specifically to see antique quillwork, it would be best to contact Winterthur at 302.888.4600, connect to the Winterthur Information and Tours Office, and ask about current tour offerings that would include the fourth floor.

Many thanks to my friend Rosemary Krill in Winterthur's Academic Programs Department for her help in supplying the photos and information.


  1. I like the touch of quilled berries on a branch

    1. Me too, Bronwyn! I love the natural combination of paper and twigs.

  2. Quilled angel ornament looks so cute. Haven't seen one like this before.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I respond to questions within 24 hours, so please check back. If you are having trouble posting a comment, try using the Anonymous option and include your name if you wish.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...