Floral Motifs on Early Chintz
Tigridia pavonia - Mexican Shell Flower
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) growing in a modern garden.
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Furnishing Fabric Fragment, Object Number T.418-1967, c. 1830-1840
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) from Curtis's Botanical Magazine, vol. 15, t. 532 (1801).
Common Names: Mexican Shell Flower, Jockey's Cap Lily, Peacock Flower, Tiger Flower 
 
Description: Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) is a member of the Iris family (Iridaceae). The Hortus Kewensis, ed. 2, vol. 4 recorded that this native of Mexico was introduced to Britain about 1796. This agrees with Pierre-Joseph Redoute's Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs in which he states that these plants were grown in European gardens since the end of the 1700s. 
 
Flowers for which Tigridia may be mistaken:
This Iris ensata is spotted and is organized in layers of 3 structures per layer, but lacks the columnar reproductive structure clearly seen on all three of the Tigridia pavonia pictures above. This flower is also a modern cultivar not known in the early 19th century. 
This spotted Lilium lancifolium (Tiger Lily) is close in color to Tigridia pavonia in the pictures above, but it has 6 same sized petals and its reproductive structures are not fused into a column as in Tigridia. This is the Chinese Tiger Lily rather than the North American Tiger Lily but both are similar in structure. Botanical illustration from Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 1810, vol. 31, t. 1237.
This spotted, triangular Masdevallia bella orchid has an obvious lip (note illustrations at bottom left) rather than the columnar reproductive structure clearly seen on all three of the Tigridia pavonia pictures above. Botanical illustration from Cogniaux and Goossens, Dictionnaire iconographique des orchidees vol. 10.
 
 
Quilts with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif*: 
 
  • Charleston Museum, The Gracy Drummond quilt, Object Id: 2011.26.1, c. 1844 
  • Private Collection of Miss Scott, Center Medallion applique quilt, Old Quilts, p. 183, "Probably 1810" (This date, suggested by Dunton in his Old Quilts book, is clearly in error)
  • Private Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Warren Schlenker, Elizabeth Dahle quilt, A Maryland Album, p. 12, c. 1840 
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sarah Flickwir quilt, The Fine Art of Textiles: The Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, p. 96, d. 1840-1846
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Garnhart Eagle Quilt, Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum, p. 32, c. 1825 
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Anna Catherine Garnhart quilt made for John Hanshaw Markey, Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum, p. 33, c. 1825-1840 
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Mary Rooker Norris quilt, A Maryland Album, p. 109, d. 1846 
  • The Poos Collection, Trapunto Mathematical Star, Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection, p. 208, c. 1835 
  • International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Ardis and Robert James Collection, Center Medallion, possibly Baltimore, MD, IQSC1997.007.0306, 1830-1850 
  • International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Ardis and Robert James Collection, Center Medallion, IQSC1997.007.0479, d. 1843-1844 
  • International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Center Medallion, possibly made in Springfield, OH, IQSC 2001.015.0001, c.1852 
  • International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Medallion Quilt Probably Made in Shippensburg, PA, IQSC 1997.007.0479, dated 1843 and 1844 
  • The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Chintz Applique Medallion Quilt with stuffed work, Museum Object No. 1960.1024, c. 1825 
  • The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Chintz Applique Quilt, Museum Object No. 2016.0010.001, 1844 
  • Maryland Historical Society, Charlotte Augusta Norris Wedding Quilt, The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition, p.17, c. 1839 
  • Maryland Historical Society, Elizabeth Clark quilt, The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition, p.58, c. 1840 
  • Private Collection, Lone Star Quilt with Chintz Appliques and Chintz Border, c. 1840 
 
Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower): 
 
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, Furnishing Fabric Fragment, Object Number T.418-1967, c. 1830-1840
Additional Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) Motifs
Furnishing Fabric Circ.366-1956, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 
 
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, Furnishing Fabric Fragment, Circ.366-1956), 1837 (printed)
  • The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Fabric Fragment, Object No. 1959.0084.041, 1837 
Furnishing Fabric T.11-1933, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 
 
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, Furnishing Fabric Fragment,T.11-1933, 1850 (printed)


















Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 
 
  • Private Collection of Paula Cochrane, Chintz Quilt Back, no date




















 

Quilt with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 

  • Private Collection, Touching Stars Quilt, displayed during the Bed Turning at the 2017 American Quilt Study Group Seminar, Manchester, NH, no date






















Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 
 
  • Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) on Private Collection of Jeana Kimball, Chintz Applique Quilt, 1844



























Chintz with the above Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motif: 
 
  • Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) on Private Collection of Brian and Donna Ruppert, Peonies Quilt, c. 1840



At least one other 19th century Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) motifs is known from a private collection, but pictures are not available at this time.






*Some of these citations come from Kay & Lori Lee Triplett and Xenia Cord, Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection, (Saint Etienne de Montluc, France :Quiltmania Editions, 2013), 294.





©  Updated 10/22/2018    Terry Terrell
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) from Private Collection of Paula Cochrane, Chintz Quilt Back, no date
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) detail missing the reproductive column from the Private Collection, Touching Stars Quilt, no date
Reproductive column detail from the Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) from the Private Collection, Touching Stars Quilt, no date
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) from Private Collection of Jeana Kimball, Chintz Applique Quilt, 1844
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) on Private Collection of Brian and Donna Ruppert, Peonies Quilt, c.1840