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Understanding Quilt-Specific Colors: Madder Brown

Madder Brown
Madder dyes come from the roots of the madder plant, also known as rubia, and along with walnut shells, clay, and certain woods, were used to dye quilt fabrics brown from the eighteenth century onward.  While browns, including madder brown, were extremely popular throughout the nineteenth century, madder browns are most identified with quilts created in the period from 1860 to 1880, the so-called “brown years.”  Madder browns are distinguishable from the other browns popular in this period, such as chocolate brown, because of their coppery color.  Madder browns often appeared in prints with browns of various hues.
  • Wholecloth
  • Wild Goose Chase
  • Ducks in the Pond
  • Six Pointed Star
  • Bertha’s Wedding Quilt
  • Broken Dish

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