The Quilting Frolic

The Quilting Frolic

The painting shows a room, with 13 people – six men, five women, and two children. There is a door at the right end, with a man at the doorstep, reluctant to enter. Right above the door is a gun, and behind it a tall grandfather clock. To its left there is a cage, with an orange bird in it, and there are five photos on the pillar projecting out from the rest of the wall (beside it). Further to the left, there are hangings on the wall, and beside it a wooden shelf with crockeries – plates, cups and saucers, and glasses. On top of this shelf, a lot of things have been dumped. Up front, there’s a chair, a broom, a basket, and clothes scattered across the floor.

On the left, there is a table, and a fat lady is busy setting the table, when she’s distracted by the guests. A small boy, takes advantage of this and grabs hold of food, and inactive in fact hiding it behind him. To the right of the gay lady, there is a little black girl, probably a slave. She’s holding a tray full of cups, and two jars, looking at a black man at the best the door playing the violin (perhaps to welcome or entertain the guests). In front of the fat lady is another young lady, picking up clothes from the floor and putting them into a basket. She too looks up from what she was doing when the guests arrive. Behind these three women, an old man (probably the grandfather) is sitting near the fireplace, his pipe in his mouth. At his knees, is the guardian of the house, the dog, who is carefully examining the newcomers, the guests. The room has more things than it can afford to have, which is why it looks unorganized and also quite crowded. Above the fireplace there are two books, a vase with flowers and another with no flowers. Behind the fat woman, to her right, there is a girl cutting cloth off a wooden frame.

The table cloth on the dining table looks fresh, but the table hadn’t been completely set. Everybody is distracted from their work (except for the small boy), but at the same time there are quite a number of items on the table, and they look quite surprised to see the newcomers. So it looks as if the guests have arrived before they were expected to, since they were still cleaning the place. The fat lady, probably the hostess, smile at them feebly, embarrassed at this awkward situation. The girl picking up clothes, is quite horrified, since she has not finished cleaning the place. The girl cutting cloth looks like she’s not sure how to react. But the kids and the grandfather have different a reaction. The little black girl smiles briefly at the black man, the little kid is grinning and stealing food meant for the guests and the grandfather is sitting there minding his own business.

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Categories: Art

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