Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Old Lady Quilting

  • Artist:

    Woodman, William S.

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1855–1918

  • Date:

    about 1890

  • Medium:

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions:

    35 1/4 x 26 3/8 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Harry and Harriet E. Stanley

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Currently on Display

About the Artwork

“And as a little girl I would sit underneath the quilting frame at grandma’s house and see the little stitches and hands coming through to sew threads and make the shapes.” —Dorothy Gill Barnes, Folk Artist

William Woodman’s painting illustrates how 19th-century women created workspaces to facilitate the production of quilts.  Four wooden bars were employed to create a frame for stretching the fabric. Frequently, the two outer bars were stretched over household chairs as few nineteenth-century homes had the space for a dedicated sewing room.

William Woodman was Wichita’s first professional painter. He studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and when he returned to Kansas, he divided his time between banking and painting. This oil was painted for Mrs. W.E. Stanley as a gift for her husband, former governor William E. Stanley, who had admired a smaller version in the Woodman home. It reminded him of his own mother sitting in the same position at her quilting.