Nancy Prince
Thread Painting

Voices of Freedom
The Story



Voices of Freedom is a reproduction of John Trumbull’s painting entitled the Declaration of Independence. The painting currently hangs in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D. C. and was hung there in 1826 along with two of Trumbull’s other paintings. It is John Trumbull’s most famous painting of the Revolutionary War.

My competitive quilts up until now have centered on life in the US in the 1890s. This time I wanted something different and I had an image of Trumbull’s painting running around in my head for about 10 years. Looking at the painting I knew I would be entering into unchartered territory but I love to challenge myself when making a competitive quilt so I decided to make a small version of one of the signer’s coats. A week later after a few samples and figuring out “the wrinkle issue” I was ready to give the big boys a try.

Voices of Freedom is 93” x 65”and it took 3 ½ years to complete with approximately 4,000 invested in its making. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would take nearly 10 months to paint the faces and hands with Tsukineko inks or just over a year to thread paint all the figures’ clothing.

The main figures are very large with John Adams (in brown in the quilt’s center) being the tallest at 27”. Due to the figures size, the clothing was made in pieces one figure alone had 13 pieces to outfit this gentleman. Putting the clothing together was a bit like putting a puzzle together. John Hancock sitting in the large chair is 29” tall and 27” wide – he is a big dude!! The third figure from the right is my favorite because I loved the way the wrinkles and coloration turned out. And he was the youngest signer at 26 years old.

The background was painted in Photoshop, buttons on the clothing were made out of polymer clay and the gentlemen’s shoes were made out of real leather, their hosiery out of lining fabric. The quilt was quilted by Teri Taylor over a 3 month period. Quilting on the surface enhanced the rooms design and the liberty bell was quilted in the crown molding to further the theme of the quilt.

The quilt due to the historical significance of the painting required a bit of history on the back of the quilt. The back is full of small snippets of information including a schematic of the figures on the front, photos of the 47 men depicted on the front and a bit of history about some of the signers that signed the Declaration but are not in the painting as well as a short history of John Trumbull’s painting adventure. I almost like the back better than the front!! Both front and back of the quilt were commercially printed.