The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

  • 1718

The oldest dated patchwork coverlet in Britain will be on exhibition for four months this autumn together with a meticulously reconstructed replica made by members of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles.

The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet has survived almost 300 years and is an exceptional record of patchwork form the early 18th century consisting of 69 individual blocks constructed using mosaic patchwork. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Britain’s textile treasures which normally resides in environmentally controlled storage to prevent deterioration.

Exquisitely designed and sewn, this complex and interesting Coverlet reveals clues to its maker. Silk would not have been readily available to all levels of society and the design motifs chosen would certainly have been influenced by the maker’s surroundings and the social and historical context in which they lived.

A fascinating new book entitled The 1718 Coverlet is being published by David & Charles to coincide with the Exhibition. Experienced quilt author, Susan Briscoe deconstructs The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet and each of the 69 blocks giving techniques and templates that will allow readers to replicate the Coverlet using the original mosaic piecing technique, as well as more accessible modern techniques.

The book also explores how the replica coverlet was painstakingly reproduced and quilt historian, Bridget Long, explores the fascinating history surrounding the Coverlet and its discovery by The Quilters’ Guild. Royalties from the book will support the charitable aims of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles including caring for and exhibiting The Collection.

“There is a sense of excitement building within the Museum as we anticipate the exhibition of one of our textiles treasures. It’s a very rewarding experience to see the reaction of visitors when they catch their first glimpse of the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet.