The Blossoming of Patchwork

  • Furnishings Coverlet 1790-1810

Textile enthusiasts are in for a real treat this summer as the Quilt Museum presents a unique collection of quilts and coverlets from the period 1780-1820s showcasing the burgeoning fashion for printed cottons and linens and their use in patchwork and quilting.

Drawing on pieces from the Museum’s heritage collection and loans from private collections, guest curator Bridget Long and curator Heather Audin have assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of early printed cotton quilts and coverlets that has ever been on display for public view in the UK.

The period 1780-1820 represents an exciting chapter in our textile history. Technological improvements in the textile industry enabled printed cottons and linens, either new or second-hand, to be available to all levels of society. For the first time, needlewomen were able to demonstrate their artistic and design skills with printed patterns, combining fussy cutting and careful piecing to create dramatic and complex designs.

The quilts and coverlets in this collection, by their very nature, provide a visual reference to the multitude of designs that were in production during the late 18th and early 19th century. The Furnishings Coverlet pictured here includes over 13 identifiable designs produced at the Bannister Hall printworks and at least two from the Jouy factory in France. The designs show the variety of design influences on furnishing fabrics, including fashionable Chinoiserie, Neo-classical, Egyptian and Drab styles.

Visitors will also be able to see samples from the Averil Colby fabric collection, commemorative panels frequently used for quilt centres and a patchwork chair covering made from fashionable fabrics of the time.

“The Blossoming of Patchwork exhibition promises to be a significant event on the calendar of textile events in 2013”, said Rosie Crook, Acting Museum Director.

Image: Furnishings Coverlet, 1790-1810. Private Collection.