The original 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

  • The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

Exhibition taking place at The Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, Gallery TG22.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the magnificent and iconic 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet - the oldest surviving dated Patchwork Coverlet in Britain.

This year celebrates the 300th anniversary of this complex mosaic patchwork coverlet, which is made from a range of plain and woven silks and backed with linen that has been pieced together from smaller fragments. The varied designs inside the square pictoral blocks feature an array of animals and motifs depicting a rural, domestic life. A central block bears the date 1718 and two initials - E and H - although we sadly don’t know who made this beautiful piece. The complexity of the shapes combined with the method of using paper templates shows that the maker was both educated and skilled.

The age and fragility of this coverlet means that any display of the piece has to be carefully considered. Historic textiles are more susceptible to deterioration from the environment around them, and require controlled and monitored levels of light, atmospheric pollutants, temperature and relative humidity. Due to these reasons, the coverlet will end its celebratory year by going into deep storage - which means this is the last public viewing of the coverlet for a decade.