I wrote previously about how much I enjoyed the Quilts 1700 – 1945 exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery. A couple of readers asked to see some more quilts so I thought I’d share some more today from the fabulous images in the Media package. These quilts are still on show in Brisbane until September 22 2013, so I would really encourage you to go and have a look if you have the chance. The stories behind these quilts are amazing.
This applique quilt is known as the Alphabet of Love and Courtship because each of the panels in the middle section have a word starting with each letter of the alphabet relating to rituals and emotions associated with courtship. The panels around the outside are cultural figures and symbols like the Mr Punch and playing card suits. It was made in around 1875.
This is another amazingly detailed applique quilt. The central picture is based on a painting by John Singleton Copley of King George III reviewing the troops. I was fascinated to read that there is an extra figure in the quilt that is not in the painting and they think that might be a self-portrait of the quilter. While the applique pictures must have taken hours, the background circles are all pieced from tiny shapes and must have taken just as long.
This coverlet is called Remember Me and was made by Ann West in 1820. The central scene is of the Garden of Eden and there are 14 other scenes from the Bible. The rest of the panels are contemporary characters and occupations such as soldiers, milkmaids, shepherds and an auctioneer. This gives an unusual glimpse into her life and the people of her time.
Apart from quilts and coverlets, there were a couple of other household items in the display. This bed sat on a pedestal so you could walk around and view three sides of it. The curtains and pelmet are all pieced, and I was surprised at how bright the colours still are. This was from 1730-50 and the patchwork design is called clamshells after the shape of the pieces. These are the only surviving set of bed curtains in a public collection from this period.
If you’d like to check out the Quilts 1700-1945 Exhibition you can find more info at the QAGOMA website. Some of this info was taken from the book that was available for sale at the exhibition by Sue Pritchard. With a little searching I found that Sue also has another book about historical quilts available online: