Today I went to a meeting of the British Quilt Heritage group. We met
at an Elizabethan (that is, 16th century) great house about 4 miles from
my home. There were 25 of us.
Gawthorpe Hall is the home of the Rachel Kaye-Shuttleworth collection.
Rachel collected all kinds of needlework from all over the world and the
house continues tp do the same. They will accept anything and love
So we saw about a third of the quilts they have. Most were 18th and
19th century, and many had all their provenance attached.
But there were three that astounded me. One was a soldier's quilt, made
by a soldier, in hospital, in Hong Kong in the 1880s, from the uniforms
of officers who had been killed. The colours were bright and the fabric
was very thick: can't imagine what his fingers were like when he
finished: it was composed of half-inch squares!
Then there were two very old quilts, one dating back to 1700,
beautifully embroidered and quilted in the tiniest stitches you can
imagine. And the last one, a whole cloth, very fragile, from 1703. And
that had been made about a mile down the road from where we were
Apart from the last one, we were invited to touch and handle all teh
quilts, to inspect them thoroughly, turn them over, anything in fact!
What a day. What with the quilts, meeting previously unmet Internet
friends from BQL, the house, the collection, it was something I'll