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Saturday, 15 May 2010

"Quilts 1700 - 2010"

The V&A Museum in London has this year put on a major exhibition "Quilts 1700-2010", to celebrate 300 years of British quilt making. As soon as I found out about it in early March, I booked the tickets for the exhibition and our coach tickets. We are lucky to have wonderful coach service, which runs twice a day, every day, and it takes us in just under two and half hours to central London.
I was looking forward very much to this exhibition and I wasn't disappointed. The quilts very were well displayed, be it in dimmed light, because of the age of some of the exhibits. Some were from V&A own collection, some from other public and private collections. It was quite amazing to see, how quiltmaking recorded events of the time they were made in. I will not write an extensive review here, others are and will be doing it so much better. I spent much longer walking around the exhibition then I expected, trying to remember what I saw. Which, of course, was impossible. And as the cameras were not allowed due to the age of the quilts, I just had to buy the book. I am pleased I did, it gives so much more details and background of the quilts.
There were at least a couple of times when I could feel my throat getting tight and the tears were not far away. The first was a seeing and reading the story of the "Rajah Quilt" from the National Gallery of Australia. This was made in 1841 by 180 women prisoners on board of the "Rajah", which sailed from England for Van Diemen's Land.
The other was a patchwork coverlet made in 1943 in Changi Prison in Singapore. It was made in secret, from small scraps of fabric, by 20 Girl Guides, aged between 8 and 16, as a surprise present for their Girl Guide leader. It has the 20 names embroidered on it.
And there was a quilt made by the Canadian Red Cross Society, which made quilts for the victims of the Second World War. This one was donated to a little girl, who lived in London in 1944. The family home was demolished during an air raid and they lost most of their possessions. The "little girl" owns the quilt to this day.
And I could go on ...

Which leaves me with one thought - who, if anyone, will be looking at my quilts in 300 years?


  1. We are hoping to run a trip to this exhibition from school so I'm looking firward to it .....lorna

  2. I bet the exhibition was wonderful. We have lots of exhibitions interstate in Melbourne and Sydney but its many many hundreds of kms away. My husband RETIRES SOON so can't wait to begin travelling to see wonderful exhibitions like the one you went to. Adelaide is too small and "far away". Thanks for your comments on my Blog.

  3. I always find that I am rather overwhelmed by quilt exhibitions. There is so much to see, designs, colours, textures and then on top of that the stories attached. Thanks for the glimpse into this exhibition: I was unaware of the Raja quilt. Do you have any other information on it?

  4. Lovely to read about your trip. The stories behind some of these quilts are truly inspiring. I had heard of the Rajah quilt, but have not seen a picture of it. It sounds like you had a most worthwhile and uplifting experience. Thank you for sharing it with your blogging friends.

  5. Thanks Radka,
    Yes!!I think it may become an issue.We tend to go out a lot whan Kev has his days off.He is working 3 days a week, and it's amazing how much time all those little jobs take!!Once I go out, I want to keep on !!!It's 2 o'clock-just back from a "few" chores!!Hmmm!! You ARE right!!

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog, I heard about the Quilt exhibition at V&A museum, I think it's great, I visited V&A museum years ago and I still remember the beautiful sampler and quilts I admired.


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