Wednesday 17 March 2010

V&A Quilt Exhibition

I know many of you have scheduled a visit to the major quilt exhibition opening this week at the V&A, so I won't spoil your pleasure of discovery. If you are travelling by tube do take the underground passage to the museum, the roads between South Kensington tube station and the V&A are a mess at the moment, to say the very least. If it is not possible for you visit the exhibition in person, there is a terrific catalogue of the exhibition - Quilts 1700-2010 edited by Sue Prichard.What I particularly like about this book is its telling of the personal stories behind -sometimes literally - the quilts. We have already looked at the Rajah Quilt worked by the female convicts during their transportation to Van Dieman's Land in 1841. Here are just a few more examples of work that moved me. The first item - a scrap of patchwork cut in two - was handed over by a mother, together with her child into the care of the London Foundling Hospital. She would have kept for herself the other half against the day when she hoped, in better circumstances to prove her parenthood and reclaim her child.
Personal dedications of items confer a lasting spirit of life and generosity. I love this simple inscription and it is a reminder to me to always do the same - it doesn't have to be grand to be special, does it?
This piece reminds me of the stitched maps we see - how interesting to see it interpreted in quilt form though it looks sadly beheaded and very insular!
I have known inmates of World War II prisoner of war camps in the East; and have heard how terribly constrained even marginal living was, though somehow they discovered in themselves a previously unknown well of resourcefulness which enabled them to survive. This last Granny's Garden quilt was pieced and stitched in secret in the early 1940s by the Changi Girl Guide Group who somehow conjured a variety of printed dress cottons from amongst their group and other prisoners. How? Go visit! Go see!


  1. So many lifetimes later, my heart aches for the poor Mother who had no option but to give up her child.

  2. Just wanted to say thank you for all of your updates. You keep us so informed.

  3. Am looking forward to my visit to the V&A next Thursday evening.