Enfilade

Exhibition | Quilts 1700–1945

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 22, 2013

From the QAG press release (14 June 2013) . . .

Quilts 1700–1945
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 15 June — 22 September 2013

Curated by Sue Prichard

Coverlet with sundial 1797 | Cotton | Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Given by GL Hanneford. Conserved with the support of the Aurelius Charitable Trust | ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Coverlet with sundial, cotton, 1797
(London: Victoria and Albert Museum)

An exhibition of historic British quilts from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is now on view at the Queensland Art Gallery, presenting enthralling social histories and personal stories of more than 200 years of quiltmaking and patchwork. The exhibition includes more than 35 hand-crafted textiles created to provide comfort and commemorate historical events and family occasions between 1690 and 1945, plus a host of associated material such as pin cushions, needlework tools and sewing baskets.

The works come primarily from the esteemed collection of the V&A, the world’s leading decorative arts and design museum. Select pieces have travelled from British regional museums and private collections, and there is the special addition of the much-admired Rajah quilt of 1841, sewn by convict women during transportation to Van Diemen’s Land, on loan from the National Gallery of Australia.

Divided into four thematic sections, the exhibition explores the domestic landscape of the wealthy bedrooms of 18th-century Britain; the private thoughts and political debates that emerged as patchwork spread to aspirational middle class homes in the early 19th century; the movement of quilts to the public sphere for exhibition and display in Victorian England; and the survival of quiltmaking in economically deprived areas in the face of the emergence of mass production in the early 20th century.

“The exhibition has been curated for QAG by Sue Prichard, Curator of Contemporary Textiles at the V&A, based on the popular exhibition Quilts 1700–2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, presented in 2010 at the V&A,” explained Director Chris Saines.

The exhibition is accompanied by the 196-page publication Quilts 1700–1945, a co-edition from QAGOMA and the V&A.