It is our aim to get some of the antique quilts currently languishing in archival boxes, wrapped in acid-free tissue paper into the fresh air for us all to appreciate. Quilts were made as functional and beautiful articles, and while we understand that museums cannot begin to dispay all their treasures, we feel that quilts have been hidden away for too long. On a recent visit to Birmingham City Museum's Store, the curator freely admitted that in the five years since she had been in post, she had not even looked inside some of the boxes containing quilts!
Here is one we saw at Birmingham, a stunning use of hexagons as a border for an amazing Mariners Compass centre. It was apparently designed by the donor's father and made by the mother in about 1875-1882. It is made of silk, which means the colours are wonderful (also because they've been in a box for years!) and set off by the use of black. The whole quilt measures 61x59 and the hexagons have a side of a half an inch!
Photo by kind permission of Birmingham Museums Copyright Alison Haselgrove 2006