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Crazy Quilt

  • Owner:
    Win Oliver
  • Location:
  • Maker:
    Elizabeth Curnow
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 109
    Width: 104


Made by Elizabeth Curnow (born Paynter) between 1855-1900, at Yarra Street, Geelong Victoria. Owned by her daughter Ada Cox, then in succession Elsie Burrage (Elizabeth's granddaughter), Winifred Burrage (Elizabeth's great granddaughter) and Winifred Oliver (Elizabeth's great great granddaughter), the current owner. "Elizabeth Curnow was born in 1827 and travelled to Australia in 1852, leaving St Ives, in Cornwall, England. She had been married at 18 to William Edward Curnow. When they left England they had two little girls, aged six and four. On the five month voyage, she taught William to read and write, so that on arrival in Australia he was able to sign his name and state his trade and religion etc. Also on the long trip, Elizabeth completed a tapestry which remains in the family today. When the ship arrived near Geelong on Christmas Eve, William went ashore. Upon returning, he commented 'I think we're in for some excitement, Ma.' There had been shooting at the hotel he had visited. William Curnow set up as a shipsmith near the docks in Geelong, moving to live in Yarra Street, where he and Elizabeth lived for the rest of their lives. Elizabeth had ten children, with only six surviving to grow up; two boys and four girls. One grandson, Percy Curnow, was an original Anzac, who lived to return. Elizabeth Curnow practised crafts from an early age. When a little girl, as a compulsory duty, she had to spend a certain amount of time each day knitting. All through her life she continued her craft work until she died in 1916, leaving tapestry and fine lace work as well as quilting, to her descendants."
[Win Oliver]


Crazy patchwork quilt made from silk, brocade and velvet pieces, the seams covered with feather stitching in yellow silk. Fabrics are plain, and patterned with tartans, woven spots, stripes and floral brocade. Colours are rich, mainly red, pink, blue, green and cream. Quilt has a patterned velvet or velour border with urns and flowers in pale olive green and black, edged with a fringe in these colours.
1090 x 1040mm

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