HistoryThe quilt was made by an unidentified sailor c. 1846. It was given to Jane Williams of Somerset, England who backed it and sent it to Australia to Annie Smith, her sister-in-law in Sydney. It then passed by family descent to Annie's grandson, John Henderson of Middle Cove, Sydney from whom the present owner, Narelle Grieve, acquired it. It is not used. "It was not unusual for the European sailors of previous centuries to engage in the art of quilting. They needed to be able to sew in order to mend their sails, and quilting was a way of passing time while developing their sewing technique. Most sailors were talented needle people, as the fine stitches and intricate design of this quilt demonstrates.
Many of the lands which the sailors visited offered exotic fabrics and the silk used to make the tiny diamonds in this quilt may have originated in India. Papers still contained within the hexagons around the border of the quilt may be able to verify the origin of this fabric. This may also give some insights into the sailor's life and travels, but Narelle explains that she would have to unpick the backing to get to them and that could ruin the frail silk fabric." [extract from unidentified article supplied by the present owner.]
DescriptionSilk quilt in diamonds with hexagon border. "Toward the edge of the quilt, the design of diamonds made into blocks offers an optical illusion, where the diamonds can be seen to form stars. The border is made up of these stars and half-diamonds, and the entire quilt is trimmed with lace and triangular flaps made of tiny hexagons." [extract unidentified magazine article supplied by quilt owner.] The backing is maroon cotton.
1600 x 1600 mm.