Image: © V&A Images
March 31 2010
Lucia van der Post
If we are to believe all that we read, staying in is the new going out, which may be why London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has mounted a wonderfully rich exhibition, Quilts 1700-2010, a hymn to the glories of the domestic quilt. Few things are such an eloquent symbol of domestic bliss. They speak of a more reassuring world, a time when women got together in their sewing bees, rustled up their old bits of fabric and turned them into something practical and beautiful.
The V&A has put together some stunning examples of the genre, ranging from one made between 1803 and 1805 that features George III reviewing his troops to the very latest from Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin.
None of the quilts is for sale, all being of museum quality. But to accompany the exhibition the V&A Shop and Liberty Art Fabrics have collaborated on a limited-edition collection of 18 printed cottons – perfect for those wanting to make quilts of their own (pictured: Liberty Jack by Janey Forgan). Most are based on the fabrics found in the exhibited quilts. They’re sold in fat quarters (50cm x 75cm), handy for quilting, at £3.50 per design or they can be bought for £11.50 a metre. The museum has also produced a beautiful book, Quilts 1700–2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, for £35. The exhibition runs until July 4.