Following its purchase at an auction in September 2000, The Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles (QGBI) immediately assembled a research team of experts to try and discover who this coverlet’s original maker was, establish a provenance and make comparisons with other similar quilts and coverlets of the same period. The ‘1718’ is referred to as a coverlet, as it is composed of patchwork units and is backed, but with no internal wadding.
There are not many surviving examples of 18th century patchwork, though literary references point to it being fashionable at the higher end of society. The 1718 coverlet is one of the earliest known dated pieces of patchwork making it an exceptional textile of significant historic importance. The pieced date, together with the initials ‘E’ and ‘H’, are in a centrally placed unit. Though the black fabric used for their execution has deteriorated through the years, both the date and initials would have originally stood out on the coverlet surface. In fact, the appearance of the coverlet would have been altogether more brilliant at the time of its making. Since then, the palette has become more muted with some dyes fading more than others...
You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 83.