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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Military Throw - Yorkshire

Here is a military throw that I bought some time ago - it is one of my "Study projects" and is in rather poor condition. It came from a seller in London - he had it from a textile dealer some years ago. The throw origianally came from a sale at a large house in Yorkshire - unfortunately he had forgotten which house it was.

The quilt is rather elaborate and has a central piece surrounded by chequer board areas - some in red and black and others in a trip around the world pattern. The quilt is made from worsted and felted wools. These are not seamed together but over sewn at the back.

These quits are generally known as "Crimean War" quits but most are likely to be of Indian origin. In this case we know it is India as the central star is the "Star of India"(see below).

Another popular myth is that these quilts were made by soldiers recuperating from injuries or illness. This is certainly the case for some. But the V & A seems to think that many were made by Indian servants and not by the soldiers themselves. Certainly the style fits in with Indian textiles.

Some of the pieces are very small, especially the diamonds surrounding the central area.

The "Star of India". The throw is worn, faded and also stained. Some areas seem in better condition than ohters - I think that the fading is due to sun damage, and this has made some areas very brittle, especially the central areas. The stains have a dark cast, as if it were ink.

The words surrounding the centre star are "Heaven's light our guide". This is the motto of the order of chivalry known as the Star of India, founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. It has not been awarded since 1947 (partitioning of India and Pakistan) and has been a dormant order since 2009 (when the last member died). This order is associated with India, which fits in with the idea that many of these military quilts came from India. Whether the owner was part of this order is a question that begs further research. What a pity the name of the house or owner is not known.

It was originally decorated with felt circles and beads, many of which have now disappeared. You can see here the over sewing that holds the pieces together.

More decorations.....

Surrounding the central star is a monument....

An anchor....

On the right side the patches look rather gray and there are repairs where the patches have come apart...

..but on the reverse you can see that the colours were originally much brighter and included white, lavender and purples, greens, blues and beige plus a yellow. Some pf these pieces have been pieced from even smaller pieces. Evidently some colours were in limited supply. Red and Black are the predominant colours - these would reflect the use of these colours in the "Redcoat" military uniforms of the day.

To contrast the front and the back again - back is much more colourful...

The edging is a tape and a fringe - this has been sewn on by machine. Probably intended as a cover for a table or other piece of furniture.

I think that there is much more research to do with this item - one for my retirement?

1 comment:

  1. I really adore your blog. I come here to learn about Welsh quilts (which I just can't get enough of) and what a treat this time to learn a bit about military quilts! Thank you so much for all the wonderful information and for sharing you lovely collection of quilts.