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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 10 February 2016

Fabric of India - V & A

Before Christmas, I was able to spend two hours at this exhibition at the V & A Museum in London. The V & A has a huge collection of Indian textiles, which had never had an exhibition solely dedicated to them before. I had not realised that there used to be a Museum of India in London.....upon closure, many of its items came to the V& A. The museum also possesses many items from the Great Exhibition held at Crystal Palace in 1851. A type of trade fair, all parts of the Empire sent in items of trade and technology. Many of the Indian exhibits related to textiles and fabric and still contain details of their supplier and manufacture.

Here is the catalogue for the exhibition - a sizeable book which is lavishly illustrated, nicely written by Rosemary Crill.
The contents are: Introduction, Materials and Making, Patronage and Use, and Textiles in the Modern World.

The chintzes that we are familiar with were relegated to a small display towards the end of the exhibition  - a testimony to the great importance and marketing of these textiles, of which Europe was only one part.

Many of the exhibits were stunning wall hangings or floor coverings. The designs were adapted to the customer's or regional tastes. This is part of a hanging, possibly a floor covering.

One of the most fascinating displays was the set of hangings now kept at Powis Castle - the Tent of Tipu Sultan of Mysore, Mughal India, c 1725-1750. Cotton, block printed, mordant dyed and resist dyed. The tent was part of Tipu relics removed by the British in 1799 and then taken by Lord Clive. Powis Castle is now owned by the National Trust.

I also enjoyed a tent with applique arranged in a smaller side room. Apparently it had been found abandoned on  a New York sidewalk!

There was much to look at, and I'm sure that I could have spent much more than two hours - if I had the time or the stamina!