Quilt of the Month


March 2007

March 2007

Embroidered Bedcover
Maker unknown
Made in United Kingdom
Circa 1710 - 1730
IQSC 2006.004.0004

Professional English embroiderers made this stunning coverlet, possibly for a wedding bed, using red, green and yellow cotton floss and metallic thread in a variety of stitches. The design, found originally on an early Persian manuscript cover, was modified into a fabric pattern by Indian printers and later appeared in England during the height of the seventeenth century textile trade between Europe and the East. These cross-cultural influences are augmented by Chinese-inspired satin-stitched floral motifs, producing a classic design that still delights the modern eye.

The pattern is dominated by a medallion center and balanced by related motifs in each corner. The narrow swag border framing the bedcover integrates gracefully with each corner motif. There is no padding between the top and bottom layers and the quilting stitches are sewn with a back-stitch technique, making this an example of "flat" or "false" quilting often used in the elaborately embroidered bedcovers of the early eighteenth century. To an untrained eye, the back-stitches, which create concentric circles and tiny floral blossoms in yellow silk, have the appearance of continuous machine stitching.