Mosaic

May, 2018

Mosaic

Unknown
Mosaic soldier quilt made by British soldier, likely in India.

Circa 1855
Probably made in England or India
IQSCM 2005.044.0001

This quilt was possibly made by an English soldier serving in India. The block composition of this quilt makes it stand out from the primarily mosaic style found in many other Soldier’s quilts. The beading, primary-colored wool squares set on point and heraldic symbols of the British monarchy link it stylistically. The blocks—set in a symmetrical design separated by black and white squares—frame an intricate beaded center medallion. 

The medallion holds an elaborate tribute to the British government. This includes the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The coat of arms is anchored by a shield with the motto of the chivalric Order of the Garter in French, “Honi soit qui mal y pense,” which translates to “Shame on he who thinks evil.” The motto originated with King Edward III (reign: 1327-1377) when Norman French was a common language in England. The motto of English monarchs—“Dieu et mon Droit,” or “God and my Right”—is stitched along with the Prince of Wales’ heraldic badge. The initials A.E. and A.C. are stitched on both sides of the badge. These likely represent Prince of Wales Albert Edward and his bride Alexandra Caroline of Denmark. 

This Mosaic quilt is on display in “War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics” at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum May 25-September 16, 2018. While most of the quilts in the exhibition are drawn from Dr. Gero’s collection, this is one of several additional quilts appearing from the IQSCM collection.