This very large (108” x106”) patchwork came from the North of England and was thought to be from Allendale, an area famed for its quiltmaking and marking skills. The quilt has been made from various cotton prints (now faded) in browns, blues, pinks and also creams with mauve motifs which possibly date from the 1860’s to 1880’s and although it has a thin wadding it is quite heavy. The quilt is entirely handsewn, even the long seams on the front and back, and the stitching and handquilting is incredibly small and neat. The patchwork side has a central section made from 2½” hexagons set out in alternating rings of cream and coloured prints starting from one brown hexagon. There then follows a 12” border of 2½” squares on point in the same prints. The next border is a 9” cream & mauve print followed by the 11” outer border of an ivy leaf print of mauve and blue on a cream background. The two middle sections are very worn in places with the cotton wadding showing through but this doesn’t detract from the quilt at all.
The quilting shows at its best on the plain reverse of the quilt – and what exquisite quilting indeed! The first thing that strikes you is the incredible amount of quilting - every part is covered in detailed patterns which include horse chestnut leaves, feather/fern swags and various rose and circular motifs. In between these are tiny square diamonds measuring no more than ¼”! The centre has four lovely horse chestnut leaves facing in towards a small rose and these are surrounded by curved feathers/ferns making a lovely and unusual central design. It has a butt or knife edge (both edges turned in) which again is entirely handsewn. A beautiful quilt which must have taken many, many hours to make.