Quilts: The Fabric of War

March 24, 2024 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, CRAFT, HISTORY | 0 Comments |

(1760-1900) Exhibition at the Roche Museum, 22 February, 2024 / Book and collection by Annette Gero

This exhibition of applique and geometric masterpieces, all made from military fabrics, was simply stunning. Dr. Annette Gero, an acknowledged expert on quilt history, has collected these sumptuous pieces, featuring complex, intricate patterns, to mythical and historical narratives. Her book based on this collection is published by The Beagle Press and available through the David Roche Foundation House Museum, Adelaide.

We saw a dazzling array of styles and subject-matter. The main image is an English Intarsia Quilt, c. 1870, by Michael Zumpf, a Hungarian, and the image within the lush border is based on an etching, “The Intellect And Valour of Great Britain”, and features the figures of Disraeli, Gladstone, Bulwer Lytton, Lord MacAuley, Lord Palmerston, Charles Dickens, Tennyson, the Earl of Elgin, Dr. Livingstone, Robert Stephenson and Thackeray, inter alios.

Adam Eve Quilt, c. 1760, Silesia or Bohemia

Many of these intarsias (patchwork quilts) were made by male soldiers, out of broadcloth.

French Canadian War Quilt, c. 1834

Prussian Army Quilt, 1806

Some are on a par with the sublime Chateau de Boussac weavings…

English Military Quilt, c. 1850

Perhaps these intimate works of art prompt us to treat the past with a degree of reverence, whatever contempt is increasingly thrown at it?

(Probably) Prussian, c. late 18C/early 19C

Patchwork Intarsia, India, c.1860-1890s

Intarsia Quilt made by a British sailor, c. 19C (229 X 177 cm)

These are glorious artefacts risen from mainly inglorious conflicts.

Victorian Regimental Quilt, India, pre 1865

Lion Quilt, English, c. 1760s

Intarsia Worked Persian Rasht (stitched Inlay Cover) c. 1880

Harlequin Intarsia Quilt (P.O.W.) c 1810

English Intarsia Patchwork (1831)

Flag Quilt of the 38th Regiment of Foot, English, c. 1815

Detail of 38th Foot (above)

Crimean War Signature Quilt, c. 1854-1860s (“A present to my sister Mary from her brother John”)

Some of the stitching (finishing) detail is extraordinary:

Greek or Phoenician Galley, Germany or England, c. 1850

Detail of Galley

Soldier’s Patchwork, India or England, c. 1855-1881
(208 x 216 cm)

Stitching detail

The beautiful city of Venice has had its fair share of conflict in history, but work such as here (below) suggests that since we’re fated to be stuck with war from time to time forever, one (modest) consolation is war’s contribution to art and innovation…

Venice Quilt, c. 1845-66


Leave a comment...

While your email address is required to post a comment, it will NOT be published.

Leave a Reply

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.