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Coverlet

Coverlet

  • Place of origin:

    Wiltshire (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    West, Ann (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wool appliqué and patchwork, with embroidery

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the support of the Contributing and Life Members of the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    T.23-2007

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ann West, the creator of this needlework masterpiece, may have owned a millinery and dressmaking shop in Chippenham, Wiltshire. To make the coverlet, she used brightly coloured woollen material from coats and uniforms, a type of cloth made in the West Country.

The design shows Adam naming the animals in the Garden of Eden, together with 64 brightly coloured woollen panels showing other vivid scenes from Bible stories, and lively depictions of everyday characters and occupations. Captions are embroidered over the appliqué pictures, adding humorous and personal touches. Each panel acts as a window onto early nineteenth century life, and they include a depiction of a double wedding, a 'Poor Sailor', and a 'Negro servant and Master'. The term 'negro' was used historically to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.

Physical description

Coverlet composed of panels of wool appliqué and patchwork, with embroidery. Designed with central panel of Adam naming the animals in the garden of Eden, surrounded by 64 square vignettes showing scenes from everyday life. The coverlet bears a signature 'Ann West's work', and the date '1820'.

Place of Origin

Wiltshire (possibly, made)

Date

1820 (made)

Artist/maker

West, Ann (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wool appliqué and patchwork, with embroidery

Marks and inscriptions

'Ann West's work / 1820'
Embroidered

Dimensions

Length: 102 cm outer cape, Length: 60 cm inner waistcoat

Historical context note

As the educational programme of Victorian England established itself, with its emphasis on social improvement, quilts moved from the home to the public sphere. Some of the most inventive examples of 19th-century patchwork were produced for exhibition and display, often with a didactic aim. The pieces were designed to show off individual skill - such as difficult inlay patchwork - but also to promote Victorian values of perseverance and hard work.

Descriptive line

Ann West applique and patchwork coverlet, 1820, English

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jenny Lister, 'Remember Me: Ann West's coverlet', in Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts 1700-2010 (London: V&A, 2010) pp.87-91
35
Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts, 1700-2010 : hidden histories, untold stories, London: V&A, 2010

Labels and date

Patchwork with Garden of Eden
Ann West, possibly Wiltshire
Dated 1820

Ann West may have owned a millinery and dressmaking shop in Chippenham, Wiltshire. This cover or hanging shows Adam naming the animals in the Garden of Eden, together with 64 panels that include lively depictions of everyday characters and occupations. One of the scenes is from Sarah Trimmer's popular educational book, A Series of Prints from the New Testament (1790). Captions have been embroidered over the pictures, and the cover may have been intended as an educational device for children.

Wool

Acquired with the support of the Friends of the V&A
V&A: T.23-2007

[Supporting image, with caption:]
Sarah Trimmer, 'Our Saviour conversing with the Woman of Sameria', 1790, repr. 1825
V&A Images [20th March 2010]

Materials

Wool

Techniques

Applique; Patchwork; Embroidery

Categories

Black History; Textiles

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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