Here is the Bishops Court quilt, 1690-1700, in the V&A Museum London (Accession no. T.201-1984.) The V&A is holding its first ever exhibition of quilts giving us a unique opportunity to view the V&A's unseen quilt collection as well as key national loans. 65 quilts will be on display. Earliest examples include a sumptuous silk and velvet bedcover, with an oral narrative that links it to King Charles II's visit to an Exeter manor house in the late 17th century. 'The curators have unravelled some of the complex personal narratives and broader historical events documented in the quilts. Examples by both named and unnamed makers will be shown with objects relating to their subject matter and makers including paintings and prints, as well as needlework tools and personal keepsakes. One example is a cot quilt made at Deal castle, displayed for the first time alongside the maker's diary and portraits of the two grandchildren who slept under it. There will also be bedcovers that commemorate the lives of prominent figures including Admiral Lord Nelson, Charles II and the Duke of Wellington and important events such as the coronation of Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington's battle at Vittoria. The exhibition will celebrate the astonishing vision involved in the design and making of each quilt.'
Quilts 1700-2010 - Hidden Histories, Untold Stories will be published in March 2010 to coincide with the exhibition. Costing £35, the comprehensive book is 240 pages. It includes essays by leading historians and is illustrated with new photography documenting each of the objects in the exhibition. The book editor and curator of the exhibition is Sue Prichard, curator of contemporary textiles at the V&A.
A two-day conference will be held on 11 and 12 June 2010. A call for papers will be released via the V&A website in September 2009, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, unpublished research. There will also be a full programme of events, including practice-led workshops and talks.