A typical 1930s Welsh wholecloth in pale green cotton sateen which was made as part of the Rural Industries Bureau scheme in the South Wales valleys. The RIB was set up in 1928 to encourage small craft industries in economically deprived areas including Porth in the Rhondda Valley. The Porth group produced high quality work under the skilled tuition of Miss Jessie Edwards, the group teacher. All materials were paid for by the RIB, which then found upmarket galleries and stores in London to sell the work. Whilst the RIB scheme ended with the start of World War 2, it successfully raised the standards of Welsh quilting. A new generation of quilters produced high quality traditional Welsh quilts, many of which found their way outside of Wales, including this one. The donor of the quilt is from Lincolnshire, but prior to that it had been used by a family in Surrey.
The quilting pattern is one of those used by the RIB and features in Plate 57 in Elizabeth Hake’s book “English Quilting Old & New”. It is described as “a typical Welsh pattern, by Porth Group, Rhondda Valley”. It consists of a central diamond motif, filled with nine smaller diamonds, on a square field of double trellis. The central diamond contains a flower motif; the others feature alternating four-leafed and four-spiral motifs. The inner border contains diamonds and triangles, filled with double spirals and three-leafed motifs. A middle border of double trellis includes eight spares, each containing a four-leafed motif. Large spirals fill the outer border. The reverse is of pale green cotton sateen. It is wadded with thick carded wool.
A similar quilt, but in cream cotton poplin, is in the National Museum of Wales quilt collection and features on page 6 of quilt images on the website here. It featured in the 2010 exhibition Hidden Histories Untold Stories at the V&A in London.