This is an incomplete hexagon patchwork piece with papers intact. It was found in the possessions of the donor’s great-grandmother. In the early years of the 20th century she was a housekeeper in Tongwynlais near Cardiff.
The hexagons still have their papers in. They have been hand sewn very neatly in a white thread and the tacking stitches still remain. The papers are all numbered and sewn together accordingly. One is dated 1832 and another July 13 1837. Many of the papers relate to licences and farming. There are also some shopping lists. Another of the papers is dated later, however - 1910. Yet most of the fabrics are from the early to mid-19th century. The exact date of the work is something, then, of a mystery. The fabrics, and the papers, could have been saved for many years before being used. Or the piece could have been created over a period of many years.
In the early – mid 19th century the textile industry developed rapidly with innovative new approaches to the use of vegetable dyes resulting in new colours and designs being made available. Some hexagons feature fabrics very typical of the period. Lapis printing, named after the deep blue semi precious stone lapis lazuli, allowed red and blue dyes to be printed exactly next each other. Other hexagons reflect the popularity of newly developed dye colours including chartreuse green and manganese browns from the 1830s. There are patterns featuring sprigs, florals, stripes, and grids. Some of the lapis hexagons have been pieced from small pieces of fabric. Similar fabrics feature in other hexagon pieces held in the collection, such as this patchwork fragment and a hexagon quilt.