top of page

Laura Ashley Cot Quilt (c1980s)

Ref: 1998-1

1998-1 Laura Ashley cot quilt
1998-1 Laura Ashley cot quilt

This is a late 20th century hexagon patchwork cot quilt made mainly of Laura Ashley fabrics.

Laura Ashley (1925 – 1985) became a household name as a fabric and fashion designer in the 1960s and 70s with her trademark floral prints, sometimes inspired by antique textiles. Starting small with headscarves, napkins and tea towels, Laura and her husband Bernard went on to create an international fashion and furnishings company, with its base firmly in Mid Wales for many years. The family lived for a while above their first shop in Machynlleth, Powys, Mid Wales, before moving to nearby Carno in the late 1960s. Early on in the company’s development Bernard devised his own printing process, whilst Laura concentrated on design of the trademark fabrics. For over three decades the original Laura Ashley factory in Carno produced garments for sale in what, by 1981, numbered over 5,000 retail outlets around the world.

Laura died tragically in 1985 but the company continued to flourish, designing textiles, clothes, and furnishings for an international customer base. 

This lovely cot quilt was bought for £2 from a local charity shop. Laura Ashley remnants were sold in the 1970s for use by patch workers, and these are typical of that era. The hexagon patchwork is hand sewn with machine stitched bound edges.

Hexagon Quilt (c1880)

Ref: 2002-2-A

2002-2-A hexagon quilt
2002-2-A hexagon quilt
2002-2-A hexagon quilt

This is a multi-coloured hexagon patchwork quilt with a central medallion. It was made for Lady Aberdare of Blaenau, near Ammanford, by Letitia Davies who lived in the Llandeilo area, in about 1880. 

The printed fabrics which make up the patchwork are predominantly from the 1860s/70s. There are also some plain weave printed cottons, and four red hexagons which are twill weave (Turkey red was fashionable in the third quarter of the 19th century – this is typical of the fabric used for petticoats).

The prints are multi-coloured – there are many florals in pale blues, sprigs on drab grounds, fruit images, polka spots and ultramarine blue circles. However, pinks are dominant – these were produced after the introduction of the synthetic alizarin dye. At that time it was exciting to have pink dress fabrics that did not rely on cochineal dye. 18th century pinks were very expensive and limited to young women. In the 19th century coral pink was worn by more mature women.

The wadding is a wool blanket. The piece is hand quilted with a white thread with the paisley pear, and flowers. The quilting lines are marked in blue on the reverse.

The printed fabrics were studied in September 2009 at a workshop with Dr Philip Sykas, Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Patchwork Fragment (c1850s)

Ref: 2004-3

2004-3 patchwork fragment
2004-3 patchwork fragment

This is a patchwork fragment of hexagons pieced over paper – probably the centre from a larger quilt. Some of the fabrics date from the 1830s, 40s and 50s.

The hexagons have been pieced over paper and handsewn together. One paper remains. The fragment was acquired from a charity shop in Llanidloes. It is in poor condition, especially around the edges where it is torn and worn. Nevertheless it contains some interesting fabrics from the mid 19th century, which provided the basis of workshop study in September 2009 with Dr Philip Sykas, Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Chrome yellow and orange originate from about 1830. The central hexagon is very bright, and it has centre of place implying that it was very special fabric.

There are a number of other fabrics from the 1830s – fine roller prints. They are cashmere-esque designs, with fine trails, and very geometric. They have a fine thread count.

The Prussian blues are typical of the 1840s. The dye is applied more heavily and is not as susceptible to fading, thus it remains strong.

There are single purple fabrics from the 1840s, which took over from indigo in popularity at this time. This fabric was worn as a day dress indoors by the middle classes – but not worn to go out in. After the 1840s it was seen as a lesser fabric as a whole. There are also two purple fabrics, where the lighter shade is formed by stippling. In the 1830s the ability to apply two colours on a roller was developed by engraving deeper.

Wool Hexagons (1882)

Ref: 2008-2

2008-2 wool hexagons
2008-2 wool hexagons

This wool hexagons coverlet is dated 1882 in the central hexagon, with the name “Jones” also stitched in. It was probably made in Wales, and was donated to The Quilt Association.

The coverlet measures 1930 x 1625mm and is made of hexagons in cotton twills and plains, with a red flannel reverse folded to the front with the corners mitred and patchwork appliquéd over it. It has been hand quilted in a dark thread in straight lines in running stitch, and also machine stitched to the flannel around the edges. There are still papers in some of the hexagon pieces.

This striking coverlet was exhibited at The Quilt Association summer show in 2008.

Hexagon Top With Papers (c1860)

Ref: 2009-1-B

2009-1-B hexagon top with papers
2009-1-B hexagon top with papers
2009-1-B hexagon top with papers

This is an unfinished hexagon top with papers which has an interesting selection of fabrics dating from the mid 1800s to 1880s. It was donated as one of a group of seven items, including patchwork, appliqué and one wholecloth. Another wholecloth quilt (2009-1-H)  from the same source in Cheshire was later purchased by the Association.

This and other items in this collection may have been made in North Wales. Here we can find various clues in the papers on the reverse of the hexagons, including one with a 2 Jan 1888 Conwy postmark. However, this could be misleading, it could just mean that the patchworker received letters from North Wales!

The following fabrics were discussed at a workshop with Philip Sykas in September 2009:

  • A later example of lapis, from 1830/40s. Lapis fabrics were originally produced by a unique process that permitted the printing of reds adjacent to blues.

  • Kate Greenaway figures which are possibly from the 1880s.

  • Japanesque motifs are seen in the circular plates on a dark ground.

  • Pansies were popular in the 1880s - 1890s. The dark ground is a revival of an old print. They show the pentagraph engraved effect in the way they are shaded accurately.

2009-1-B hexagon top with papers
2009-1-B hexagon top with papers
2009-1-B hexagon top with papers

Unfinished Hexagons (c1830s)

Ref: 2009-4-A

2009-4-A unfinished hexagons
2009-4-A unfinished hexagons
2009-4-A unfinished hexagons

This is an unfinished hexagons patchwork made in the Llanarth area of West Wales, probably in the second quarter of the 19th century. It is not known exactly who made the patchwork, but the maker was related to David (1826 – 1903) and Grace Davies (1828 – 1901), who lived in Llanarth. David was the registrar (known as a Relieving Officer) at Llanarth.

This piece is particularly interesting because it holds so many good examples of fabrics dating from 1810 – 1830. These are little faded, as the work was never finished and so packed away for decades. Most of the papers and the tacking holding them in place are also still there. All the stitching is by hand. One of the papers is dated September 27 1782 – this is written in ink. Another paper shows a postmark dated 1832.

The background is made up of white dimity – a striped weave fabric. Amongst the other hexagons are examples of fabrics including Lane’s Net design, punch engraving, honeycomb ground, stipple engraving, eccentric engraving, lapis printing, and ombre or rainbow style.

The patchwork was a very useful study resource for The Quilt Detectives lottery funded project in 2009, when Dr Philip Sykas, Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University, conducted workshops in printed textiles at The Minerva Arts Centre.

2009-4-A unfinished hexagons
2009-4-A unfinished hexagons
2009-4-A unfinished hexagons

Hexagon Pieced Fragment (c1830s)

Ref: 2011-4

2011-4 hexagon pieced fragment
2011-4 hexagon pieced fragment

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.

Hexagon Cushion (c1880s)

Ref: 2011-5

2011- 5 hexagon cushion
2011- 5 hexagon cushion

This is a hexagon shaped cushion featuring rosettes and flower garden hexagon patchwork. It was probably made in the late 19th century. It measures 530 x 530mm from side to side.

It seems likely that the hexagons were cut from fabric samples as there are many colour ways of the same print. Stripes, checks, florals and  mourning fabrics, all typical of the late 19th century, have been used. A heavier weight red twill weave cotton makes up the rosettes.

The hexagons have been  hand stitched; each one measures 21mm across. The cushion was made up with machine stitching, with one side hand stitched, probably where it was closed off.

The fabric on the reverse is a brown floral fabric. It could date from a later era, and the cushion itself may have been made at a later date than the original hexagon patchwork.

1940s Fabric Hexagons

Ref: 2013-4

2013-4 1940s fabrics hexagons
2013-4 1940s fabrics hexagons

This is a hexagon patchwork from Ceredigion which was finished in the early 1990s made of fabric from the 1940s.

It was made between1986 – 1992 by the donor. She said: “I collected lots of used fabrics from my early twenties. In 1986 I developed glaucoma. Thinking I would lose my sight I started to make piles of hexagons. Eventually I created a king-sized bedspread. It took approximately 6 years to complete.”

The hexagon patchwork has been pieced by hand using cotton dress fabrics, mainly florals. The large hexagons have been cut using “fussy cutting” to ensure the best bits of the pattern have been used. The hexagon “flowers” are carefully placed to create an overall pattern rather than used randomly.

There is a thin wadding, possibly polyester wadding, and the three layers are tied on the reverse. Around the edges the hexagons have been folded into the seam allowance.

The reverse is made of a cream sheeting fabric. The piece is in excellent condition as it has not been used.

Flower Garden Table Cover

Ref: 2000-3-A

2000-3 flower garden coverlet
2000-3 flower garden coverlet detail

This is a small hexagon patchwork table cover in the grandmother’s flower garden style and came from the donor’s great aunt’s home in Liverpool although she was not the maker.  It is made from cotton velvet, brocade and three types of silk (plain weave, figured and moiré), black being the dominant colour to set off the jewel colours of the flower shapes. 


The backing of plain cream cotton was added in 1982 by the donor and she stated that the papers she removed at this time were of plain white paper.  995 x 1320mm.

1970s Cot Quilt

Ref: 2007-4-B

2007-4-B 1970s cot quilt
2007-4-B 1970s cot quilt detail

This is a small hand sewn cot quilt made in 1970 and donated by the maker, who made it at a patchworking class run by the WI in Aberystwyth. The quilt was well used by the maker’s children and others she looked after as a childminder in the 1980’s.  It last saw service as a quilt for her granddaughter in 2004. It is made of dress cotton fabric, mainly of 1960s vintage and has a pale yellow background made of hexagons interspersed with colourful hexagons made into rosettes.  The wadding is a wool blanket and the reverse is made of a striped flannelette sheet.   955 x 660mm.

Hexagon Coverlet

Ref: 2009-1-A

2009-1-A hexagon coverlet
2009-1-A hexagon coverlet detail

This is a hexagon coverlet made from 19th Century fabrics, made in the late 1880s.  The top is a patchwork of hexagons which has been hand sewn.  There is a reverse of plain, white woven cotton but no wadding.   2240 x 1530mm

Hexagon Top

Ref: 2009-5

2009-5 80s hexagons detail
2009-5 80s hexagons

This unfinished top from the 1980s is made mainly of cotton dress fabrics in a patchwork of hexagons using the Grandmother’s Flower Garden design on a background of mid brown hexagons.  The hexagons have all been stitched together by hand.  The papers are still intact.  One is dated for a Gift Fair in 1983 and another is dated January 1987.    It was donated to us by Cranford Quilters of Knutsford in Cheshire.    2780 x 2305mm.

1960s Hexagon Coverlet

Ref: 2009-10

2009-10 sixties hexagons
2009-10 sixties hexagons detail

Made in the early 1960s by a resident of Llanidloes, this small eiderdown cover was made in the early 1960s in response to a magazine article showing how to make quilts with hexagons and is made from left over pieces of fabric.  The cream pink ‘damask’ is from an evening dress worn to a May Ball in Cambridge in May 1960 and the turquoise fabric from a sash and stole worn with it as accessories. 


It is made from four different fabrics, all rayon, in orange, rusty brown, cream and pale green.  It is a patchwork of hexagons and hand sewn with embroidery thread using different colours that matched the rayon fabrics. There is a diamond in the centre, with borders around.  Although there is no wadding, it appears that it was used as an eiderdown cover.  The eiderdown was removed and the opening stitched down – indeed, a feather was found when the piece was documented.  1500 x 950 mm.

Gathered Puff Hexagon Coverlet

Ref: 2019-5

Gathered HExagon 2019-5 B
Gathered HExagon 2019-5

Made by the donor’s grandmother, the top of this pretty coverlet is constructed of puffed hexagons, an interesting technique. It is made from white cotton with a slightly looser weave of white cotton fabric on the reverse.  It looks as if it originally had a border which was removed to make it fit a smaller bed, thus leaving the edge of the coverlet as rows of hexagons. 1350mm x 2000mm.

Grandmother’s Garden Coverlet

Ref: 2022-6-A


Made by Jane Hughes (nee Bate) in around 1865, this quilt was donated by her great, great niece.  Jane was apprenticed to a court dressmaker before setting up as a quilter in Wolverhampton before her marriage in 1861.


This lovely coverlet in a Grandmother’s Garden design is formed from hexagonal mosaics of silk and silk ribbons in a variety of colours on a black background.    The reverse is a diamond weave fabric in a plain rust colour which has been brought to the front around the edge to make a border and trimmed with a narrow braid.  2455mm x 2370mm.

If you have any enquiries regarding The Quilt Association or
The Minerva Arts Centre, please get in touch with us here

Back To The Top

bottom of page