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Art Nouveau Quilt (1929)

Ref: 2001-8-F

2001-8-F art nouveau quilt
2001-8-F art nouveau quilt

This is a striking pink medallion quilt with Art Nouveau influences. It was made as a wedding quilt for Margaret Lallie Williams by her mother Lizzie Jane Williams. Margaret married John Roberts on 4 June 1929 at Ebenezer Chapel, Llansadarn.

Lizzie lived at Llansadarn near Llandovery in south west Wales where the quilt was made. Her son-in-law, John Roberts, ran the Gentlemen’s Outfitters at Cambrian House in Llanidloes during the mid 20th century, and the quilt was eventually donated to The Quilt Association by family members.

The quilt measures 2140 x 1693mm, and is made of glazed cotton sateen in two shades of pink and also a floral printed fabric. The wadding is of wool. Hearts, leaves and circles have been hand quilted in pink thread.

The quilt is a popular piece in exhibitions, and has travelled to Anglesey and Ludlow for shows, as well as being exhibited at The Minerva Art Centre.

Velvet Patchwork (1870)

Ref: 2001-10

2001-10 velvet patchwork
2001-10 velvet patchwork

This velvet patchwork quilt (2115 x 1974 mm) was made by Anne Williams of Torfaen Road, Caerphilly in 1870 and donated to The Quilt Association by her family.

It is made of silk velvet and cottons in a plain weave ground. The colours are mainly maroon, brown, and blue in a bold patchwork design with central medallion and borders. The patchwork is finely hand quilted in a black cotton thread with a medallion, paisley pear, tulips, fans, and oval leaves. The reverse is a pink cotton sateen.

The quilt has been exhibited in two summer shows at the Minerva Arts Centre, and also at Holyhead, Anglesey.

The Gentleman's Quilt (1911)

Ref: 2002-11

2002-11 the gentleman's quilt
2002-11 the gentleman's quilt

This quilt was made for Albert Swancote-Jones of Cwmbelan near Llanidloes by his mother in 1911. Albert was her 11th child and after his birth she was determined that he, like his siblings, should have a quilt of his own. When Albert was in his eighties he moved into a care home in Llanidloes, and was persuaded to step into the “modern” age with a new duvet! This quilt was then donated to The Quilt Association.

It measures 2152 x 1760mm, and is of a medallion patchwork design with borders. The fabrics are Welsh flannels, except for the appliqué shapes which are cotton. It has been machine quilted randomly in white thread, whilst a chain stitch has been used on the appliqué. There is no wadding, and the reverse is flannelette.

The quilt has been much exhibited, and featured at The Quilt Association summer shows in 2002 and 2004, and also Ludlow Library Resource Centre in 2005. In 2009 it was shown at The Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. Textile artist Bobby Britnell took the quilt as inspiration for a contemporary piece of work shown at The Quilt Association’s summer show in 2002, and also in its collection (2002-28 The Eleventh Child).

Starfish Quilt (c1830s)

Ref: 2002-14

2002-14 starfish quilt
2002-14 starfish quilt
2002-14 starfish quilt

This is a diamond in a square style quilt in buff and crimson with some very fine quilting. It was bought for the collection from a dealer who had acquired the quilt in Haverfordwest, south-west Wales.

The quilt measures 2356 x 2135 mm, and is made of worsted wool on the front, and linen on the reverse. Philip Sykas studied the quilt in September 2009 and explained that the worsted wool fabric was commonly used in women’s petticoats in the 18th century. However, this is a 19th century quilt because it is quilted with cotton thread. It was probably made between 1830 – 1850. The wadding is a thin layer of carded wool between two layers of worsted fabric.

The quilting in cream cotton thread features flowers, spirals, starfish and cables. The cable borders are typical Pembrokeshire designs. A tracing of the quilting has been made by three volunteers – it took two whole days to trace the entire design.

This beautiful quilt has been exhibited widely, including at The Minerva Arts Centre, Ludlow Library Resource Centre, and Holyhead Arts Centre on Anglesey. It features in the book Making Welsh Quilts by Clare Claridge and Mary Jenkins, David & Charles, 2005.

Diamond In A Square (c1910)

Ref: 2002-18-B

2002-18-B diamond in a square
2002-18-B diamond in a square

This is a utilitarian patchwork quilt in the medallion style, with a diamond in a square featuring centrally. It was made in the South Wales valleys in the early 20th century of lightweight cotton printed fabrics from several different periods. Many of these are tailors’ samples of dress fabrics, using different colourways of same print. The reverse of the quilt has been made with plainer fabrics in stronger colours.

The quilter was Sarah Ann Davies (1862 – 1944), who was born in Pontrhydyfen. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was 2 years old and she was lovingly raised by her step-mother. Poverty decreed that aged 10 she left home to become a dairymaid at Llangyfelach and later at Castell Nedd. On her rare days off she would return home exhausted. Her step-mother would greet her lovingly but having sat her near the fire and provided a cup of hot tea she would be handed a half knitted stocking or a piece of sewing to work on.

Sarah Ann married David Davies in Aberdare and began sewing quilts for her own rapidly growing family. David worked as a collier until, wearying of the continual industrial unrest in the area, the family moved from Aberdare to Abertridwr where he found work at the Windsor Colliery. In all Sarah bore eight children several of whom died in infancy. Throughout her life she battled hard against the crippling poverty that was her lot. Standards were upheld, however, and the house sparkled - not a penny was wasted and every scrap of everything was put to good use.

The Quilt Association has several of Sarah’s patchwork quilts, which were assembled from “recycled” fabrics and pattern books from drapers’ shops in Abertridwr. This wholecloth is perhaps an exception – made for best. As her daughters grew, Sarah taught them patchwork and quilting. Her daughter Eunice recalled as a child being taught to sew the patches together and, when the faces were complete, the quilting frame being brought down from behind the horsehair sofa for the quilting process to begin.

Velvet Patchwork Coverlet (c1860)

Ref: 2004-1-C

2004-1-C velvet patchwork coverlet
2004-1-C velvet patchwork coverlet

This small patchwork coverlet is just 36 x 36 cm and was probably used to decorate a table. Velvet and silk were both popular fabrics in the mid Victorian era between 1850 - 1875, and cushions, throws and tea cosies produced in the mosaic or crazy patchwork style adorned many a parlour.

The small 25mm squares of velvet have been pieced over papers. One row still contains the papers which have been cut from a catalogue, and some of the tacking also remains.

Altogether there are eight rows of the mosaic squares. Five of velvet form a dark central medallion, with three more brightly coloured outer rows in silk.

The piece was donated from West Sussex along with several other small textile items.

Patchwork Coverlet (c1880s)

Ref: 2009-1-E

2009-1-E patchwork coverlet
2009-1-E patchwork coverlet

This late 19th century patchwork coverlet was donated by a Cheshire family along with several other textile items including an appliqué diamonds coverlet which you can view here. The Quilt Association has since bought a wholecloth quilt from the same family which you can view here.

The coverlet has been pieced from various printed dress and shirting cotton fabrics typical of the era. Red twill weave cotton has also been used for some of the patches. What is basically a very utilitarian coverlet has still been carefully planned for maximum effect, with a diamond in the square patchwork panel in the centre surrounded by four pieced borders.

There are a large number of mauve dress fabrics – which were very popular at this time. In 1856 English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered that aniline – a by-product of coal tar – could be synthesized to create a purple stain on silk. William later set up a factory to produce his new synthetic dye which he called mauve. Synthetic dyes in other colours such as blue, red and green soon followed, and were keenly promoted at exhibitions in London. By the 1870s textile manufacturers had adopted these new dyes with enthusiasm, producing large quantities of cheap dress fabrics in the fashionable new colours.

Simple lines of hand quilting in white thread hold the two sides together. The coverlet is bound with red twill weave cotton. The reverse fabric is a white plain weave cotton.

Brickwall Medallion Quilt

Ref: 2010-1

2010-1 brickwall medallion quilt
2010-1 brickwall medallion quilt

This is a brickwall medallion quilt which has been hand-quilted.

It was donated to a Knighton charity (in Mid Wales) collecting for Romania and then offered to the Association in return for a donation.

The central medallion is in a brickwall style in wools, flannelette, and twill cottons. The borders are wool and cotton, whilst the reverse is made of a cotton shirting fabric. Raw cotton with seeds still in it has been used for the wadding.

The quilt has been hand quilted in black and white threads. Each border is quilted separately, and the outer border has a diamond pattern. The quilting changes direction each time it meets a new border.

1930s Medallion Patchwork

Ref: 2010-4

2010-4 1930s medallion patchwork
2010-4 1930s medallion patchwork

This is a central medallion patchwork quilt, probably made in the 1930s.

The fabrics are printed cotton, linen, rayon, shirting and dress fabrics and some furnishing fabrics. The maker has been extremely creative with her use of fabric sample books, and there are some excellent examples of 1930s fabrics in the quilt. The patterns are varied, but include stripes (irregular and regular), florals and spots. The colours are primarily reds, pinks, blues and whites.

The quilt has a Welsh woollen blanket in cream with a navy stripe as the wadding.

Machine pieced, the patchwork is a typically Welsh style of central medallion with borders. It has been hand quilted in a white thread. The quilting follows the medallion patchwork pattern.

There are butted edges, and the reverse layer is patchwork in a brickwall style, but done in strips which have been joined.

Central Medallion Patchwork Quilt (1910)

Ref: 2012-1

2012-1 central medallion patchwork quilt
2012-1 central medallion patchwork quilt

This is a good example of two quilts in one! It is a  Mid Wales patchwork quilt, now well-worn, with an older quilt used as wadding. It was made in 1910 at Lluastdolgwial, Llangurig, near Llanidloes by Mary Griffiths and given to her son John Daniel Griffiths on the occasion of his marriage to Ellen Leete in London.

The old quilt is made of cotton sateens and wool tartan, and is clearly visible through the well-worn reverse of the second top. Hand-pieced it features a central medallion with a pinwheel, flying geese and triangle borders.

The later quilt  is also a patchwork with a central medallion on one side, and a wholecloth in a red patterned floral fabric.on the reverse. Strips of fabric have been joined by machine. The patchwork features fabrics with stripes, spots, florals, and diamonds.

A blanket has been used as wadding at one end where an extra section has been added to increase the size of the later quilt. Uncarded wool wadding was used in the original quilt.

The quilt has been hand quilted in a white thread with simple spirals, lines and trellis patterns.

Purple Diamond Comforter (c1950)

Ref: 2012-5

2012-5 purple diamond comforter
2012-5 purple diamond comforter

This is a commercially produced reversible bedcover made by the British Quilting Company in the mid 20th century. The company operated in the small town of Waterfoot in the Rossendale Valley north of Manchester between 1912 – 1970 producing a variety of products, including the Comfy quilt. It is one of two such quilts in the Quilt Association’s collection.

The BQC made machine quilted reversible bedcovers in three styles. This Comfy is in the patchwork style featuring a reverse diamond and border. One side is plain mauve fabric, the other a paisley floral print. Machine quilted in wavy parallel lines the diamond shape was cut out and turned over before being sewn back down. The other two styles were a wholecloth and a double frame version.

Little was known about the production of Comfy quilts until 2012 when Janet Rae presented a paper at the British Quilt Study Group annual weekend seminar at Gregynog Hall near Newtown, Powys, outlining the research she had completed about the history and origins of these bedcovers. First she tracked down the company with the Comfy logo using local records and archives. Later she met with former factory workers, some of whom had started work at the factory aged just 14, and learnt more about the products (including pram covers and dressing gowns) and production techniques.

Janet discovered that “not all products depended on the use of the American multi-needle machines: many women also worked on quilts and bedcoverings on single-needle machines following patterns marked with templates.” The workers recalled cutting out the diamond shape “with a small hand-held electric blade”. A twin-needle machine was used for sewing binding around the diamond and the borders. Comfys were packed in “big square canvas bags that were closed with hand stitching.” The machinists were paid about £4 a week, although they may also have received a piece rate.

Further information about the production of Comfy quilts at the Holt Mill in Waterfoot by the BQC is available in “Quilt Studies: The Journal of The British Quilt Study Group, Issue 13, 2012”.

Frame Quilt

Ref: 2002-1

2002-1 frame quilt
2002-1 frame quilt detail

This patchwork frame quilt was bought at an auction in Machynlleth and dates from the 1920s/30s.  The patchwork fabrics on the top are plain, checked and striped shirting flannels, velvet, cotton sateen in blue, brown and black and red and the design is made from squares, rectangles and triangles.  The reverse is made from pieces of black twill, green weave and warp faced fabric in black and pale blue stripes.  There is no wadding inside and the quilting is hand done with black thread.  2155 x 2125mm.

Frame Quilt

Ref: 2002-3

2002-3 frame quilt
2002-3 frame quilt detail

Bought in Machynlleth by the donor, this quilt was originally made with a variety of printed fabrics some of which are typical of the 1840s but was then patched with 1970s fabrics some of which are Laura Ashley patterns.  The original colours of the top are browns and blues and the reverse is made of cream linen.  In between is a wadding of carded wool.


The layers are hand quilted in a cream cotton thread with a design of leaves, petals, flowers and a fan.  The quilt has clearly been used a s a dust sheet as it has paint marks and oils stains on it which have degraded the fabric and has been repaired with patches and replacement corners.  2080 x 1820mm.

Pink and Green Quilt with Circles

Ref: 2002-4

2002-4 pink and green quilt with circles detail
2002-4 pink and green quilt with circles

This is an unfinished quilt in an Art Deco style which was bought at an auction.  We think the cotton fabrics used – florals, spots, stripes and circles in pink, green and brown - probably date from the 1970s and 1980s.  The machine pieced top has a central medallion (which has additional wadding behind it) with some machine quilting on it in pink.  The reverse is a bedspread with a faded, faint print of flowers.  The wadding consists of a coarse blanket and the quilting is hand done in radiating lines in brown thread.  2130 x 2105mm.

Medallion Patchwork Quilt

Ref: 2002-18-D

2002-18-D medallion
2002-18-D medallion reverse

This is one of a batch of several quilts made between about 1900 and the 1920’s which were made by the same lady who had begun sewing at a very early age.  At the age of ten she was sent away from home to work as a dairymaid but continued with her sewing on her rare days off – her stepmother would say to her, “Every stitch you do now, won’t have to be worked again.”   She grew up, married, and went to live in Aberdare with her husband, a collier, before moving with their growing family to Abertridwr.  There she made the quilts which we now care for.  Each one was made from recycled fabrics and those from the pattern books held by the drapers of Abertridwr. As her daughters grew, she taught them the craft of patchworking. One of them recalled as a child being taught to sew the patches together and, when the tops were complete, the quilting frame being brought down from behind the horsehair sofa for the quilting process to begin.  These quilts are “pattern books” in themselves and much may be learned of Valley life in the first quarter of the century by studying them.  

The top of this quilt is a patchwork made from shirting samples and wool.  Some pieces are stamped with numbers because they are from ‘end of roll’ fabric.  In the centre is a rectangular medallion surrounded by brickwall pattern rows forming a border.  The colours are mainly pink, white and blue although four brightly coloured patches have been stitched on at a later date.  The reverse contains more shirting and is more soiled.  Various fabrics have been used as wadding and the quilting is hand done in white thread.  2113 x 1940mm.

Medallion Quilt

Ref: 2002-18-H

2002-18-H medallion 2
2002-18-H medallion 2 reverse
2002-18-H medallion 2 detail

This is one of a batch of several quilts made between about 1900 and the 1920’s which were made by the same lady who had begun sewing at a very early age.  At the age of ten she was sent away from home to work as a dairymaid but continued with her sewing on her rare days off – her stepmother would say to her, “Every stitch you do now, won’t have to be worked again.”   She grew up, married, and went to live in Aberdare with her husband, a collier, before moving with their growing family to Abertridwr.  There she made the quilts which we now care for.  Each one was made from recycled fabrics and those from the pattern books held by the drapers of Abertridwr.


As her daughters grew, she taught them the craft of patchworking. One of them recalled as a child being taught to sew the patches together and, when the tops were complete, the quilting frame being brought down from behind the horsehair sofa for the quilting process to begin.  These quilts are “pattern books” in themselves and much may be learned of Valley life in the first quarter of the century by studying them.  

Made from a variety of fabrics including upholstery fabric, cottons, flannel shirting and rayon, this quilt was probably made at the latter end of the time scale as it includes fabrics from the 1920s.  It has a patchwork top of a square brown medallion surrounded by rows of rectangular patches of varying sizes in a brickwall style.  The wadding is a thin blanket and the reverse is a bedspread made of coarse cotton stencilled in red.  It has been hand quilted in white cotton thread and some of the quilting lines, marked in blue ad red, are still visible.    2230 x 1990mm.

Medallion Patchwork with Circles Quilt

Ref: 2003-7-A

2003-7-A medallion patchwork with circles
2003-7-A medallion patchwork with circles detail

This is one of a pair of quilts which had belonged to one family in South Wales.  There is a small woven label in one corner, on the reverse, that has been stitched on and says 1881. The top is a patchwork, with a central medallion of one large and four segmented circles.


The medallion is bordered on the sides by three borders and by four borders on each end.  The fabrics used are red cotton twill and plain weave cottons, both plain and patterned, in red, mauve and cream.  The reverse is a piece of cream plain weave cotton and the wadding is carded wool.  2090 x 1804mm.

Welsh Medallion Quilt

Ref: 2004-5

2004-5 Welsh medallion quilt
2004-5 Welsh medallion quilt detail

This is a Welsh quilt in very poor condition.  However, it is interesting because of both the fabrics used and the quilt construction methods it demonstrates.  It was rescued from a house in Devils’ Bridge – someone had already cut out a piece of it to give a decorator something to clean up a paint spillage. 


We’re not sure when it was made but as there is machine stitching evident, it is after 1845. The top is machine pieced patchwork with a central medallion and borders.  The fabrics used are cotton sateen, plain weave cottons, dress and shirting cottons – some plain, some floral – in red, pink pale blue and white.  The wadding is an old quilt made from a pale grey, twill weave fabric which has cotton wadding inside – some of the seeds are showing.  The reverse is also pieced in a medallion style.  It has been hand quilted in a red thread with a design including spirals, leaves, ram horns, scrolls and arches. 1806 x 1802mm.

Flannel Cot Quilt

Ref: 2007-6-B

2007-6-B flannel cot quilt
2007-6-B flannel cot quilt detail

This quilt was acquired from an antique shop in Llanidloes and had been found during a house clearance.  The lady who owned it had worked in the local leather factory.  It was made c1930 in one of the eight flannel mills in Llanidloes.  The flannel made in the mill was sent to South Wales and was used for making miners’ shirts. 


The quilt has a central medallion with borders and is machine pieced form flannel in shades of beige, pink, grey, mauve and blue stripes.  The reverse is made for cotton shirting and some flannel.  1230 x 1020mm

Welsh Frame Quilt

Ref: 2009-3

2009-3 welsh frame quilt
2009-3 welsh frame quilt detail

This is a very well worn and faded frame quilt beautifully quilted with Welsh traditional patterns.  Made around 1870-1880 from cotton fabrics (some printed, some frame) there is a medallion patchwork piece with a diamond in a square in the centre with four borders around. The wadding is wool and there is an additional layer of muslin between it and the top. 


The reverse is of cotton in a red and white paisley pattern and is made of three lengths joined together.  The quilting has been done by hand in spirals, leaves and fans with a rose in the centre and double lines between the borders.   1860 x 1750mm.

Medallion Patchwork Top

Ref: 2017-1-G

2017-1-G medallion patchwork
2017-1-G medallion patchwork detail

This unfinished patchwork top was made in Merthyr Tydfil between the middle and end of the 19th Century.  It is made from a large variety of fabrics including cotton twill for the creams and whites.  The patterned fabrics are mostly dress and shirting fabrics printed with stripes, spots, flowers, checks, shapes and motifs such as fishing hooks. Some are sample book fabrics in different colourways from the 1820s-1850s.


The top has a central medallion made from military uniform fabrics including red, navy and mustard flannel in the form of an eight-pointed star, reminiscent of the ones seen on military quilts dating from the time of the Crimean War.  There are four borders, two in cream and white, another of octagons and the final border is of small, pieced squares.  The pieces are handsewn, some of them with exquisite stitching.  Some of the papers remain on the reverse.         2140mm x 1845mm.

Llidiartywaen Quilt

Ref: 2019-3


This quilt was made locally in Llidiartywaen near Llanidloes and donated by a family member.  It was made around 1900 from wool fabrics in red, black, khaki and grey.  The top has a central round medallion decorated with fly stitch, two borders of half square triangles, and another border with smaller squares on point.  There are other borders which were probably a later addition. The central medallion is hand quilted following the seam lines. Extra backing was added at a later date and this has been machine quilted on using diagonal lines.  There is some embroidery in the corners.  1850mm x 1915mm.

Pink and White Courthouse Steps Coverlet

Ref: 2019-6


This small coverlet was made in the early twentieth century by the donor’s grandmother.  It is a scaled down version of a typical Welsh quilt.  It has a patchwork top made from ‘Courthouse Steps’ blocks which have been machine pieced together.  The fabric used is cotton in pink and white, with a reverse made from three unequal cotton panels. The top and reverse have been hand quilted together using a design of a central medallion with clam shells, spirals and diamonds.  A hand gathered frill, 80mm in depth, completes this attractive quilt.  780mm x 930mm.

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

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