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2001-8-A cotton wholecloth

2001-8-A cotton wholecloth
2001-8-A cotton wholecloth 1 2001-8-A cotton wholecloth 2

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This cotton wholecloth quilt was made by Lizzie Jane Williams in about 1900. Her husband was Tom Williams, and the couple lived at Cwm Llynfe Farm, Llansadarn, near Llandovery, on the north-western edge of the Brecon Beacons. Their son-in-law, John Ernest Roberts, ran the family business R Roberts & Sons Gentlemen’s Outfitters at Cambrian House in Llanidloes. When John’s son, Ken, moved to Ludlow, several of Lizzie’s quilts were found and bought by The Quilt Association.

One side of the quilt is made of a fine cotton fabric with a pattern of all over leaves and trailing stems. It is possibly a 19th century half-mourning fabric. In the Victorian era women would dress in a particular way if mourning the loss of a husband. Following the initial period of dressing in black fabric (for a year and a day), there came further stages of mourning, including second mourning (nine months) and half-mourning, where gradually more ornamental fabrics would be allowed. This is a two purple print probably made using  a natural dye (from the root of the madder plant). It is very crisply printed. The fabric must have been roller printed with three rollers: one for the dotted ground figure, one for the darker sprig, and one for the infill of the sprig leaves.

The quilt is hand quilted in white cotton thread. There is a circular medallion with borders, featuring spirals, hearts, trellis, and zigzags.  A few blue chalk lines still remain on the front of the quilt where the quilting patterns were drawn.