Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Queen Victoria: Quilts Celebrating Her Reign

Portrait of Queen Victoria in a silk quilt in the collection
of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum #2016_023_0001

Queen Victoria's 1887 Jubilee celebrating 50 years on the throne was a joyous anniversary,
commemorated with quilts.

Not much is known about this Victorian extravaganza. Many of the blocks 
include silk woven pictures, Stevengraphs, with portraits of the Royal Family
and politicians of the late Victorian era.

The Princess and Prince of Wales are below the Queen in the center.
Princess Alexandra's portrait is probably from this ribbon, a woven Stevensgraph.

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is to Victoria's right.

Other ribbons frame the central portraits.

Jubilee Quilt by Mrs. Mills. 
Quilters Guild Collection

"Made by Mrs Mills of Crook, it was given as payment to her landlord in lieu of rent."

In the corners Mrs. Mills embroidered a portrait on  a velvet star.

Jubilee Quilt 1887–90, Christina Blythe, 
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

The Prince of Wales feathers in the center of this table cover or
bed cover made in Tasmania indicates it referred to the crown.

Ribbons and Stevensgraphs recalling the occasion must have been preserved 
in many crazy quilts. I have detail pictures of two American quilts with similar ribbons,

From the Arizona project and the Quilt Index

Hexagon mosaic from a Wooley & Wallis auction
 with portrait silks in the center of the star

Detail of a quilt in the collection of Howard & Carole Tanenbaum
shown at the Textile Museum of Canada several years ago

Victoria lived to celebrate her 60th anniversary on the throne in 1897
and Methodists in Tyneside made a signature quilt to remember the occasion.

England's Tennant's Auctions offered this bedcover with a bandana from the 1897 
event, framed by some faux patchwork and floral cretonnes.

Yardage of the bandana

Augusta Auctions sold a full color version---or maybe just
an unfaded version. Those end-of-the-century blues
were quite fugitive.

I also have pictures of two machine-woven Marseille-style bedcovers
this one with a portrait in the center....

and this one which has the royal arms in the center
and Prince of Wales plumes in the corners
Slightly different version in the design by Christopher Dresser.

Central portrait of the Queen in an embroidered bedcover dated
1899 and 1902 celebrating the Boer Wars. The multicolored
embroidery looks more like post 1915 though.

In the collection of the Hereford Museum and Art Gallery

See a post about quilts and fabric commemorating Victoria's coronation here:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Stars in Her Crown #4: Alfred Duke of Saxe Coburg & Gotha

Block #4 Alfred by Denniele Bohannon

Prince Alfred (1844-1900), called Affie in the Royal Family

Affie was often paired with his older brother. As a small child he was pretty, sweet and compliant (unlike Bertie.) Affie's childish misbehavior was forgiven more often than that of the royal heir.

Letter from the Queen to Vicky when the boys were in their teens:
"Affie is going on admirably and oh! when I see him...and look at...! (You know what I mean!) I am in utter despair!"
 Bertie and Affie with their tutor Mr. Gibbs in 1854

Affie and Bertie were close despite their parents' show of preference. In later life Bertie's revenge was calling Affie "a crashing bore."

Affie with the Duchess of Kent and sister Alice
about 1860, the year before Grandmama died

Alfred at 3, an etching by his mother.
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

Alfred was fascinated by the Navy and at the age of 14 he went to sea. 

 Lieutenant in the Royal Navy at 21
He was away on duty when Prince Albert died in 1861.

As a sailor he led a more adventurous life than that of his brothers. He survived being shot by an assassin at a picnic in Sydney, Australia when he was in his mid 20s. (It is surprising to find how many disaffected and/or insane subjects fired at the Royal Family over the years.)

And being a man of the world he ran with a fast set of "swells," just like his brother Bertie---too much like his brother Bertie. As the boys grew into men, their mother was disgusted with their late Victorian excesses. Whereas she grew to care for Bertie, she did not really like Alfred, telling Vicky that the 30-year-old Affie was showing "no improvement in him as yet---otherwise. There is the same ungracious, reserved manner which makes him so little liked"

Alfred was given an English title, the Duke of Edinburgh. But these children of German grandparents were also German royalty. When Uncle Ernest (Prince Albert's only brother) died with no heirs in 1893 Alfred accepted his position as Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha.

David Oakes as Uncle Ernest
Duke of  Saxe-Coburg & Gotha

His successor: Alfred, Duke of  Saxe-Coburg & Gotha
The real Alfred's face and style here make it hard to tell him from other
European rulers before World War I---all relatives.

Alfred preferred the British Navy to running two small German Duchies, the yellow spots here in today's Bavaria & Thuringia. His life there was not happy. He was said to love music and play the violin badly. He collected ceramics and glass, a collection now housed in the Coburg Fortress.

Marie Alexandrovna (1852-1920)
A Romanoff
She and Alfred had one son and four daughters

Marriage to Marie Alexandrovna of Russia was designed to bring two powerhouse states closer but Marie, daughter of the Tsar, did not endear herself to her English in-laws. Just who had higher status? The daughter of the English Queen or of the Russian Tsar? There was much discussion.

Royal cover-up of the suicide

During their 25th wedding anniversary celebration in 1899 their only son Alfred shot himself and died a few days later. Affie himself died soon after of cancer.

Prince Alfred in Scottish regalia

The end of Affie's life was rather sad but I would guess that like his older brother he enjoyed most of his 60+ years.

Block #4 Alfred by Mark Lauer

The Block

The larger pattern is for a 12" Block; the smaller for an 8" Block.

To Print:
Create a word file or an empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file 8-1/2" x 11". Check to be sure the inch square box measures 1".
You'll need 4 copies if you are going to piece it over paper foundations.

The block is constructed in triangles—-Triangles are flipped and pieced into squares, four to a block. Each pattern includes paper foundations for 8” & 12” blocks, which you can also use for template piecing. Add a 1/4” seam allowance when you cut the fabric using the templates.

In Block #4 the triangles are identical except four are flipped over. And those four have a different color for Point A, purple in one set in the sketch and a different purple for the other.

Block #4 Alfred by Becky Brown

Textile of the Week

Becky & Denniele used a blue reproduction fabric for star points. Decades ago Terry Thompson and I had a document scrap of this print, a shirting scale cotton designed to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. We sent it off the Japan to be copied and I don't think it ever came back. I've never found another photo of an original.


But many thousands of yards of our repro were printed in blues, tans and reds in the line we called Victoria's Crown. It isn't the best print we ever did. I never liked smudging up the background, a trend in the 1990s to make fabric look "primitive"----grunge.

But heck, it's the only Queen Victoria shirting print I ever reproduced. And I wish I still had some to give away.

Here's another shirting-scale print produced for the earlier 1887 celebration of her 50th anniversary on the throne.

Read a Book a Week:
Alfred: Queen Victoria's Second Son by John Van der Kiste

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Past Perfect: Gay Bomers

This month's Past Perfect featured quilter is Gay Bomers.
She didn't make the quilt above; she drew the pattern for
her company Sentimental Stitches.

The quilt is Beyond the Cherry Trees and the quiltmaker is Alice
Tignor, who used Gay's pattern to make a reproduction of the quilt below.

The original Beyond the Cherry Trees quilt

Gay's modus operandi is to buy sadly used quilts that should have been preserved because
of their beauty, their family history, the patterns and their historical value.

From the Benjamin Biggs quilt

Sarah Poulsen's version from Gay's pattern

Gay and Clutch live in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dear Daughter original quilt

A specialty: Album quilts in bad shape.

I've long thought the best way to preserve a once-beautiful antique is to copy it as closely as possible. And Gay is proof that it works.

She doesn't  herself make just one copy; she draws the pattern so faithfully that many quilters can make a copy.

Nancy's copy of the 1857 Album at her
blog the Literate Quilter.

The original 1857 New York album.

Debra Harry's blocks

The original Benjamin Biggs album

Lori's version at Humble Quilts

From the Dear Daughter quilt

Gay also does historical research on the names inscribed.

Dream Garden
She isn't all 19th-century.

Just Takes Two by Barbara Black

And she isn't all applique. Above a quilt she designed with
Brenda Papadakis

8 inch block from Dear Daughter by Barbara Schaffer

Gay publishes her patterns in interesting fashion. The pattern is free for the first month it's posted and after that you can buy a digital download. As time goes by you can buy the whole package from her shop Sentimental Stitches.

Here's a spot to buy her digital downloads:

And last year's Dear Daughter quilt: