For Episode #6 of our Six Know-It-Alls: Six Quilts last August Merikay Waldvogel showed us a pretty fabulous crazy quilt with connections to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, the World's Columbian Exposition, celebrating Columbus during a time when empires were to be celebrated.
The Episode: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bedrugstocrazyquiltsThis prompted me to look at my files of quilts shown at that fair--- a confusing bunch of information, much of which is questionable as you will see over the next few days. One story tells of a quilt displayed there allegedly made by Mary Queen of Scots who died in 1587--- a 16th-century quilt in the possession of John Bidlake who lived in Osnabrock, North Dakota. It was shown in the North Dakota building.
I've found no pictures but above is a description from a souvenir publication describing an embroidered piece (a quilt in British terminology might not be quite what Americans would describe) done in silk thread on red, black and green silk, apparently embroidered portrait faces.
"Mary, Queen of Scots, was devoted to the needle and was expert in its use. It is said that while in France she learned lace making and embroidery. Many wall hangings, bed draperies, bedcovers, and house linens are the work of her skillful fingers, or were made under her personal direction. A number of examples of her work are now owned by the Duke of Devonshire....As a solace during long days of loneliness, Queen Mary found consolation in her needle, as [Pg 41]have many women of lower degree before and since her unhappy time....The Earl of Shrewsbury was her custodian, and his wife, the countess, often sat and sewed with the unfortunate queen, both making pastime of their needlework."
Another description of the Queen's quilt from the Irish Standard Times of Minneapolis describes a faded yellow floral quilt (no portraits mentioned) with blooming roses.