Quilt No.958NGA - National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Australia
Owner: 
National Gallery of Australia
Location: 
ACT
Maker
Maker: 
Convict Women
Made in
SHIPBOARD England
Date: 
pre 1850
Description: 
"The Rajah "quilt" is a patchwork and appliquéd bed cover or coverlet. It is in pieced medallion or framed style: a popular design style for quilts in the British Isles in the mid 1800's. There is a central field of white cotton decorated with appliquéd (in broderie perse) chintz birds and floral motifs. This central field is framed by 12 bands or strips of patchwork printed cotton. The quilt is finished at the outer edge by white cotton decorated with appliquéd daisies on three sides and inscription in cross stitch surrounded by floral chintz attached with broderie perse on the fourth...
History: 

"Convict women made the quilt en route to Australia, in 1841, on board the Rajah. The ship left Woolwich on 5th April and arrived in Hobart 19th July �.. with 179 women prisoners. There were possibly twenty-nine convict women on board the ship who worked the quilt. Extensive information is held at the NGA on the details of the voyage and the women who were transported to Australia upon the Rajah." [NGA]
"Little is known of the past owners of the quilt. It is believed that the quilt was presented to a government official soon after the Rajah's arrival. In 1987 the quilt was discovered in a private collection in Scotland. In 1989 it was purchased and donated to the National Gallery of Australia by Les Hollings and the Australian Textile Fund" [NGA]

Story: 

"The fabrication of the Rajah quilt was organised by prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and the 'British Ladies Society for the Reformation of Female Prisoners', who were all members of the Quaker religious order. A woman listed as a free passenger of the Rajah, Miss Kezia Hayter is conjectured to have been the supervisor of the creation of the quilt and the needleworker of the most skill in its fabrication; she probably did the inscription panel." [NGA]
"One of the border bands carries an inscription in very fine cross stitch (18 stitches/cm). The inscription reads:
TO THE LADIES Of the Convict ship committee This quilt worked by the Convict of the ship Rajah during their voyage to Van Diemans Land is presented as a testimony of the gratitude with which they remember their exertions for their welfare while in England and during their passage and also of proof that they have not neglected the Ladies kind admonitions of being industrious * June * 1841 *" [NGA]

Share

Related Quilts:

National Trust of Australia (TAS)
Quilt top of hexagonal patches in silk and velvet in colours of brown, black, soft green, maroon, light yellow and blue. Some materials self patterned. Blue backing papers can be seen at edges behind some patches.
Jindera Pioneer Museum
Quilt made of 26 x 13 rectangles of woollen men's suiting samples. Each rectangle is about 70 x 130 mm. Wide variety of patterns, mainly stripes, and colous. The padding is part of a worn cream blanket and joined pieces of woollen clothing. The backing is a well worn piece of brushed cotton. Machine made.
11900 x 1870 mm
Marjorie Treasy
Machine sewn quilt made from 125mm squares of scraps left over from dressmaking, joined in strips and then the strips joined. There is a border of fawn cotton and the backing is the same material. The padding is an old blanket and the border is padded with sheep's wool.
1400 x 925mm
Muriel Hartmann
Old jute wool pack opened out and joined together selvedge to selvedge. Ends bound with recycled curtain material.
1550 x 1321mm
National Trust of Australia (WA)
Hexagon quilt in dress and shirting cottons constructed in frame style with a centre rosette of 7 patches surrounded by 4 borders of patterned hexagons alternating with cream patches. The quilt has an inner border of triangles then rows of rosettes alternating with cream patches. The outer border is triangles. There is no padding. The backing is cream linen and has had a 20th century white cotton sateen slipstitched to it.
2045 x 1940mm
Gwen Cordinglay
Patchwork quilt made from hexagon patches in silks and rayons, in pinks, blues, red, yellow mainly, with pastels. No padding. Bordered and backed with green satin.
1829 x 1372mm