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The history of quilting can be traced back at least to medieval times. The V&A has early examples in its collection from Europe, India and the Far East. The word ‘quilt’ – linked to the Latin word ‘culcita’, meaning a bolster or cushion – seems to have first been used in England in the 13th century.
This is a Scottish handsewn patchwork quilt by Ann MacFarlane, Ayrshire – August 1996. The design features a 6 part handsewn hexagon motif on a yellow background edged in navy. The quilt is fully lined in cream and there is a discreet hand-written dedication in one corner on the reverse.
Patchwork became fashionable in Europe and America in the 17th century, as a means of showing off beautiful silks and printed cottons. Often, women would stitch in groups, or ‘quilting bees’ (sometimes including domestic staff) to create quilts to mark occasions such as a wedding.