Quilts 1700-2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories by Sue Prichard. V & A Publishing (March 1, 2010) (Australia through Allen and Unwin).

Every now again a book comes past my desk that just makes me want to sing its praises to the world. This book Quilts 1700-2010 has been my bedtime reading for the past week – I have been lost within its pages. It was published to coincide with an extensive quilt exhibition from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum that is on 20 March – 4 July 2010. The exhibition gives you a chance to see rare and delicate quilts that you would otherwise only read about – and if you are not in London then you can still read about them in this book. Some of the quilts featured include historic quilts such as the Rajah Quilt, made by convicts in 1841, and is housed in Canberra at the NGA, and contemporary art quilts such as To Meet My Past by Tracey Emin, 2002.

This book contains essays and large glossy photographs of the quilts and the history behind them, the book has been edited by the exhibition curator Sue Prichard who is also curator of contemporary textiles at the V&A. It is a comprehensive study of British quilt history and contemporary practice.

The essays on Sewing Soldiers, Conserving the Pomegranite coverlet and Domestic Narratives are fascinating and have enriched my quilting knowledge, however it is the images that are very very special in this book. Not only beautifully photographed quilts and details but also paintings and sketches of historic photographs of women and men making quilts – a truly remarkable historic document.

The image at the top is the quilt that graces the cover of the book and is titled: At the End of the Day by Natasha Kerr 2007, Transfer printed, silk screen printed, hand painted, hand stitched linen.


Kathryn is writing a series on why textiles are important to women’s history and what we can do to help. She says:

A huge portion of women’s history is being eaten by moths. … A huge portion of women’s history is disregarded, not through malice, but through ignorance. … Research the heirloom quilt you keep secreted away and share the info via the web. Ask your grandmother about the embroidered sampler she keeps tucked away in her ceder chest.


join turkey feathers on a sentimental journey down memory lane.


The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest Secret (Wooden Books) by Scott Olsen published by Walker & Company

The Alchemist’s Kitchen: Extraordinary Potions & Curious Notions (Wooden Books) by Guy Ogilvy published by Walker & Company

Symmetry: The Ordering Principle (Wooden Books) by David Wade published by Walker & Company

These three books in this series are small and lovely – they are described as small books with big ideas. They are all illustrated with old engravings as well as contemporary illustrations by the authors, they are relevant to designers and artists as well as scientists and are of interest equally to children as to adults. Symmetry: symmetry in nature – in design – in architecture – in science. The golden section: the most beautiful ratio in the universe – in nature – in maths – in DNA – in insects and fish – in music and art and philosophy. The alchemists kitchen: recipes of elixirs, balms and pigments, discussions on the occult and legends, ancient medicine and symbolic meanings.

A lovely series – for nature lovers, artists, designers and scientists and anyone else interested in beauty and history and legends.

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