Good Morning! I have just returned from the annual quilt study seminar!
It was such a good study of quilts and bed coverings history. It is so fun to see what treasures women are finding and preserving as we try to piece together the story of textiles.
We do know that the first printed textiles came from India. They were hand dyed and painted. These were not quilted, but used as a bed covering, known as Palampores. These were very expensive and therefore only available to the very wealthy. The above one came from the United East India Company in the mid 1700s. Some have been documented to the 1600s.
Another bed covering of the 1600s and later was Counterpanes. These were whole cloth with embroidery work. The one above is a great example. These could be made of linen, silk, or wool, and later cotton.
When available and affordable these counterpanes were trimmed. From this close up picture you can also see how tiny the stitches were done. France is a known origin for some the fine needlework. How many of us slept under chenille spreads in the 1950s? Every time I see one of these past counterpanes, I am reminded of the chenilles.
The first quilting appears to have been done primarily for garments. The above picture is of a silk petticoat dated in the mid-1800. Some have been documented to have been made in the 1700s.
Resourceful women and men would later put all of these concepts together to make pieced and appliquéd quilts!
With a smaller purchase of the beautiful Indian Chintz fabrics, imitation Tree of Life bed coverings appeared. The process is known as broderie-perse. The images were cut from a piece of fabric and appliquéd onto a base solid fabric. The above picture is a Palampores as there is no batting or quilting. It is documented as being made in 1840. France and England would soon learn to produce similar chintz fabrics. The lower Tree of Life broderie-perse bed covering has been quilted.
Below is a close up of part of the above Tree of Life. I regret that I missed the date of this quilt.
Another close up of the quilt shows palm trees. They are seen in our southern states and symbol of Charleston, SC, where this years seminar took place. All of the pictures from this post come from the Charleston Museum. They had a fabulous display of textile history. In addition I was able to go on a tour of the store room and see many more of their treasures.