The oldest dated patchwork coverlet in Britain will be on exhibition for four months this autumn together with a meticulously reconstructed replica made by members of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles.

The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet has survived almost 300 years and is an exceptional record of patchwork form the early 18th century consisting of 69 individual blocks constructed using mosaic patchwork. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Britain’s textile treasures which normally resides in environmentally controlled storage to prevent deterioration.

Exquisitely designed and sewn, this complex and interesting Coverlet reveals clues to its maker. Silk would not have been readily available to all levels of society and the design motifs chosen would certainly have been influenced by the maker’s surroundings and the social and historical context in which they lived.

A fascinating new book entitled The 1718 Coverlet is being published by David & Charles to coincide with the Exhibition. Experienced quilt author, Susan Briscoe deconstructs The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet and each of the 69 blocks giving techniques and templates that will allow readers to replicate the Coverlet using the original mosaic piecing technique, as well as more accessible modern techniques.

The book also explores how the replica coverlet was painstakingly reproduced and quilt historian, Bridget Long, explores the fascinating history surrounding the Coverlet and its discovery by The Quilters’ Guild. Royalties from the book will support the charitable aims of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles including caring for and exhibiting The Collection.

“There is a sense of excitement building within the Museum as we anticipate the exhibition of one of our textiles treasures. It’s a very rewarding experience to see the reaction of visitors when they catch their first glimpse of the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet."

“We are delighted to be able to offer visitors the opportunity to participate in ‘1718 re-visited’ workshops with Susan in the autumn and to purchase Susan’s fantastic new book, allowing them to study the construction of the Coverlet in detail and to use the templates for their own projects”, said Fiona Diaper, Museum Manager.


Susan Briscoe is running two practical workshops ‘1718 re-visited’ at the Quilt Museum and Gallery on 11 October and 5 November 2014. Further details, including prices, available on the website

Gallery Talks

Quilt Historian Bridget Long will be giving two gallery talks on 6 September at 11.30am and 2.00pm. No booking is necessary for these free talks.


The 1718 Patchwork Coverlet (144 pages) will be published by David & Charles in September, 2014 at the cover price of £19.99 (hardback). The limited pre-order price available from the Quilt Museum and Gallery shop is £17.99 plus £4 p&p.