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53240Re: [Authentic_SCA] Re: Quilting was: Pillow stuffing

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  • kittencat3@aol.com
    Feb 2, 2006
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      In a message dated 2/2/2006 8:51:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      tonkin.rebecca@... writes:

      I just wanted to ask, when and where? We seem to be talking English
      Tudor times here, but what if you wanted a quilt from 14th C France? Or
      Normandy in 1066? Is there any evidence from earlier times? I thought
      that cotton-wool is progressively scarcer and more expensive the
      further back in time, and further from the Mediterranean, leading me to
      think that 14th C England, if it had quilts, would be more likely to
      have them padded with wool, unless you were very well off.
      14th century France - quilt would have been trapunto wholecloth of linen
      stuffed with cotton. Rene of Anjou owned one, and there was a quilt in Italy
      prior to WWII (it may not have survived) that featured the fleur-de-lis of Anjou
      and/or France as a prominent design motif.

      Norman times - probably not unless you somehow knew someone with connections
      to a Silk Road caravan, and certainly not on a bed. There's a huge gap
      between the one known Merovingian quilted piece (probably an import, 6-7th century)
      and a 12th century reference to a quilt in a French lai.

      Earlier times - there's a quilted tomb rug from Siberia that dates to the 1st
      century of the Common Era. There's a great picture of it in Averil Colby's
      book =Quilting.=

      I haven't found any evidence for wool used in quilts as padding before the
      time of Henry VIII; quilted armor was stuffed with cotton or linen because it
      provided more protection than wool, for instance. Wool as the quilt top seems
      to have originated in America in the 18th century in imitation of cotton and
      silk wholecloths, and may have developed from the bed rugg, or heavy hooked
      coverlet that was standard in the 17th and 18th centuries in New England.

      English quilting - very little evidence for a homegrown tradition until just
      after the SCA period, I'm afraid. Quilts were an expensive luxury item and
      were imported, either from the Low Countries (linen and cotton "holland cloth"
      quilts) or the Far East and India (silk wholecloths and Bengali cottons from

      Hope this helps....

      Sarah Davies

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