Miss Graces Quilt

A rare chance to see a historic quilt made over 130 years ago is being offered by Hawkesbury Regional Gallery from Saturday February 6 until Sunday, April 11.

Miss Grace’s quilt was created locally by Sophia Wilbow in the 1880s and is nationally significant. The quilt has been rarely exhibited due to its conservation requirements.

Sophia Wilbow (1829 – 1924) born in Pitt Town, was well known for her needlework skills in the Hawkesbury district and she reputedly made a quilt for each of her seven daughters who reached adulthood; three of the quilts are still in existence.

Miss Grace’s Quilt is made entirely by hand using a paper template technique with a tumbling block design.

The outer border of patches is made from the off cuts of nurses’ uniforms, as two of the Sophia’s daughters were nurses. The other squares were made from material samples purchased from department stores such as Anthony Horderns, as was characteristic in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century trends.

The quilt was donated to the Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Community and Regional Gallery Inc. by Wilbow family descendant Joyce Hedges. Another of Sophia’s quilts, held in the National Gallery of Australia collection, was created for her youngest daughter Jane. It is made from a hexagon pattern containing more than 7000 pieces with a print based on a design by well-known British textile designer William Morris. It is believed Sophia worked on the quilt whilst she sat at the side of her dying husband who suffered a long illness prior to his death in 1896.

The display of the historic Miss Grace’s Quilt at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery will be a thought-provoking contrast to The New Quilt exhibition presented by Quilt NSW which will showcase never before seen contemporary quilts. The modern textile artists in The New Quilt exhibition were invited to Think big, think bold – be adventurous!

The New Quilt 2021 and Miss Grace’s Quilt will be on exhibition at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery from Saturday, February 6 Sunday, April 11.

The Gallery is located at 300 George Street, Windsor, on the top level of the Deerubbin Centre. Entry is free. Hawkesbury Regional Gallery opening hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm. Closed Tuesdays.

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