Leaf green silk satin quilted over padding onto cream twilled linen lining. Top quilted in wavy lines, hem in deep band of scrolls and foliage. Linen waistband. Vent in right side 26.5cm, bound in green silk. Similar vent at left, open at top and fastened by strings continuous with waistband. From the Aldersey family who had lived at Aldersey village from the 13th century. Aldersey is in the parish of Coddington, near Farndon. The hall at which they lived was rebuilt 1804-5 and then demolished around 1950.
Quilting is a craft or technique so old that its origins seem to stretch into deepest history. Basic quilting consists of two layers of outer fabric stitched over a lining of softer padding, although cord or thick thread can also be used to form the raised pattern. It was certainly known to the Romans, and the noun "quilt" is derived from the latin "culcita" meaning mattress filled with feathers or soft wool. In the Europe of the Middle Ages, quilting was much used for jerkins or vests worn under heavy armour, or as an actual padded lining to it. By the eighteenth century, quilted garments were popular for warmth and as protection against draughts. Women's decorative petticoats were particularly common, but also cloaks, caps and sleeveless bodices or jumps, as well as bed covers, men's waistcoats, children's caps and staybands and baby's robes. Some items were ready-made in workshops or by outworkers, particularly bed quilts and women's silk petticoats. The London Tradesman (1747) wrote that "quilted petticoats are made mostly by women, and some men, who are employed by the shops but earn little." Designs tended to be either simple geometrics like diamond panes, or more fluid stylised flowers, leaves and feathers; and cotton, linen or silk could provide the outer layer. Sometimes quilted pieces could also be printed or painted to add another decorative veneer, as in the main image from a quilted cloak. In essence, it is a technique which perfectly marries the decorative with the practical.
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery