RAMM’s Southcott Quilt visits the V&A
14 January 2010
A famous quilt from RAMM's collection will feature in the V&A's first major exhibition of quilts.
The patchwork quilt was made by Joanna Southcott, a controversial Exeter figure, in around 1810. It includes a fascinating mix of printed textiles whose variety of patterns and dyes show the range of techniques available to cotton printers and fabric manufacturers at the time. Joanna Southcott worked for Taylors, a firm of upholsterers just off Fore Street in Exeter, and the fabrics used for the patchwork may have been off-cuts from textiles used in the business. The quilt was last on show at RAMM in 2002 in an exhibition about Joanna Southcott's colourful life.
Known and referred to in her lifetime as The Exeter Prophetess, Joanna Southcott came to prominence in 1792 at the age of 42 after she published her prophecies. She had many detractors but gathered over 14,000 sincere followers throughout the country and, even now, is still revered by followers in England, Australia and America.
The Southcott Quilt will appear alongside a fascinating array of quilts, including the luxurious Bishops Court Quilt (1690), said to have been slept under by the future Charles II as he fled the Civil War, the Rajah Quilt, a transportation quilt which has never before been shown outside the National Gallery of Australia, and a coverlet depicting George III reviewing the troops (1803-05).
Quilts 1700-2010 will be on display at the V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL from 20 March to 4 July 2010.