Unfinished pieced patchwork top with diamonds arranged in stars

Liverpool. United Kingdom

Date: c.1875-1890

Origin: Liverpool. United Kingdom

Dimensions: H 229 x W 212 cm

Venue: Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

This unfinished patchwork is made using the English paper piecing technique. Diamond shaped papers have been covered with fabric and arranged into a pattern of colourful stars formed by six diamonds within a framework of darker diamonds. The covered paper shapes are joined together by overcast or whip stitching. The design effectively uses high contrast between the colourful fabrics used for the stars and the dark tones used for the framework of diamonds surrounding them.

The fabrics used are mainly wools, with a few examples of silks and cottons. The majority of the fabrics are solid colours, although there are some examples of striped and checked patterns, as well as two different floral paisley prints. Where these patterned fabrics are used no attempt to pattern match or ‘fussy cut’ has been made and the diamonds are not even cut on the same grain of the fabric. In the outer edges the papers have been removed but the central area has many papers left in and the tacking stitches holding them in place can also still be seen. Many of the surviving papers appear to have been cut from old letters and magazines.

This piece is believed to be the work of Elizabeth Webster (the donor’s grandmother) with the assistance of her three children. It is not known why the piece was never finished.

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