Quilted bedcover of Elisabeth Chapman
This quilted bed cover was likely made for the marriage of John and Elisabeth Chapman on September 19, 1829. With dimensions of approximately six feet by five feet, the bed cover features a block printed panel at the center that commemorates Wellington’s victory at Vittoria, the last battle of the Peninsula War in 1813. Central panels such as these were common in the early nineteenth century, as they allowed the quilter to work outward until the desired dimensions were achieved. Underneath this panel is a hand-stitched epitaph with the names of John and Elisabeth Chapman, as well as the date of their marriage and verses of poetry for husband and wife. This quilt was likely worked on for many years but never finished, as it includes papers dating back to the 1790s and the tacking stitches (temporary stitches) were never removed. The quilt is made up of block-printed cottons in a pattern known as “jockey’s cap,” and receipts for local merchants point to the fabrics being sources near Rochester, Kent, England. Though family history says that the papers visible on the reverse side of the quilt were the love letters of John and Elisabeth, closer examination done by the Victoria and Albert Museum has found that they are actually ledger books, children’s copy books, newspapers, and receipts.
Bed Cover and Border, 1829, Victoria and Albert Museum, https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O166891/bed-cover-and-unknown/