Historically-significant quilt joins new works in Hawkesbury Regional Gallery exhibition

A quilt that has rarely been exhibited due to its conservation requirements will be part of an upcoming exhibition called The New Quilt, showcasing contemporary Australian quilt art, at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery.

The historic and nationally-significant Miss Grace's Quilt, created locally by Sophia Wilbow in the 1880s, was made entirely by hand using a paper template technique with a tumbling block design, and will be part of the local exhibition by Quilt NSW, providing a thought-provoking contrast to some new and never seen before pieces.

Miss Graces Quilt, c. 1890, 220 x 187cm, on loan from the Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Community and Regional Gallery Inc, a gift from Joyce Hedges (Wilbow descendant). Picture: Supplied

Miss Graces Quilt, c. 1890, 220 x 187cm, on loan from the Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Community and Regional Gallery Inc, a gift from Joyce Hedges (Wilbow descendant). Picture: Supplied

Ms 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.

The outer border of patches on Miss Grace's Quilt is made from the off-cuts of nurses' uniforms, as two of Ms Wilbow'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 Hawkesbury Regional Gallery 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.

The New Quilt exhibition will include two- and three-dimensional sculptural works in a range of materials and styles, responding to many of the challenges we faced in 2020 from bushfires and COVID-19, to environment, revenge and joy.

The modern textile artists were invited to 'think big, think bold and be adventurous', and the pieces combine aesthetic impact with technical skills and powerful storytelling.

The New Quilt 2021 and Miss Grace's Quilt will be on exhibition from Saturday, February 6 until Sunday, April 11.

The Gallery is located at 300 George Street, Windsor, on the top level of the Deerubbin Centre. Entry is free.