Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Rajah Quilt

A new book Patchwork Prisoners has just been published by Research Tasmania

It tells the remarkable story of the convict women who created "the Rajah Quilt" which is now a treasured possession of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
The Rajah Quilt

This unique quilt was made with materials supplied by the great social reformer Elizabeth Fry to the convict women on board the ship Rajah in 1841 and when completed was presented to Lady Jane Franklin, wife of the then Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania) Sir John Franklin.

The quilt was returned to England at some stage (Elizabeth Fry had died by 1845) and its whereabouts remained unknown until it was rediscovered in an attic in a house in Scotland in 1987. 

Available from Research Tasmania

As to exactly which women from the Rajah were involved in the quilt's creation is still something of a mystery, but no doubt many Australians are descended from some of them. 

An article from newspaper The Australian here.

The quilt is currently part of an exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery featuring quilts from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

More about the quilt including a short video on the National Gallery of Australia website.

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