• Staff writer

Rare opportunity to view nationally significant quilt by historic Pitt Town resident

Who would have thought it – a quilt that’s nationally significant. But that’s exactly what you’ll be able to see at the Gallery in Windsor from this coming Saturday, February 6, and it’s a fascinating Hawkesbury story.

Miss Grace’s quilt, was created by Sophia Wilbow in the 1880s. She was born in Pitt Town in 1829, lived until 1924, and was well known in the Hawkesbury district for her most excellent needlework skills.

Sophia made a quilt for each of her seven daughters who reached adulthood. Three of the quilts are still in existence.

This surviving quilt on show has been rarely exhibited due to its conservation requirements and it’s appearing in Windsor as part of The New Quilt survey exhibition of contemporary Australian quilt art.

It’s interesting to compare modern quilt designs and construction with the original Pitt Town quilt, and visitors to the Gallery will be able to see that for themselves.

Miss Grace’s Quilt is made entirely by hand using a paper template technique with a tumbling block design. The outer border of patches is made from the off cuts of nurses’ uniforms, as two of the Sophia’s daughters were nurses. The other squares were made from material samples bought from iconic department stores including Anthony Horderns.

The quilt was donated to the Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Community and Regional Gallery Inc. 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. It is made from a hexagon pattern containing more than 7000 pieces with a print based on a design by well-known British textile designer William Morris. It is believed Sophia worked on the quilt whilst she sat at the side of her dying husband who suffered a long illness leading up to his death in 1896.

The display of the historic Miss Grace’s Quilt at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery will be a thought-provoking contrast to The New Quilt exhibition presented by Quilt NSW which will showcase never before seen contemporary quilts.

The modern textile artists in The New Quilt exhibition were invited to, “Think big, think bold – be adventurous!”

Visitors to the exhibition may find themselves rethinking quilts, from the layering of materials, to an artwork full of aesthetic impact, technical skill and powerful storytelling.

This fascinating exhibition will include two and three dimensional sculptural works in a huge range of materials and styles, responding to many of the challenges we faced in 2020.

The New Quilt 2021 and Miss Grace’s Quilt will be on exhibition at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery from Saturday until Sunday April 11.

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

Entry is free.

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery opening hours:

Monday, Wednesday to Friday 10am-4pm

Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm

Closed Tuesdays.

Connect with Hawkesbury Regional Gallery:

Facebook www.facebook.com/hawkesburygallery

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