The Great Bed Controversy!

I’m probably going to get my wrist slapped for this – we were going to keep this under wraps until the Press Launch next week but given the rumours circulating regarding our plans for the display of bed covers and quilts I thought I would share this with you.  Actually attendees at the Gala Dinner at the Festival of Quilts last week were the first to hear our plans and see some of the amazing objects from the collection which will be showcased for the first time in 2010.

You can just make out an image of one of the curtains from the 1730 bed hangings which had previously been on display in the V&A’s Textile Study Galleries.  It had been mounted onto a board and displayed behind glass.  I asked the audience whether they would prefer to see the bed hangings like this or ……..

242-1908 Set of bed hangings, maker unknown, possibly London, 1730-50

Like this.  This is the first time the 1730 bed hangings will have been completed reassembled since being acquired by the Museum in 1908.  Quilts 1700-2010 has provided us with the unique opportunity to undertake new research into the hangings and to work closely with our expert conservator to present the hangings as they were designed and made to be seen and indeed used.  Our intention in displaying objects like the 1730 bed hangings on specially designed three dimensional mounts is to offer our audience a new experience, to discover the true skill and craftsmanship involved in creating objects for the domestic interior.  6,482 hand stitched pieces of cotton,chintz and silk have been employed in the making of the only set of chintz bed hangings in a public collection from this period.  We rather hope you would prefer to see them in this way but then again I might be wrong ………

Quick footnote – we are taking on board calls for a specially commissioned printed commemorative panel for the exhibition.  Watch this space!