Mosaic patchwork is a technique in which pieces of fabric are wrapped and basted over paper templates and then the patches whipstitched together. Embroidery and appliqué was often added to the patches, and in the case of this coverlet, it looks to have been added after the piecing had been completed. The technique was particularly fashionable throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the United Kingdom in more affluent households, and its popularity waxed and waned as the taste for silk, wool, and cotton fabrics fell in and out of fashion. The style’s incorporation of thousands of small fabric pieces was a pre-cursor to the busy aesthetic of the Crazy quilt. This silk example of mosaic patchwork retains its template papers, including a piece from a 1705 newspaper.

Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Mosaic patchwork
18th century
Made in
England, United Kingdom
Victoria and Albert Museum, London