Here is the quilt, displayed on my lounge carpet! Unremarkable hexagons, with the papers still on the back. I decided to take the papers out, wash it and complete the bit that was missing, as it was quite a good size and wouldn't take much work. When I turned it over, I had quite a shock, as the papers had been cut from old letters, and the writing looked to be copperplate and not very modern at all. Some of the papers had writing going across and then down, on top of one another. This was done to save postage and paper, in the Victorian era.
Then I found papers which had presumably been cut from envelopes, with postmarks on them!
This one is a handstamp from Warrington 92, which must be 1892
and this one Bathearton (?) Dec 91 which must be 1991! This proves that the papers are nearly 120 years old, and the fabric must be at least that.
The fabrics don't seem to be remarkable, but this puts me in a quandry. What do I do with it? I am loathe to give it to a museum, where it will end up in a box, and would rather finish the quilt (with reproduction fabrics) and make it into a quilt or coverlet, as the maker intended. Did I ought to try to contact the person who gave it to me (sorry, I didn't take note of who it was!) and give it back? Or can I finish it, put a donation into Linus and keep it myself? All suggestions gratefully received.