Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Visit to Hemingford Grey.

On Saturday I went with our group Piecemakers to visit The Manor, at Hemmingford Grey.
Here are some of our group in front of the house, which dates from Norman times (the 1100s for those not into English history).

Apart from the fact that it is the oldest continuously inhabited house in England (or Great Britain or something) and has a fabulous garden, we went to see Lucy Boston's stunning patchworks. Lucy Boston bought a couple of hexagon patchwork quilts when she moved to the house on marrying, and found that they were the perfect size for the windows in the lounge. The quilts were labelled 'started in 1801 and finished in 1803' so were not in the best condition, and they deteriorated steadily. Lucy began to repair them and started to become interested in patchwork herself. She made one or more quilts every winter, sitting in front of the fire, from about 1938, and had an artist's eye for pattern and colour which has made all her quilts a delight. They are all done over papers and sewn completely by hand with tiny, meticulous stitches.

We were shown the patchworks (made into coverlets, but never wadded) by Lucy's daughter-in-law, Diana, who did not want me to take photographs, for obvious reasons. Here are a couple of photos I have taken from Celia Eddy's excellent article on Lucy Boston. If you're interested in these quilts, it's an excellent read.

This is the very famous 'Patchwork of the Crosses' where every block is made of lozenges and squares, but because of the arrangement of value and pattern, every block looks quite different.

This is a coverlet Lucy made for Sir Martin Ryle, the Astronomer Royal. When it was finished, Lucy felt it wasn't celestial enough, so appliqued all the moons and stars round the border.

After being blown away by the quilts, we explored the gardens. Here are some members in part of the herbaceous borders - they are actually walking on a path!

and another view of a different part of the garden.

The whole visit was a delight. If you would like to see the quilts, you can book in for a tour, and if you want to see more photos, please visit my Piecemakers blog.


Lazy Gal Tonya said...

what a fun trip. I LOVE that quilt for the astronomer.

Sarah Jayne said...

Looks like you all had a great trip. Thanks for sharing

Julie in the Barn said...

Thanks so much for sharing your trip. My dream vacation is a garden tour in Great Britan. I drool over the country gardens there. My climate doesn't allow such gardens but I do a poor imitation as best I can.

The quilts are amazing. I can't imagine the handwork involved.