One of my interests is local history, and I am currently doing some work on Lutterworth Probate Inventories. These documents are absolutely fascinating, as they are a list of all the possessions a person has at death, room by room, with their values. Recently I have been studying one from William Allibone, who died in 1720. His property appears to have been an inn, as there are lots of rooms which are named, 'The Green Chamber, The Painted Chamber' etc, and lots of beds, chairs, linen and crockery. He even has two coffee pots! However, the most exciting thing for me was the entry here, in The Yellow Chamber 'Item 9 patchwork chairs'. A reference to patchwork in 1720, here in Lutterworth! Wow!
Here is the entry, and it's pretty clear. I didn't want to get too excited, as it could mean something else, like a type of wood, or whatever, so I did some checking. First was Bridget Long of the Quilter's Guild who confirmed that they have an 18th century patchwork chair cover in the Guild collection, so it could well be correct. She also said it may well be the seamed rather than paper pieced patchwork, for strength. Then I contacted Eleanor John at the Jeffrye Museum in London, who could find no reference to a furniture style called 'patchwork' and presumes it means the fabric variety! Hooray! That's good enough for me. Now all I have to do is dream up a possible design!