One of my favorite things about London is the museums - in part because they're free (although a small donation is appreciated.) We visited a bunch of them while we were there. Though not specifically quilt themed displays, there was still great inspiration to be found. This is the Tate Gallery.
When I visited, there was a special exhibit of beautiful "fabric paintings" by an artist named Andrea Buttner that reminded me of modern quilt designs. There was also a special Folk Art exhibit going on, but I didn't have the time to go through (or, sadly, the desire to pay the extra fee at the time.)
This tile floor at the Tate was another fun quilt design inspiration.
The British Museum is full of pieces from antiquity, but the modern sky light over the main hall atrium is one of my favorite features!
Strolling through the carvings from ancient Assyria (Iraq) was this beautiful carved "quilt". (Not really, but it sure looks like one!)
Here's a close up. I'm sorry it's hard to see - the lighting made it difficult to get a really good picture, but hopefully you can still see some of the gorgeous carved detail. Making a "stone quilt" sure means it's got a longer chance of survival.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is a museum dedicated to the "decorative arts" including textiles and clothing and interior decor, jewelry, sculpture, etc. It is huge and such a fantastic place. One of my favorite exhibits there is always the one displaying clothing over the last 600 or so years. It's fantastic! I don't know why I don't have any photos from that - maybe they weren't allowed. I can't remember.
Gorgeous tile designs from the period furniture and decor exhibits. I love getting quilt inspiration from tile patterns. Plus I'm always a sucker for blue and white together.
There was a gorgeous collection of original designs by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 19th century. He was a builder, furniture designer, artist - pretty much could do it all. I'm totally a William Morris fan and it was fun to see the detail and how much more vibrant are the original pieces.
This piece is called strawberry thief. Morris's prints also inspired some the first Liberty of London textiles. This one is still in print today!
I also snapped this picture of the tile floor at the V&S. I think I need to make a quilt like this.
More design inspiration around every corner. These massive doors were on a building along Embankment.
One highlight for me was visiting the Jane Austen museum in Chawton, in the home she lived in towards then end of her life and while her books were being published. This was my first ever time visiting Chawton.
This is an old quilt on one of the beds in the house. Red and white never goes out of style!
But the really cool part was to see the quilt that Jane Austen herself had made! I'd remembered hearing about a quilt made by Jane, but hadn't realized it was at this site! I'm sorry for the lousy picture. The lighting was not great and there was a glass wall around the bed. (Which was probably a good safety precaution against those of us who might fondle the quilt itself, or just walk off with it all together. You know how nutty those quilt-people can be!)
The fabrics and colors were beautifully preserved. I loved the dot fabric used for the sashing especially. I would love to know though, how much the colors have faded and changed over time.
Look at those hundreds of little baby triangles. I'm assuming this was English paper-pieced, but don't know. You can read more about the Jane Austen quilt here and here. As if I didn't love Jane enough - then to be reminded that she was a quilter too!
One final quilt from our journeys was at the Harry Potter Studio tour outside London. (If you're a Potter fan, it was absolutely worth the effort and the price to go. So well done.) This pic is from the set of Gryffindor tower and there is Ron Weasley's bed with this patchwork quilt of knit squares, obviously made by his mum. Loved it!