Quilt design inspiration in London Museums

One final post from our travels to the UK this summer, if you don’t mind. It’s so fun to find beautiful quilt design inspiration in London – there’s design inspiration all over the place. So I thought I’d share a few last pictures of some pretty design I came across on our travels.

Natural History Museum London

Above is the Museum of Natural History (literally across the street from where the Fat Quarterly Retreat was held. Such a gorgeous building and the carved detail on the gates out front was gorgeous with representations of different wildlife. I wish I’d snapped pictures of more of them.

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!)

British Museum Quilt Inspiration

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.

Victoria and Albert Museum

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.

Tiles Victoria and Albert Museum

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!

Jane Austen Quilt

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!)

Jane Austen Quilt

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.

Jane Austen Quilt

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!

Ron Weasley's Quilt at Harry Potter Studios

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. As a good mum would.

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  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 2:16 am

    I also saw a lot of quilt design inspirations whem I was in The Royal Castle in Warsaw – and naw I see that it is a good subject for a post:) Tak you for inspiration:)

  • Reply
    Blue Moth
    September 30, 2014 at 3:01 am

    What a lovely post. I'm only about an hour from the V&A – I must go!

  • Reply
    Teresa Stanulis
    September 30, 2014 at 5:21 am

    I have really enjoyed reading about your trip and seeing pictures of places I've read about but have never visited. I especially loved seeing the quilt Jane Austen made. Thanks so much for taking time to share your experiences!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your photos and commentary from your trip to London. They were absolutely marvelous and I enjoyed them a lot.

  • Reply
    Olga Cabello
    September 30, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Great, very interesting. Thanks a lot.<br /><br />Kisses.<br /><br />Olga

  • Reply
    Melissa Corry
    September 30, 2014 at 8:04 am

    That Jane Austin quilt is so incredible!! Thank you for sharing 😉 Makes me want to go watch Becoming Jane 😉

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 9:56 am

    So fun! I love looking for quilty and crafty inspiration when I&#39;m on vacation. We went to Disneyland and California Adventure earlier this fall and I kept making my boyfriend stop so I could take pictures for our blog!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Love the Chihuly glass design…. hanging like that is wonderful. Most of his work I have seen in gardens.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    OMG!!! what gorgeous pics of the floor and Jane Austen&#39;s quilt. What amazes me is how good the quality of fabric and thread was back then because Im sorry but I have not found fabric that lasts yet. Most of all my quilts from the 80s and 90s are brleached away faded or torn, the threads unravel etc. I dont think my quilts will last 100 yrs let alone 20 or 30. Maybe Im buying bad quality any

  • Reply
    Lauren Deel
    September 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for this post. I love the pictures from the V &amp; A Museum and I did not know that Jane Austen was a quilter! And what a gorgeous quilt at that! I recognized Ron Weasley&#39;s quilt and giggled at your commentary: &quot;obviously made by his mum.&quot; Thanks!

  • Reply
    Sewing In CT
    September 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Great images! Thank you for the close up of Jane&#39;s quilt.

  • Reply
    SeaBreeze Quilts
    September 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I have loved your photos and anecdotes of your travels – thanks so much for sharing them.

  • Reply
    Jane S.
    September 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I loved seeing these pictures! You took photos of so many of the same things that I did when I was in London. I mean, the same exact pictures. 🙂 Thanks for the happy memories.

  • Reply
    Gemini Jen NZ
    October 1, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Well, if I hadn&#39;t finished swooning over seeing a quilt made by Jane Austen (books to die for and they make great mini-series/movies from them too), but to add a Harry Potter item in there too, fantastic! Literary classics. I wish I could have been there too. Jane Austen&#39;s quilt!! I love it, I am pinning it – one day I will make a replica I am thinking.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Amy, I can&#39;t believe you visited Chawton. I live in Alton, the nearest town, just next door to Chawton village. Maybe you got the train from Waterloo to Alton. I would have so loved to have met you and treated you to afternoon tea at Cassandra&#39;s Cup (the tea room opposite Jane&#39;s house). I&#39;m glad you enjoyed your visit.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Bring on the travel pictures any day you want–I love seeing them. I&#39;m always snapping shots of tile floors, too, and once even made a quilt based on the cathedral floor in Venice. It was a mini with billions of pieces and I got tired of it and made it mini-er. <br />Fun to see the things that caught your eye–lovely.<br /><br />Elizabeth<br />opquilt.com

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    October 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Looks like you founds loads of great inspiration on your tour. I&#39;m embarrassed to say I&#39;ve only actually been to 2 of those museums…

  • Reply
    Nettie Bee
    November 17, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Hi, if you get the Linda Franz book. &quot;Jane Austen patchwork mystery. &quot; There is pictures of the underside of the quilt. So you can see the vibrancy of the colour. Lovely article . Regards Jayne x

  • Reply
    Clipping Path Area
    January 6, 2015 at 1:13 am

    These look fantastic! Thanks for bringing them together – what a great collection.Excellent post. Thanks for sharing……….

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