Thursday, February 1, 2018

Museum Inspiration

Museums have always been a source of inspiration for Teri and me. We have been to many together; like our trip to the Lovely Lane Museum and the road trip we took to the Virginia Quilt Museum. Other times we have gone to them separately, such as the time Teri attended the crazy quilt exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art, or when I visited the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum just outside of Denver. Together or separately, both of us seek out inspiration in any museum we visit. Here in Europe, there are so many museums to choose from, and I know it will be hard to fit them all in; however, in the past two months, I have been able to visit two of the biggies: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris. 

For this week's post, I thought I would share a photo log of the inspirational things in both museums that captured my attention. Hopefully you will find some inspiration as well!

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The detail of the flowers is stunning!
I fell in love with this coat!

Cotton or wool appliqué? Either would be beautiful.

Put a bird on it!
This cotton coverlet had so much in the way of
botanical inspiration.

This twill-weave bedcover in cotton and linen was made in India
for the European market, circa 1725-1750.

The vase was based on European engravings from the early 18th century.

The colors are still so vivid!
I can almost guarantee you will see this flower
in one of our future designs.

These chintz bonnets were so charming!

This Mughal rug from the mid 17th century has an inspiring floral design.

This Indian floorspread from the 1700s was made of cotton and was embroidered
with silk and metal-wrapped threads. I see some lovely appliqué flowers in this one.

Wouldn't this tile make a lovely medallion center?

English paper piecing anyone?

The vine is a lovely, curved, complement to the angles in the flowers.

Can you believe this gorgeous, appliqué wall hanging dates from the 1500s?
It is made of felted wool with silk appliqué.

I would have dearly loved to have seen a quilt exhibit at the Victoria and Albert museum, but alas, there was none. While we were not able to see the entire museum, my husband and I searched for at least one quilt. Can you guess who finally found it? My husband—the force is strong in this one! I was thrilled to say the least that he found the mother of all whole cloth quilts!

It was hard to get a good picture because, as you can see, the quilt is huge!
The quilt was made in Florence, Italy, between 1360 and 1400.

This quilt tells the story of King Tristan—a popular story in medieval, romance, literature.

In the quilt, there are 14 different stories of King Tristan's adventures.

I love this floral detail!
Such tiny stitching!

As we wrapped up our tour of the museum, we came across this appliquéd wall hanging.
Once again, Tristan makes an appearance with the story of his ill-fated love for Isolde.

The happy—or not so happy—couple

While this hanging looks to be quite worn, consider that it was likely created in the late 1300s.

The Louvre

Our trip to Paris and the Louvre was timed well, because if we had gone a week later, we would not have been able to visit the museum, due to widespread flooding in downtown Paris. This museum, by far, is my absolute favorite. Half a day was not nearly enough time to see everything, but that just means we will have to go again. We didn't see much in the way of textiles, but what we did see was inspirational nonetheless.

This Roman mosaic border would certainly make a lovely quilt border.

It boggles the mind that a sculptor could so stunningly create the look
of draped fabric out of stone.

I can already imagine recreating this ancient owl in wool and stitches.

Mere words can't describe the beauty of this ceiling!

The Winged Victory of Samothrace or the Winged Nike was one of my favorite sculptures.
It was amazing how the sculptor captured the look of a sheer garment out of stone. 

The artist captured a sweetness in the woman and
a slightly mischievous look in the child. 

The colors in this painting are still so vibrant, which is why it caught my eye.

What would this post be without pictures of two of the most famous, ladies in the Louvre—Venus and Mona. Many people said to lower our expectations in anticipation of seeing the Mona Lisa, so we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed viewing this painting.

The Venus de Milo
This lady needs no introduction.

I hope you have enjoyed this very small tour of two of the most famous museums in the world and the inspiration I found in each.  Whether it is a painting, sculpture, or ancient textile, all can inspire our stitching. Have you been to a museum that inspires you? We would love to hear about it!


  1. Hmmm, as much as I love living in Maine, this might be the one reason to move to Europe! What a treat. Thank you so much for sharing. I have always wanted to see the Tristan quilt in person.

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tour!! mary in Az