The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
90/731 Quilt, 'Friendship', embroidered crazy patchwork, cotton / silk / felt, Marion Gibson, Australia, 1892. Click to enlarge.

'Friendship' Quilt

Listed on the National Quilt Registry, this is a rare example of a quilt that is not only well provenanced but whose maker left a detailed description of its construction and materials and the reason for making it. Marion Gibson was born in Scotland, the daughter of a tailor. In 1854 she married John Gibson, a bootmaker, and John persuaded Marion, who lame in one leg, to sail for Australia. On the journey he truned one guinea into 2 by making and mending boots for the passengers.They settled …


Object No.


Object Statement

Quilt, 'Friendship', embroidered crazy patchwork, cotton / silk / felt, Marion Gibson, Australia, 1892

Physical Description

Double bed size quilt, hand pieced in crazy patchwork style from multicoloured irregularly shaped patches cut from plain and patterned silks, cottons and velvets, including damasks, brocades, tartans and stripes. The edges of these randomly shaped patches are embroidered with polychrome silks in a variety of decorative stitches. A red cotton binding has been applied to all four sides, forming a narrow edging on the front and a broader facing on the back. A wide ecru-coloured machine-made torchon lace flounce has been added all around. Wide grosgrain ribbon loops have been added to the upper edge at a later date to enable the quilt to be hung.



2295 mm


1935 mm



This quilt was designed and made by Marion Gibson, Hay, New South Wales. At the time, crazy patchwork was very fashionable and heavily promoted in women's magazines. The style involved stitching together irregular shaped pieces of different materials to produce a vibrant mix of fabrics, textures and colours. Marion Gibson specifically chose this method to allow her to use scraps and pieces from friends 'far and near'. She called it her 'Friendship Quilt'.

Marion Gibson later wrote to her granddaughter about it, 'I called it the Friendship Quilt and to me it was a labour of love .... I am sorry I cannot write a history of it -- for as the eye is dazzled by the many colours of the different bits, so the mind is puzzled by the loving memories of dear friends who contributed and took an interest in the Friendship Quilt ... I must add I spent many a happy hour on it.'

Heather Garland 21/1/2013 - My great grandmother used blanket stitch between the patches on her early quilts and only later feather stitch as seen in this quilt.



The quilt was made by Marion Gibson and passed to her eldest grand-daughter. It has since been treasured by successive generations of women in the Gibson family. The quilt was about to be sold at an auction overseas when the family got together and raised $10,000 to purchase it. Iit would have fetched a higher price oveseas than in Australia.

A book has been written about the Gibson family - to be located - and the Hay Museum has many objects relating to the Gibson family history.


Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by the descendants of Marion Gibson, 1990

Acquisition Date

15 August 1990

Cite this Object


'Friendship' Quilt 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 January 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Friendship' Quilt |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 January 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}