This beautiful embroidered patchwork quilt is named 'Aunt Clara's quilt' for Mrs Clara Bate (nee Hughes). Family history suggests that Clara worked on the quilt all her life and that its imagery reflects both her daily life and its significant events. At one time, Clara Bate ran a guesthouse at Ginkin near the Jenolan Caves in NSW; there are reports of the quilt at the guesthouse as early as 1897 although it was not finished until after Clara's death in 1914. Her sister Emma is thought to have completed the quilt and added the latest date, 1915. Aunt Clara's quilt has been kept with great care by the Hughes family ever since and is in particularly fine condition.
The quilt is double bed size and has been hand pieced from a variety of multi-coloured silks, ribbons and velvets, and embroidered along the seams with double feather stitch in golden yellow silk. The design is regular and features a large red velvet square in the centre, surrounded by octagons composed of four hexagonal rhomboids around a black velvet square. These black velvet squares contribute to the quilt's strong and regular design. Almost every piece is embroidered with a flower, household item, hand tool, insect or bird, with the occasional dates - 1894, 1895, 1898 and 1915) - and an occasional initial or name - A, CB, Percy. Some pieces are beaded or sequinned and others have a tiny three dimensional applique, for example a tiny pipe, swag, shell and money bag.
Christina, Sumner, 2004