NotesThis quilt was commissioned by Mrs Georgia Hunt Murphy, a wealthy American socialite, who collected the pieces of fabric from the wide range of people she knew. The quilt was made by Juliette (Mrs Charles) Babbitt of New York between 1910 and 1913 and given by Mrs Hunt Murphy to her granddaughter, Georgia Elizabeth Murphy. The following note was included in the papers accompanying the quilt when it was brought to Australia in the 1930s by a descendent of Georgia Hunt Murphy: "This patchwork quilt made by Mrs Juliette M. Babbitt for Mrs Georgia Hunt Murphy is for Georgia Elizabeth, daughter of Robert K. Murphy, with grandmother's love and request to treasure it, as also the list of contributors."
Georgia Hunt Murphy (1856-1936) was married to William Augustus Murphy (1843-1907) and lived in the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The Murphys, whose wealth came from a paper mill, a paint factory which supplied all the varnish for trans-continental American trains, and a major shoe-making firm called Johnson & Murphy, attended many official functions. Delighted by the beauty of the fabrics of the women's dresses, Georgia Hunt Murphy asked if the wearers would mind giving her scraps of fabric from their gowns. Over the years, she collected many pieces of fabric from some of the most influential people who lived at that time in America, Europe, Japan and South America. Having a great love of fabrics and embroidery, Georgia Hunt Murphy decided to commission Mrs Juliette (Mrs Charles H.) Babbitt to make a quilt from her fabric collection. The quilt was finished in 1913; each piece is embroidered or marked with a number which corresponds with the name of the original owner of the fabric on a numbered list.
When Georgia Hunt Murphy died, the quilt was handed down, as per her instructions, to her granddaughter Georgia Elizabeth Murphy (1923-1999), whose father Robert Kenneth Murphy (1887-1972) came to Sydney in 1910 to help establish the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of NSW. Highly regarded at the University, he was offered a senior position and elected to stay in Australia. Georgia Elizabeth Murphy shared her grandmother's love of fabrics and embroidery and she greatly treasured the quilt, which was very special to her. When she died, the quilt was passed on to her daughter, the donor, Jacqueline (Jay) Gray Lloyd of Longueville, who recognised the socio-historical significance of this exceptionally well documented and provenanced quilt and offered it to the Museum.
Normally, crazy quilts were made not so much as bed covers, but rather as pieces to be seen. In their heyday in the Victorian era they were used as 'parlour throws' or as covers when having a nap. This particular quilt however is too large to have been used as a throw and may well have been used as a bed cover or simply as a show-piece.
OwnedMurphy, Georgia Elizabeth 1910-1913