Princess Charlotte had a very tragic life.* And like Princess Diana, she was beloved by England. When she wed Prince Leopold on May 2, 1816, there were such high hopes for the union that commemorative medallions were issued in tribute to her marriage. These medallions exist in many antique quilts, including the Princess Charlotte Commemorative quilt at the New England Quilt Museum (www.nequiltmuseum.org/). I even saw a hexagon quilt using the medallion on Ebay several years ago. There are also a number of uncut medallions in the textile collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (www.vam.ac.uk).
I love these preprinted medallions of the early 19th century. Ever hopeful, but never successful, I’ve looked for one on every trip to the UK I’ve taken since the mid-1990s. But, I have a friend, Bridget, who owns one and has shown it at the many lectures she gives on UK quilt history. It was at one of these lectures that “we” snapped a picture of the antique medallion (as shown on the left). I say “we” because it was Pam’s camera, but Helen was the only one tall enough to snap the picture, Marina knew how to clean up the picture in her computer, and I was the one orchestrating it all.
A few years later that photograph has been turned into actual fabric medallions. This was all made possible by a wonderful company who has been in business a bit more than a year called Spoonflower (www.spoonflower.com). You upload your photo, tell the website what type of repeat of your design you want, how many yards, and *voila* a couple of weeks later you have Princess Charlotte medallions waiting for you in your mailbox. Of course, I make it sound so simple. You’ll just need a little of experience with resizing images and maybe doing some color correction, but basically it’s that simple. Printed on quilting weight fabric, they are color-fast.
Spoonflower was very generous to the American Quilt Study Group at our annual meeting last month. They offered to donate several yards of the medallions for us to auction off. It was a very successful endeavor, and I am very appreciative of both Spoonflower and for Bridget giving us permission to do this.
If you are in possession of some really wonderful antique fabric that you wish you had yards of, you may want to investigate using Spoonflower in your quest.
*Sadly, Charlotte did not live long after her wedding. After having miscarried twice, she died the day after she gave birth to a stillborn son. For more about Charlotte, check out the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Charlotte_Augusta_of_Wales.