The Magna Carta Quilts were made by the members of the Magna Carta Quilt Association, a not-for-profit group of quilters living in or having an association to the Runnymede area of England to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in June 2015.
There are four Medieval Quilts and four Legacy Quilts, which are displayed in formation with the Medieval and the Legacy quilts alternating at a 90 degree angle to each other.
The four Medieval Quilts tell the story of the Magna Carta in a graphic novel style based on 13th century illuminated manuscripts. The story starts with the death of Richard the Lionheart, leading to the ascension of his brother John to the throne of England, runs through the events leading up to the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215, then beyond to the ascension of King Henry III, John's son, in 1216.
The four Legacy Quilts in the series show four oak trees growing from the shields of the 25 Magna Carta Barons against background of shaded hexagons. The hexagons represent traditional English patchwork as well as paying homage to the fact that the meadow of Runnymede was cultivated for bee keeping since Neolithic times, around 3000 BC. The 20 leaves on each oak tree depict thread painted portraits of some of the key figures in the field of Human Rights, such as Abraham Lincoln, Carrie Nation, and Martin Luther King Jr.
The reverse side of the quilts shows the Thames Mosaic, which is a pixilated outline of the stretch of the River Thames between Windsor and Staines, with the location of Runnymede marked by the Queen’s Block. The remaining blocks bear the embroidered names of the people and organizations who have sponsored the quilts.
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