The Facebook groups have been really active with commentary about the Hauxwell Collection that recently went under the hammer at Tennants Auction House and one of the quilts will be joining the collections at the Bowes Museum in Teeside. The remaining quilts will, we are told, remain in the UK for the time being so watch out for further news about those.

Tennants have released this press release for everyone to enjoy what happened on the day, and we are told the TV cameras were evident, so watch out in the future and you might catch a glimpse of the tension in the room at the time.

From the Estate of Hannah Hauxwell (1926-2018) A Large late 19th century cotton strippy quilt, signed ‘E B’, for Hannah’s grandmother

The Hauxwell Collection is only one of the many items sold on the day, but it was most certainly the most important and received the greatest publicity. We hope to be able to bring news of future textile and quilt sales coming up throughout the year for anyone who has interest in the vintage quilts and textiles. A visit to Tennants in Leyburn is a great day out, and the enjoyment of the Yorkshire Dales is always a bonus.

A collection of fourteen quilts and sundry items from the Estate of Hannah Hauxwell – the County Durham hill farmer who became a celebrity after a Yorkshire Television documentary in the late 1970s – attracted an exceptional level of interest before they were sold in Tennants Auctioneers’ sale of Costume, Accessories & Textiles on 9th February.

The quilts, made by members of Hannah’s family including her grandmother Elizabeth Bayles, were beautifully preserved and garnered bidding well above estimate. The quilts were displayed in Tennants’ galleries ahead of sale, and fans of antique quilts and Hannah Hauxwell came from all over the country to view this lovely collection.

Hannah was a hoarder, and her dilapidated farmhouse was packed to the rafters. Amongst her possessions were these family quilts, which were stored in a linen press for many years. Some appear never to have been used. All the women in her family were very accomplished seamstresses, and Hannah herself was very good with a needle. Indeed, she had a mattress filled with straw that she had made from a unique patchwork of fabrics.

Most of the quilts had been made using the same pattern of quilting stitches – perhaps a family pattern – and interestingly they each had three rounded and one squared corner. One theory for this unusual feature that has been proposed is that the one different corner is a reminder that only God could be perfect. One quilt is initialled ‘E.B’, who is likely Hannah’s grandmother – Elizabeth Bayles, who also worked the tapestry also included in the sale.

The top lot was a large late 19th century cotton strippy quilt, signed ‘E B’, for Hannah’s grandmother, which sold for £1,500 (plus buyer’s premium) against a pre-sale estimate of £300-500. Amongst the consigned items from her estate were a number of wooden knitting sheaths – designed to hold double-ended knitting needles. Highly collectable in their own right, with added provenance these good north-country examples sold strongly. The top-selling sheath was a 19th century example carved with ‘E B’ (again for Elizabeth Bayles), selling for £850 (plus buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £100-150.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Costume & Textiles on 18th May 2019, please contact the saleroom on 01969 623780 or [email protected] for details.

Full results are available on Tennants’ website. The items from Hannah’s estate were sold as lots 2228-2249