Thirteen lots of quilts and textiles from the estate of Hannah Hauxwell are to be sold in Tennants Auctioneers’ Costume, Fashion and Textiles Sale on 9th February, in their North Yorkshire Salerooms.
Hannah Hauxwell (1926-2018) was emblematic of the tough, resourceful upland farmers of North Yorkshire and County Durham. Having run her family farm, Low Birk Hatt in Baldersdale, since the death of her parents and uncle when she was 35, Hauxwell lived a life of unmodernised poverty and hardship. With no electricity or running water, daily life was a struggle. Indeed, she said “In summer I live and in winter I exist”.
Hauxwell was ‘discovered’ in 1972, when Yorkshire television made a documentary about her daily life – ‘Too Long a Winter’. Broadcast nationally, she touched the hearts of many and became somewhat of a celebrity. Donations flooded in and she was able to have electricity installed. Many more documentaries and books were made about Hauxwell, following her on her first ventures to London and abroad, until she left her beloved farm to move to nearby Cotherstone in 1988.
She 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 have been made using the same pattern of quilting stitches – perhaps a family pattern – and interestingly they each have 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 quilts are offered with estimates ranging from £100-150 to £300-500 (plus buyer’s premium of 24% of the hammer price inclusive of VAT). They will be on public display in The Garden Rooms at Tennants Gallery until the 3rd February, and then the whole sale will be open to the public to view on the 7th and 8th February. A fully illustrated catalogue will be available on Tennants website two weeks before the sale: https://bid.tennants.co.uk/m/view-auctions/catalog/id/677
Tennants Auctioneers hold four specialist sales a year dedicated to selling Costume, Fashion and Textiles in which quilts are a regular feature. To find out more about Textiles Sales at Tennants, visit the department page on their website: https://www.tennants.co.uk/departments/costume-accessories-textiles/
Quilt 1: Large Late 19th Century Cotton Strippy Quilt, comprising stripes of purple and white checked fabric, floral trellis design, pink multi sprigged cotton and floral bouquets on a teal blue multi stripe, within a red trim, cream to the reverse, original blue pencil mark visible under the stitches, embroidered with the initials ‘EB’, possibly for Elizabeth Bayles (Hannah Hauxwell’s grandmother), 202cm x 227cm Estimate: £300-500
Quilt 2: Late 19th/Early 20th Century Cotton Patchwork Quilt, comprising a geometric pattern of patchwork stars and diamonds in 16.5cm squares, in primarily red, navy and green cottons of paisley, floral, striped, abstract designs, within a pink trip, cream to the reverse, 200cm x 240cm Estimate: £200-30Quilt 3: Large Late 19th Century Cotton Patchwork Quilt, with central square of blue flower heads, surrounded by frames of increasing size incorporating rectangles of differing widths in stripes, checks and floral printed cottons in cream, pink, brown, purple, blue, green etc within a pink trim, cream to the reverse, 218cm x 240cm Estimate: £200-300
Quilt 3: Large Late 19th Century Cotton Patchwork Quilt, with central square of blue flower heads, surrounded by frames of increasing size incorporating rectangles of differing widths in stripes, checks and floral printed cottons in cream, pink, brown, purple, blue, green etc within a pink trim, cream to the reverse, 218cm x 240cm Estimate: £200-300
Quilt 4: Late 19th Century Cotton Patchwork Quilt, with central green and red floral frame enclosing four squares of striped and patched pink and blue sprigged prints, surrounded by frames of increasing size incorporating rectangles of differing widths in stripes, spots, checks and floral printed cottons in cream, pink, brown, purple, blue, green etc, blue floral sprigged trim, cream to the reverse, 215cm x 246cm Estimate: £200-300
SALE: Costume, Fashion & Textiles
Auction: 9th February
Viewing: 7th & 8th February
Location: Tennants Auctioneers, The Auction Centre, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 5SG