Lot 1
  • 1


4,000 - 6,000 EUR
68,750 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Haut. 213 cm, larg. 160 cm ; height 83 3/4 in., length 63 in.
cotton and linen, decorated with courtly scenes in six cartouches and a border adorned with foliage, characters and small animals ; (transformations)


Related literature

S. Young,"Sister Quilts from Sicily, A pair of Renaissance bedcovers" in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, September 1993
A. Fiette et Alii, L'Etoffe du relief, quilts, boutis et autres textiles matelassés, Paris, 2006

Catalogue Note

Trapunto, also known as quilt, is both a decorative textile and the name given to a quilting technique consisting of making relief motifs by adding cotton wool between two pieces of fabric, usually linen and cotton, and stitching reinforcing the patterns. Trapunte were particularly popular during the reign of the Anjou family in Naples and Sicily during the 13th century and continued to be produced in the following centuries. Cotton and wadding from the East contributed to the development of the technique. Given the Anjou ties with the French Crown and the rest of Europe, this type of textile was sometimes exported beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Naples.

Designed generally as a quilt or bedspread, hence the Italian name of coperta, the trapunto was given at weddings, and often later transformed or shortened, depending on the size of the beds, or for a more decorative use as a hanging. The trapunto that we present has also undergone changes from its original state, probably for similar reasons.

The oldest example today is the Tristan Quilt, depicting scenes from the history of Tristan and Yseult, made in Sicily during the second half of the 14th century and kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Its counterpart, the Coperta Guicciardini, executed in the same period, has belonged since 1927 to the Bargello collections in Florence. They were probably initially executed for two twin beds and later modified.

Narrative textiles were a well-established tradition in Europe, just think of the Bayeux Tapestry (embroidery), and the Norman occupation in the southern peninsula and Sicily had a lasting impact on the local culture. It is not surprising that the Tristan and Yseult tale inspired Sicilian artisans, as did the Arthurian legend. The origin of the courteous and folkloric scenes decorating our trapunto remains, however, to be identified.