Monday 1 May 2023

Maps: London 1572

Looking at maps sets me to dreaming of adventures, so for this prompt I looked for one that epitomizes that feeling.  This one has beautiful soft colors, and so many details you feel like you could jump in and time travel.

Londinium feracissimi Angliae regni metropolis, 1572.

I found it in The Map Book, edited by Peter Barber, ISBN 0-8027-1474-9.  His credits are very small and abbreviated, so I think the original is at the British Library, but I haven't been able to find it online.

First I chose just part of the map where I really liked the shapes of the neighborhoods, and then I placed the Thames directly beneath them, editing away whole areas of the real London. And of course once I got working on it, very few of the shapes matched the originals.

I made big panels of scraps and then cut them into the shapes I needed.  Originally I thought about using textile paint over all to give a more antique feel, but I ended up liking the colors of the scraps and kept them as they were.

For the city areas, I outlined the shapes with piping and other trims; for the rural areas, I did free motion "scribbling" to evoke the hedges in the original map.  (I wish I had remembered the technique of mounting those shapes on black felt to create a nice outline.  Next time.)

Detail of the "neighborhoods."
The hardest decision for me was what to use for the border!  I tried so many things, but when I picked up this English ivy green fabric, I knew it was perfect.  Although the border kind of blends into my yard in this picture.

I could definitely go back in and free-motion stitch little cobbles in all the pathways, and stitch little boats in the Thames, and I could add some more shapes to the white space, but overall I do like this quilt.  It's got a sort of kids'-storybook vibe to it, I think. Looking at it reminds me of the time I spent perusing the original and enjoying all the details.



  1. I love this Gwen, I suspect the colours of the original map were closer to your lovely bright scraps. I suspect Londoners would love to see the Thames such a clear, bright blue too :)

  2. I think you captured it well, Gwen, with the soothing colors and shapes. I'm sure we can all think of additions we should've added to our quilts, but it looks great to me!

  3. That turned out great - love your interpreation and the original maps are really intriguing. I can see why it captured your imagination. I like the vibrant colours - makes it seem like a happy place to visit.

  4. This is wonderful. I’ve seen this done with embroidery floss, but I like this fabric version better. Love all the color. I’m with you…looking at maps is the genesis of new adventures. Barbara @ Cat Patches

  5. Great job. I love your use of scraps.

  6. I agree with Fiona. The Thames has never looked so good! I love the way you have used scraps to make those shapes between the roads and created such a happy and vibrant map quilt :)