Coverlet, ca. 1879
169 cm x 235 cm
This coverlet is from the Fred and Dora-Mae Blayney collection of 15 coverlets, which was certified in 1994 as nationally significant by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. It is quite different from the others in the Blayney collection and is not the work of any known Waterloo County weaver. It is all wool, rather than the more usual wool and cotton; relatively narrow (169 cm as opposed to 190.5 – 203 cm average); and the design elements do not match patterns used by local weavers. It is clearly Canadian, however, with beavers in the corners.
The building in the central medallion - the Crystal Palace - was moved to the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition for the first Toronto Industrial Exhibition of 1879. The building was altered in 1902, and burned down in 1906. This piece was likely made to mark the 1879 exposition, possibly with the intent to mass produce, and is the only example of this design found to date.
This coverlet is a stunning example of an early national promotional piece. It would have been used to celebrate the diversity of products and innovations from across Canada that were available for viewing at the Canadian National Exhibition.