Silk and Quilts: Exploration and Exploitation

“The main figure of this artwork is Queen Isabella of Castile in Spain. She funded the explorer Christopher Columbus to sail the world. He set off in 1492 for the East Indies. The Spanish wanted the fabled silks and great riches of the Indies. Columbus found instead the Americas, a chance discovery that gave Spain access to silver and gold through conquest.

Gold from the South American colonies made the Spanish ruling classes rich. With this wealth they brought luxury goods such as Indian silks and embroidered quilts. The images in the border refer to places linked to the Indian silk industry. The details of the picture show the influence of Indian silk on design and manufacture in Britain and America.”

The Singh Twins, 2018