In fact, they are the work of prisoners taking part in a scheme to help give them skills and independence on the road to rehabilitation.
The Fine Cell Work charity trains prisoners serving sentences at 29 UK prisons in skilled needlework that is practised in the time inmates spend in their cells. Prisoners do hand-embroidery for between 20 and 40 hours a week and it takes on average five months to complete a cushion.
At the end of this month, the charity is setting up a showroom in London selling a variety of cushions and quilts made by prisoners at up to 80 per cent off their retail price. Around 37 per cent of the income goes directly to stitchers, with the rest being reinvested in the charity.
Patterns have been created and donated by famous designers such as Cath Kidston and Daisy de Villeneuve, as well as celebrity supporters such as Mick Jagger and AA Gill.
80 per cent of the 480 stitchers are men, and all the classes have waiting lists.
Piero Donat, marketing director at Fine Cell Work, says, ‘We want to give a second chance. We are part of the rehabilitation process, and the re-offending rate is clearly lower with us. An ex-offender is volunteering for us at the moment who has a fantastic eye for fashion and colour – we’re trying to help him get a job.’
The idea for Fine Cell Work was conceived by Lady Anne Tree in the 1960s when she visited HMP Holloway, and became a registered charity in 1995.
The Fine Cell Work showroom runs from 21 -25 January at 38 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W