Elizabeth – Watts and Co

Living in a small community in northern Minnesota does not present many opportunities for viewing beautiful and historic Ecclesiastical Vestments.  So, making the best of the situation, I haunt Flickr, Pinterest, and various websites looking for interesting and unusual pieces of Ecclesiastical embroidery. There are times when the internet seems an endless source, a visual feast of colors and designs, while at other times, there is nothing of interest to be found.

Quite some time ago, I came upon the name of a Vestment maker in  the UK – Watts and Co Fabrics.   They were one of the first sources of true Ecclesiastical fabrics that I was able to locate on the internet.  Watts and Co  has a long history dating back more than 100 years. During that time, they have produced many wonderful Ecclesiastical Vestments and altar hangings.  One of my personal favorites is the Great Processional Banner at York Minster  which was made by Watts and Co. around the time of World War I.

While reading and enjoying the rich history of Watts and Co, there has been one woman, Elizabeth Hoare, who played an unusual role in the company. During her span of time as owner, she was instrumental in preserving the labors of love created by needle-workers from the past generation. There was a time in our not to distance past when little value was placed on the hand embroidered vestments and altar hangings worked during the late 19th and early to mid 20th century. Elizabeth was responsible for keeping many works of art from being lost or destroyed, thus preserving a piece of vestment making history for generations to view, study and enjoy. Her collection grew over the years, and today, there is a permanent display located at Liverpool Cathedral – the Cathedral Gallery.

It will be quite some time before the opportunity presents itself to travel to the UK, but the Cathedral Gallery  will be one of the places near the top of the list. Until then, there is a nice collection of photos over on Flickr:  Elizabeth Hoare Gallery in Liverpool Cathedral.  For those planning to travel, or who are in the area, you may wish to contact the the Gallery at Liverpool Cathedral.

While looking around the Liverpool Cathedral site, the gift shop has a book The Embroideries at Liverpool Cathedral. The book is on its way to Minnesota as I write, and I look forward to receiving it.  While it’s not the same as seeing the embroideries in person, it will have to do for now.

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

6 Comments »

  1. You should look at M. Perkins and Sons for ecclesiastical fabrics. They are THE manufacturers in the U.K. and have been in business since 1756 and is a trade only company. Some designs such as the Tudor Rose are very old and traditional. You can see these on their web site.

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    • HI Sue,
      Yes. M Perkins and Sons have some of the loveliest Ecclesiastical Fabrics. I have been using their fabrics years. I am currently working with St. Margaret and St. Hubert fabrics for altar hangings for a Holiday wedding.

      I have been working closely with M Perkins and Sons for the past few months, and will soon launch a new website for those interested in purchasing these beautiful Ecclesiastical Fabrics here in the US. We had hoped to launch in November, but getting the photos finished combined with a Holiday Wedding has delayed the process for a few months. The launch will be in early 2016.

      Please stay tuned for more updates!
      Best regards,
      Carrie

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    • Thank you for the link. That looks like a wonderful event at Ely Cathedral with some very rare pieces on display. If you are able to attend, it would be great to hear a first hand account of the event!

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