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Tag: Church History

Books from past Exhibits at the Museum of the Visitation

Books from Musée de la Visitation

Visiting the Photo Galleries available on the Museum website offers a glimpse at many beautiful pieces of Ecclesiastical Embroider and Ecclesiastical Sewing. The orphrey on the cope in the above photo has some wonderful figure embroidery.  The top figures are Mary (Mater Dei) and Joseph. St. Francis is on the lower right, but the watermark blocks the name of the final figure.  The work is a very beautiful example of figure embroidery.

Linen Ornaments of the Church by Percy Dearmer

Back ground on Fair Linens

Since it looks better for the fair linen not to hang over the front of the holy table, besides being cleaner as well as more by tradition, this cloth should be exactly the same width as the mensa, and with none of it hanging over the frontlet. It hangs better and has a more dignified appearance if it is rather long, to reach within about six inches from the ground (see Frontispiece). [Illustrated in Plates 2, 24, 27, 28, 34, of the Parson’s Handbook, 11th ed., 1928. Hierurgia Anglicana (for example of 1668), 1903, Pt. II, Plate V. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the fair linen was spread in different ways, sometimes as here described, hanging all around the altar. The latter method is not so frequent in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century examples. See, e.g., those in Joseph Braun, Der christliche Altar, 1924.] It should be of good heavy linen, firmly hemmed; the hem along the sides may be 1 1/2 inches broad, and the ends will hang all the better if they are wider, say about 3 or 4 inches. The fair linen is generally marked for its special use by one, four, or five devices in white, red, or blue. These devices may be of any kind; crosses are easy to make, but not essential.

Mary Barber Some Drawings from Ancient Embroideries Six winged creature

Mary Barber’s Six Winged Creature Drawing

Two of those unusual things are the Seraphim and the Cherubim.  Artisans of the past have grappled with these creatures and provided some interesting interpretations.  The powdering designs, dating from the glory days of Opus Anglicanum, give us some wonderful examples of these delightful interpretations of Seraphim and Cherubim.

Angel Ecclesiastical Embroidery at Liverpool Cathedral

Embroidery Galleries of Liverpool Cathedral

The book, The Embroideries at Liverpool, was written by Mary Schoeser, curator of the Cathedral Embroidery Gallery, and her team of researchers.  The book gives an account of the making of the embroideries for the Cathedral. The Liverpool Cathedral’s history is fairly recent when compared to many other Cathedrals, having its beginnings with several architectural design contests. As part of the process of building the Cathedral, there was a young lady from the diocese who put forth the idea that all of the embroideries should be designed by one designer, and the work carried out by the same persons. This would result in both continuity and consistency, as the colors and styles would be for the building.  The book goes on to tell the story of how a group of ladies not only made fabulous embroideries but also helped with financing the projects.

Ely Cathedral Event

Ely Cathedral will be hosting a unique exhibition of Ecclesiastical Embroidery in partnership with the Royal School of Needlework. Over 60 displays will include significant pieces of needlework which have been worked on by the Royal School and which form part of their collection housed at Hampton Court Palace. One of the highlights of the exhibition is six of the twelve Litany of Loreto panels. They were bequeathed to the School by a convent in Sussex and are rarely on display to the public. Other pieces include depictions of theological figures and symbols using a wide range of threads and techniques, plus some rare examples of white work altar cloths, burses, stoles, and chalices. This unique exhibition will include artifacts from Ely Cathedral’s own collection including a Mediaeval Cope, an 18th-century gold vestment set, and the recently restored white altar frontal. As part of the event, we are delighted to have on display the 11th-century gilded bronze chasuble pin, originally from the tomb of Archbishop Wulfstan at Ely, and gifted to the Society of Antiquaries in 1771.

Butler Bowden Cope  -  Grace Christie Embroidery: A Collection of Articles on Subjects Connected with Fine Embroidery

Happy New Year

Post from Gracie Christie’s book Embroidery: A Collection of Articles on Subjects Connected with Fine Embroidery which had the design for the lion’s head worked in pearl and beadwork.  While updating links in that article, some other resources surfaced, which might provide enjoyable reading and viewing as the New Year gets underway.  The first stop is a short journey back in time to a previous Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Ecclesiastical Vestments of the Middle Ages: An Exhibition. 

Goud, zilver and zijde by Marike Van Roon, , Holiday Break

Holiday Break

Book written by Marike van Roon, Head Curator at Amsterdam University as her dissertation was added to my library last summer and has become a favorite.  Beginning at around the 1800s, the book lays out the history of European Ecclesiastical History through the 1960s.  There is a nice mix of primary source material in the form of sketches and illustrations from texts and authors of the period, while stunning black and white, and color photography of actual vestments pieces

Elizabeth – Watts and Co

The rich history of Watts and Co., there was one woman, Elizabeth Hoare, who played an unusual role in the company. During her period as owner, she was instrumental in preserving the labor of love created by needleworkers from the past generation. There was a time in our not-to-distant past when little value was placed on the hand-embroidered vestments and altar hangings worked during the late 19th and early to the 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.

Vestment History from Around the Web

The Flickr photo stream might give a clue on how Ecclesiastical vestments are prepared for large events when hundreds of chasuble, mitres, dalmatics, and tunics are needed.  The Stadelmaier photo stream shows the background of a vestment manufacturer making Ecclesiastical Vestments: from the Vestment Design process to final construction, the photos tell an unknown tale. The photo stream also gives a clue as to how church vestments were made in the past by including a collection of old black-and-white photos.

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