It is Easter Sunday here so happy easter everyone. I was going to write a post on ecclesiastical embroidery but I noticed that Mary Corbet of Needle and Thread has had the same idea. Check it out Mary’s article on a Crucifixion Chasuble. Don’t miss this as the photos will make you salivate grab a tissue before you click or you will dribble on the key board.
Heavy ornamentation and embellishment marks this embroidery out as being particularly special with copes and chasubles covered with religious pictorial embroidery. The materials used included gold, silver, and silk threads, pearls, precious stones, coral, and spangles the fore runner of sequins were cut with a stamp from silver. The stitches used in this type of work are illustrated half way down the page in Opus Anglicanum: English Work or how to paint with a needle and another excellent article on the technique is here
Examples of ecclesiastical embroidery date back to the 10th century but this type of embroidery reached its height between the thirteenth, and the first half of the fifteenth centuries. At this time England was famous for its ecclesiastical embroidery. From mid 1200s to mid 1300s this period of English embroidery is called Opus Anglicanum which is simply Latin for English work. This brief history from the Victorian and Albert Museum covers the key points
If you are interested in the state of contemporary ecclesiastical embroidery read Judith Peacock ‘s article The Poor Relation.