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Processional cross
  • Processional cross
    A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852
  • Enlarge image

Processional cross

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
    John Hardman & Co. (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mahogany frame, beaten silver plates and glass containing relics

  • Museum number:

    M.107:1 to 3-1978

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 4B []

This cross incorporates relics set under glass. It was supplied to Princethorpe Priory, Leicestershire, at a cost of £50, and originally had an ebony shaft so it could be carried in processions. The designer was A.W.N. Pugin, an influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. He based the cross on medieval Spanish or Italian models and made the Gothic quatrefoil an important feature of the design.

Physical description

Mahogany frame, silver and glass containing relics

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)

Date

ca. 1850 (made)

Artist/maker

A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
John Hardman & Co. (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Mahogany frame, beaten silver plates and glass containing relics

Marks and inscriptions

No marks

Dimensions

Height: 84 cm without wooden end, Width: 56.7 cm, Depth: 2 cm without base/mount, Depth: 8 cm depth of mount, Height: 100 cm with mount

Object history note

This cross was designed by the architect A.W. N. Pugin after Medieval Spanish and Italian models for Princethorpe Priory, Leicestershire. According to the records of John Hardman and Company it cost £50. It was originally supplied with an ebony staff so that it could be carried in processions. The Gothic quatrefoil forms an important ornamental device.

Historical context note

The Gothic Revival
In the Victorian period a dramatic and profound change took place in religious life. Centred on a renewed interest in the Middle Ages, it affected the appearance of churches and how services were conducted. The influential architect A.W.N. Pugin promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. Although Pugin was Catholic, his theory appealed to Anglicans of the Oxford Movement - radicals who hoped to restore pre-Reformation services to the Church of England.

The Cambridge Camden Society, founded in 1839, studied the past to identify the medieval architecture and furnishings that would be appropriate for the revived services. The society became an arbiter of style, offering an Anglicised version of the Gothic. By the 1870s some of the equipment normally found in Catholic worship, such as the ciborium, was appearing in Anglican churches.

It was not universally welcomed. Some observers found the incense, the altar cross and the emphasis on ritual scandalously 'Popish' or 'high church'.

The Gothic Revival in Europe
The Gothic revival in Europe owed more to nationalism than religious zeal. The completion of Cologne's medieval cathedral was an affirmation of German culture. In the Habsburg empire, Czechs and Hungarians similarly expressed national pride through Gothic architecture.

Champions of the Gothic claimed by the 1850s that the style was triumphant in Europe. But classical architecture remained a serious rival, even in church building. Much of the most important Gothic work was in church restoration. In Germany and France, goldsmiths like Franz Xaver Hellner supplied Gothic church furnishings.

Descriptive line

Processional cross with base, silver and mahogany, with ebony and silver staff, Birmingham, made by John Hardman, designed by A.W.N. Pugin

Labels and date

Processional Cross

This cross incorporates relics set under glass. It was supplied to Princethorpe Priory,
Leicestershire, at a cost of £50, and originally had an ebony shaft so it could be carried in processions. The designer was A.W.N. Pugin, an influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. He based the cross on medieval Spanish or Italian models and made the Gothic quatrefoil an important feature of the design.

Birmingham, England, 1850-1; designed by A.W.N.
Pugin (1812-52), made by John Hardman & Co.
Mahogany, silver and glass
Museum no.M.107-1978 [22/11/2005]

Materials

Mahogany; Silver; Glass

Categories

Metalwork; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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