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Cope and morse

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1848-1850 (made)
    1844 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
    Powell, Lucy (maker)
    John G Crace & Son (designed for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard woven wool and silk, with velvet, woven silk braid and hand-made silk-gilt buttons and brass hooks

  • Credit Line:

    Given by St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate

  • Museum number:

    T.289&A-1989

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 8 []

This cope, designed to be worn on church holidays, is in the form of a semi-circular cloak with bands (orphreys) down the front and a hood behind. The morse, or clasp, is in the form of four leaved rossettes. The cope was designed by A. W. N. Pugin for use in his own church, St Augustine's, which he designed and built in the grounds of The Grange, his house in Ramsgate, Kent.

This cope is made of 'Gothic Tapestry', a woven wool and silk textile designed by Pugin in 1844 and manufactured for the firm of J. G. Crace. The textile was Pugin's most popular pattern and was used for both church and secular purposes. It is likely that Crace commissioned weaving from J. W. Ward of Halifax, a firm noted for their high-quality furnishings.

Pugin's interest in establishing a new order of vestments, based on a revival of historic forms and colourings, was clearly set out in his publications, especially Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume (1844). This cope is a mixture of ideas: the shape and form are derived from English medieval work while the use of patterned textiles is reminiscent of Italian and Spanish vestments from the 14th to 18th centuries.

Physical description

Cope and morse of jacquard woven wool and silk with the 'Gothic Tapestry' design with velvet, woven silk braid and hand-made silk-gilt buttons.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)

Date

1848-1850 (made)
1844 (designed)

Artist/maker

A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
Powell, Lucy (maker)
John G Crace & Son (designed for)

Materials and Techniques

Jacquard woven wool and silk, with velvet, woven silk braid and hand-made silk-gilt buttons and brass hooks

Object history note

Registered File number 1989/1219.
Designed in 1844 and manufactured for the firm of J.G. Crace. Pugin wrote to Crace that year declaring 'I am delighted with the stuff. I think it is the best thing that has been done and I think I can get it extensively used for vestments. Now have you any objections to invest a little capital to keep about 50-100 yds'. The textile proved very popular. Although only three vestments made of it are known (all for St Augustine's Church), the fabric had extensive secular use in Pugin and Crace schemes at Oxburgh Hall, The Prince Consort's Room at Abney Hall, at Gawthorpe Hall, the Library at Longleat, the chapel at Alton Towers and for the Speaker's bed in the Palace of Westminster. Crace continued to sell the furnishing for a number of years after Pugin's death and it has been associated with a number of other decorative schemes. It is likely that Crace commissioned the 'Gothic Tapestry' from the looms of J.W. Ward of Halifax, a firm noted for their high quality wool, and wool and silk fabrics.

Pugin's interest in establishing a new order of vestments, based on a revival of historic forms and colourings, was clearly set out in his various publications, especially 'Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume' (1844). In an article in the Dublin review for 1842, he wrote '... each flower, each leaf, each device had a significant meaning with reference to the festival to which the vestment belonged. This principle is completely overlooked at present ... hence the ecclesiastical costume of the day looks showy but not rich ... On the contrary, the ancient vestments conveyed a symbolic meaning ... to fill the beholder with reverence'. The cope is an amalgam of a number of early ideas. It has the shape and form of English medieval work ('opus angelicanum') although the use of woven patterns is more characteristic of vestments made in Italy and Spain from the 14th century to the 18th century.

Pugin recommended monumental brasses as a source for patterns and a few of the braids on vestments made for St Augustine's have thus been identified. Pugin's diary lists 'Mr T Brown, silk manufacturer, Manchester' may refer to Thomas Brown and Son of Manchester was are known to have manufactured 'Orphreys, Laces, Fringes & c.' and may be the supplier of the braids.

Cope designed by Pugin as part of the vestments he designed for his own church, St Augustine's in Ramsgate. It is known that Lucy Hardman, sister of John Hardman supervised the vestment making at the Hardman's premises from 1842 to 1848. Pugin's diaries and accounts mention her frequently. It is known that the Lucy and Winefred Brown worked with Mrs Powell during the latter part of the 1840s so may also have been involved in making the vestments for Ramsgate. Following Pugin's death the church passed to the Benedictine Order who presented the vestments to the Museum in 1989.

Descriptive line

Cope and morse of jacquard woven wool and silk, designed by A.W.N. Pugin, 1844, designed for John G Crace, probably made by Mrs Lucy Powell, Birmingham, 1848-1850

Labels and date

British Galleries:
COPE AND HOOD

A. W. N. Pugin was a Roman Catholic architect with a crusading mission to revive Gothic as the only morally right style of decoration. He designed these vestments for his own church, St Augustine's, Ramsgate, Kent. His zeal for promoting the Gothic style influenced many churches, not just those that were Roman Catholic. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Made for St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate.

Reason For Production: Private

Materials

Wool (textile); Silk thread; Brass; Silver gilt

Techniques

Jacquard weaving; Velvet; Braided

Categories

Religion; Clothing; British Galleries; Ecclesiastical textiles

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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