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Textile fragments

  • Place of origin:

    Lower Saxony (made)

  • Date:

    1150-1160 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen embroidered with silk

  • Museum number:

    8713-1863

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fragment is from a wall hanging or altar dossal with a linen ground entirely covered with polychrome silk embroidery in chain stitch. It show St Bartholomew, St Paul and the incomplete figure of a third apostle standing within a Romanesque arcade bearing their names and topped with small turreted buildings. Other fragments from the original hanging or altar dossal are in the collection of the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris and the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna. There are two further but smaller fragments in the V&A collection that may also be from the same hanging.

The original composition of the panel may have been similar to that of a complete German painted altar dossal of about 1170-80, in which the figure of Christ in Majesty is flanked by two male and two female saints within Romanesque arches topped by buildings.

Physical description

Linen ground entirely covered with polychrome silk embroidery in chain stitch: three fragments (one large, small and strip). St. Bartholomew, St. Paul and the incomplete figure of a third apostle stand within a Romanesque arcade bearing their names and topped with small turreted buildings. Above is a border containing foliate scrolls.

Place of Origin

Lower Saxony (made)

Date

1150-1160 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Linen embroidered with silk

Dimensions

Width: 92.5 cm framed, Height: 123 cm framed, Width: 59 cm largest piece, Height: 83 cm largest piece, Depth: 21 mm

Object history note

Historical significance: The figures of the apostles related stylistically and technically to a much larger fragment of another wall hanging decorated with scenes from the New Testament, which is now in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin: this has been dated to 1160-70 by comparison with illuminated manuscripts and, by the same comparison, the Museum's fragments have been dated slightly earlier.

Historical context note

The figure of St. John from the same panel is in the Cluny Museum, Paris, and a fifth incomplete figure is in the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna. Two further fragments (1252+A-1864) and two in Vienna probably from the same hanging. They include part of the figure of Christ in Majesty, and the original composition of the panel may have been similar to that of a complete German painted altar dossal of c.1170-80 (now in the Westfalisches Landesmuseum, Münster), in which the figure of Christ in Majesty is flanked by two male and two female saints within Romanesque arches topped by buildings.
The Museum's pieces, and those in Paris and Vienna, were acquired by Dr Bock from the Convent of Huysburg, near Halberstadt.

Descriptive line

Fragments from a wall hanging or altar dossal, linen ground covered with silk embroidery showing male saints.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Williamson, Paul (ed.), The Medieval Treasury: The Art of the Middle Ages in the Victoria & Albert Museum (London: V&A Publications, 1986), pp.138-139

Materials

Silk; Linen

Techniques

Embroidering

Categories

Christianity; Images Online; Ecclesiastical textiles; Embroidery

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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