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Cope

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1310-25 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with laid and couched work, on silk twill reinforced with linen

  • Museum number:

    175-1889

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Fragments of a cope, pieced together. The orphreys, hood and side fronts are missing. Red (faded) silk in twill weave, embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with details in laid and couched work. The shape of the pieces suggests that the cope was cut up into an altar frontal or dossal and chasuble.

Iconography. The embroidery depicts the Tree of Jesse; a vine, springing from the body of Jesse, and sheltering prophets and ancestors of Christ. The name of each figure is embroidered in lettering, thus allowing identification of Jesse (IESSE), David (DAVIT), Solomon (SALOMON), The Virgin and Child (originally directly below the hood), Abraham (ABRAHAL PPHE), Abia (ABIAS REX), Roboam (ROBOAS REX), Zorobabel (ZOROBABEL), Eliakim (ELIAKIM PPHE), Jacob (IACOB PPHE), Moses (MOYZES PPHE), Jeremiah (JEREMIAS PPHE), A prophet (... PPHE), Pharez (PHARES PPHE), Isaiah (ISAYE PPHE), Daniel (DANIEL... )

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1310-25 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with laid and couched work, on silk twill reinforced with linen

Marks and inscriptions

'IESSE'

'DAVIT'

'SALOMON'

'ABRAHAL PPHE'

'ABIAS REX'

'ROBOAS REX'

'ZOROBABEL'

'ELIAKIM PPHE'

'IACOB PPHE'

'MOYZES PPHE'

'JEREMIAS PPHE'

'PHARES PPHE'

'ISAYE PPHE'

'DANIEL [...]'

Dimensions

Width: 310 cm, Height: 164 cm, Weight: 3.36 kg

Object history note

The cope was in the Roman Catholic chapel at Brockhampton, near Havant, Hampshire, from 1718 until 1857-58; then given to Mr Dunlop of Southampton, who in turn sold it to Rev. Father H. Van Doorne, Brixton Hill.

Historical significance: A photograph of this cope has been painted in watercolour by Miss B. Hunter at a cost of £25 16 s (E.443-1895)

Historical context note

According to Donald King, copes of red samite decorated with the Tree of Jesse are frequently mentioned in the reigns of Henry III and Edward I.. There was one at St Paul's Cathedral in 1245; Bishop Middleton of Norwich (1278-88) gave one to Canterbury, and Bishop Bitton (1292-1307) gave one to Exeter. Stylistically, this example is related to the Vatican cope in the Museo Sacro of the Vatican Library, Rome, the copes of Saint Bertrand de Comminges, and the John of Thanet panel (V&A T.337-1921).

Descriptive line

Embroidered fragments from a cope with The Tree of Jesse

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

King, Donald. Opus anglicanum. The Arts Council, 1963, cat. 35, pp. 21-2.
Gospel Stories in English Embroidery (London: HMSO / Victoria and Albert Museum, 1963) fig. 23
Browne, Clare; Davies, Glyn; Michael, M.A., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum,exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2016), pp. 171-174

Materials

Silk; Silk (thread); Silver; Silver gilt

Techniques

Twill weave; Embroidery; Couching

Subjects depicted

Tree of Jesse

Categories

Textiles; Embroidery; Ecclesiastical textiles; Christianity

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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