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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1320-1330 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Burses were purse-like pouches used to contain corporals, the linen cloths used in the celebration of the Christian Mass. The surface of this example is embroidered, and is a fine example of Opus Anglicanum (Latin for 'English work'). Such high quality English embroidery was highly regarded throughout Europe. One side the burse shows Christ crucified with the Virgin and St. John, and on the other, the Coronation of the Virgin.

Physical description

One side of the burse shows Christ crucified, the Virgin Mary and St. John; the other shows the Coronation of the Virgin, with Christ still displaying his stigmata; each within a barbed quatrefoil. The gold background is worked with a pattern of quatrefoils enclosing rampant and passant lions. The linen is embroidered with silver- gilt and silk threads in underside couching, split stitch and laid and couched work. Edged with a narrow border of feather stitches. The burse has been opened out.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1320-1330 (made)



Materials and Techniques

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


Height: 29 cm maximum, Width: 22.5 cm maximum

Object history note

From a farmhouse near Romsey, Hampshire. The previous owner from whom it was purchased "was under the impression it was worked by her grandmother". (from register)

Historical context note

This burse now forms a flat panel, having been
opened out at some time in its past.

Descriptive line

embroidered, 1320-30, English, Cruxifixion and Coronation of the Virgin.

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

Christie, Grace, English Medieval Embroidery:
A Brief Survey of English Embroidery dating from
the Beginning of the Tenth Century until the End of
the Fourteenth.
Oxford, 1938, cat. no. 82
no. 40, pp. 181-183
Browne, Clare, Davies, Glyn and Michael, M.A. (eds.), , London : in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016
no. 62
King, Donald. Opus Anglicanum : English medieval embroidery, London, Arts Council,1963
Verdier, Philippe, Peter Brieger and Marie Farquhar Montpetit, Art and the Courts: France and England from 1259 to 1328, exhibition catalogue, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1972, cat. no. 92
Art and the courts: France and England from 1259-1328, Vol. II, Ottawa, 1972, pp. 146-7.


Silk; Silver-gilt thread; Material




Christianity; Embroidery; Ecclesiastical textiles

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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