Burse

1320-1330 (made)
Burse thumbnail 1
Burse thumbnail 2
+2
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered with silver-gilt thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with laid and couched work, on linen.
Brief Description
embroidered, 1320-30, English, Cruxifixion and 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.
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 29cm
  • Maximum width: 22.5cm
Content description
The burse shows the Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John on one side and the Coronation of the Virgin on the other, each scene enclosed within a barbed quatrefoil. The design of the gold background is complex, with an intricate pattern of quatrefoils containing rampant lions facing each other; the spaces between the quatrefoils show running lions, some of them also arranged in pairs.
Production typeUnique
Object history
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
This burse now forms a flat panel, having been

opened out at some time in its past.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
  • Browne, Clare, Davies, Glyn and Michael, M.A. (eds.), , London : in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016no. 40, pp. 181-183
  • King, Donald. Opus Anglicanum : English medieval embroidery, London, Arts Council,1963no. 62
  • 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.
Collection
Accession Number
T.62-1936

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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