Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Kilburn (probably, embroidered)

  • Date:

    1870-1899 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pearson, John Loughborough RA, born 1817 - died 1897 (designer)
    Sisters of the Community of St Peter's Convent (embroiderers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered velvet in floss silks and metal threads, with a linen border and lining

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Sisterhood of the Community of St Peter

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Embroidered superfrontal of red velvet in floss silks and metal threads. The design depicts four angels alternating with three inscribed panels 'SANCTUS'. There is a background design of scrolling leaves and stems worked in gold threads, graded floss silks and Japanese gold thread. The angels each hold a sign of the Passion or Celebration of the Resurrection including a palm leaf, a harp and bindings from the tomb. One angel holds aloft either bells or a crown-like object.

The motifs are applied to the velvet ground and there is an outline couching in brown silk. Some areas (angel wings, lettering and some leaves) are padded from beneath. The central scrolling stem is worked in gold thread with a silk core and background floral design and the angels are embroidered in polychrome silks in long and short and stem stitches with laid and couched work, and couched Japanese gold thread. The inscribed panels show pale blue silk lettering worked in satin stitches over a brown and cream silk ground covered in couched filling stitches. All sections of the design are outlined in couched Japanese gold thread except for the figures. The silk embroidery uses shades of blue, yellow or gold, cream, green, red, pink and orange.

The superfrontal has a wide brown linen border and lining onto which are sewn two sets of hooks and eyes on either end of the embroidered panel. The sides and top edge of the embroidered superfrontal are edged with a dark red twisted cord and the lower edge has a manufactured fringed border with gold and purple headings. The fringing comprises various coloured tassels in shades of green, gold, pink, red, cream and blue.

The back of the linen is inscribed in ink 'S. Peter's Convent, Maybury Hill, Woking'. Two attached labels read 'High Altar Best' and 'RED high Altar'.

Place of Origin

Kilburn (probably, embroidered)


1870-1899 (made)


Pearson, John Loughborough RA, born 1817 - died 1897 (designer)
Sisters of the Community of St Peter's Convent (embroiderers)

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered velvet in floss silks and metal threads, with a linen border and lining

Marks and inscriptions

On three panels

'S. Peter's Convent, Maybury Hill, Woking'
Back of the linen, inscribed in ink

'High Altar Best'
On label

'RED high Altar'
On label


Width: 6.5 in velvet, Length: 89 in velvet, Width: 16.5 cm velvet, Length: 226.7 cm velvet, Width: 22 in linen backing, Length: 101 in linen backing, Width: 56 cm linen backing, Length: 252.1 cm linen backing, Weight: 0.94 kg

Object history note

Registered File number 1988/682.

The Convent of St Peter's believes the frontal was designed by J.L. Pearson, the architect of their founder church in Kilburn (the Convent was moved to new premises in Woking). A signed design was owned by the Convent but could not be traced when the superfrontal was acquired. It is possible that the embroidery was worked by the Sisters of the Convent who were known to be accomplished embroiderers.

See T.72-1988, a later piece worked in the Convent.

Descriptive line

Embroidered superfrontal of velvet in silks and metal threads, designed by J.L. Pearson, probably embroidered by the Sisters of the Community of St Peter's Convent, Kilburn, 1870-1899


Silk thread; Metal thread; Linen (material)


Embroidered; Velvet weave; Lined

Subjects depicted

Harp; Angels; Palm; Leaf scrolls; Leaves; Floral patterns


Ecclesiastical textiles; Embroidery; Religion


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.