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Orphrey in two pieces

Orphrey in two pieces

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1340-70 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with raised work, on silk velvet with an interlayer of silk in plain weave.

  • Museum number:

    T.14&A-1937

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

This orphrey is the only example of 14thcentury English embroidery worked on green, rather than red, velvet to have survived with its ground intact. The design consists of double interlacing bands that form barbed quatrefoils; the spaces in between are decorated with oak leaves and acorns. In the quatrefoils, enthroned figures of angels, holding crowns and the instruments of Christ’s Passion, alternate with figures of female saints – St Mary Magdalene with her jar of ointment (twice), St Catherine of Alexandria with a wheel (twice), St Margaret of Antioch with a cross staff, and an unidentified saint with a book.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1340-70 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with raised work, on silk velvet with an interlayer of silk in plain weave.

Dimensions

Height: 29 cm maximum, Width: 22.5 cm maximum

Object history note

Two longer pieces of an orphrey came to the Museum in 1889, together with fragments of the Jesse Cope (175-1889). The orphrey pieces were separated from the cope fragments, with which they had no original connection. These further two small pieces, clearly belonging to the orphrey, were acquired by the Museum in 1937, and attached to the longer parts.

Descriptive line

An orphrey in two pieces, embroidered with silver thread and coloured silks, 1340-70, England.

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

Browne, Clare; Davies, Glyn; Michael, M.A., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2016), pp. 238-239, cat. no. 62.
Clifford, Walter, ‘A Descriptive Catalogue of Some Remarkable Copes’, Proceedings of the Clifton Antiquarian Club 1 (1887–8), 229–40, cat. no. 8
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. 16
Catalogue of English Ecclesiastical Embroideries of the XIIIth to XVIth Centuries, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, museum catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 4th edn. London, 1930, cat. no. 99
King, Donald, Opus Anglicanum: English Medieval Embroidery, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1963, cat. no. 90

Materials

Silk

Techniques

Embroidered

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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