Orphrey thumbnail 1
Orphrey thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Orphrey

1328-1354 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Portion of orphrey made into a cushion (kneeler?) at a later date. Two separate pieces have been crudely joined. The larger depicts a king, probably St Edward the Confessor. He is wearing a fur-lined robe holding a sceptre and the model of a church. On the lower piece is the shield of arms, argent, six cross-crosslets fitchée, sable, three, two and one; on a chief azure, two mullets or, pierced gules, for Clinton, within a cusped octagon.

The embroidery is worked in silks and silver-gilt thread in split stitch and underside couching on a ground of silk twill damask, now light brown. Worn in many areas and showing linen underneath.
The panel is edged with a silk braid, blue, cream and purple pink with hanging tassels in poor condition. It is lined with leather.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch on silk twill damask reinforced with linen
Brief Description
Cushion made from part of an orphrey band, silk damask and linen, embroidered with polychrome silks and metal thread, England, 1328-1354.
Physical Description
Portion of orphrey made into a cushion (kneeler?) at a later date. Two separate pieces have been crudely joined. The larger depicts a king, probably St Edward the Confessor. He is wearing a fur-lined robe holding a sceptre and the model of a church. On the lower piece is the shield of arms, argent, six cross-crosslets fitchée, sable, three, two and one; on a chief azure, two mullets or, pierced gules, for Clinton, within a cusped octagon.



The embroidery is worked in silks and silver-gilt thread in split stitch and underside couching on a ground of silk twill damask, now light brown. Worn in many areas and showing linen underneath.

The panel is edged with a silk braid, blue, cream and purple pink with hanging tassels in poor condition. It is lined with leather.



Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 29cm
  • Maximum width: 22.5cm
Object history
Acquired from the Rector and Churchwardens of Catworth, Huntingdon, with the permission of the Bishop of the Diocese of Ely for the sum of £25 (with 836 to 840-1902) in 1902. The provenance was St Leonard's Church, Catworth. The cushions had been lent to the Exhibition of the Church Crafts League at the Church House, Westminster in May 1902 organised by W. H. St John Hope and shown in Brighton the previous October (a flyer for this exhibition is among the RPs). They entered the museum immediately after this second exhibition.



A note to Kendrick dated 11th January 1901 in the Registered Papers indicated that Mr St John Hope of the Society of Antiquaries had suggested that the cushions be purchased if possible since 'they were no longer utlized in the church' and 'such rare specimens of English embroidery would be safer and of more practical use to students in the custody of a National Museum' (P.G. Trendell). The Rev. W. Woodward of the church had to get the permission of the Bishop and Churchwardens in order to sell the five cushions for £5 each and 'would be glad if this could be done soon, as they want to restore the clock as a memorial of the corontation, and he wants to suggest that the money should be devoted to that purpose' (Kendrick, 23/04/1902). The V&A used Walter Crane as the expert to report on the cushions.



RP349/1902 (contained report by Walter Crane), 90676/1902 (Faculty signed by William Johnson Evans, Registrar of the Diocese of Ely, dated 13/10/1902), 26125/1902 (Sanction), 21593/1902. The first two files no longer exist. Nominal file: Catworth, Huntingdon: Catworth Church, 1901-1902, MA/1C773.
Subject depicted
Associated Object
836-1902 (Object)
Bibliographic Reference
Browne, Clare; Davies, Glyn; Michael, M.A., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2016), p.187.
Collection
Accession Number
838-1902

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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