- Place of origin:
England, Great Britain (embroidered)
Italy (velvet, probably, woven)
- Materials and Techniques:
Silk velvet, embroidered with silver and silver-gilt thread and coloured silks
- Credit Line:
Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Pilgrim's Trust, the Worshipful Company of Merchant Tailors, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Worshipful Company of Mercers, the Worshipful Company of Broderers, the Worshipful Company of Drapers, the Worshipful Company of Weavers and the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Medieval and Renaissance, room 10, case 11
This cope illustrates the third of the three major decorative schemes found in English copes of the medieval period, which overlap chronologically. In the two other schemes the figures are arranged in horizontal rows, and thus are not ideally suited to the curved shape of the cope (the Syon Cope, also in the V&A's collection, is an example of this). In this example, however, the figures framed within Gothic arches are arranged in concentric rows so that they follow the curved edge and sit favorably in relation to the hem.
The red velvet ground of Italian origin is an ideal foil for the high quality English embroidery (called opus anglicanum, the Latin for English work), which was sought after throughout Europe and bought by princes and popes. The scenes show the Life of the Virgin; apostles and saints with crouching lions; lion masks; angels; and a pair of birds.
The cope relates very closely to a chasuble now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, known as the Chichester-Constable chasuble, and it is possible that they may have been designed to be used together. Vestments like this one illustrate the sumptuous and costly textiles which were favoured by the Christian church, often given by wealthy donors, making a conspicuous show of both earthly wealth and spiritual devotion.
Red velvet cope with scenes from the Life of the Virgin. This cope is semi-circular with a wide orphrey sewn along the long straight edge. The main body of the cope is made of red silk velvet which is embroidered with sacred scenes, apostles and saints in three concentric zones made up of multifoil ogee arches adorned with oak sprigs, lions and lion-masks; seated angels holding stars occupy the spandrels. The orphreys comprise architectural niches containing ecclesiastics and kings.
In areas of the lions's mask where the pearls have worn away, a layer of white silk is visible. The design was probably originally drawn on this silk and through the silk velvet. The dark outlinees may well be remains of black silk outlines.
THE BODY OF THE COPE is made of red silk velvet embroidered with gold, silver and silk thread, pearls, beads and small metal rings. The needlework is stitched through the velvet ground, not worked separately and then applied. Before working, the surface of the velvet was overlaid with thin fabric which shows through where the embroidery has worn away. The STITCHES used are underside couching (for most of the metal threads), surface couching (on the Infant Christ's gold robe in the central scene and the drapery of the lectern in the Annunciation group) and for tying down laid silk, split stitch (for silk embroidery), French knots and satin stitch. The draperies, in gold with silk borders and linings, have the folds marked by narrow bands of gold laid in contrary direction to the rest of the surface. Features of the faces are outlined in black silk and cheeks are stitched in loop-shaped spirals, slightly indented at the centre. Many accessories such as crowns and caskets show a surface of loosely-stitched white silk, the preparatory ground work for pearl fillings (the pearls are now missing in most cases).
Three concentric zones of arcaded IMAGERY spread over the surface of the vestment, framing three central scenes and 24 standing figures ranged on either side. Between the three arcades, the spandrels form two lesser zones. The gold columns of the arcades are composed of twisted branches bearing a large oak-leaf and acorn on either side just above each intersection. The columns of the lower arcade rest on gold lions with bushy manes and tails worked in raised gold and with blue silk ears and claws.
The lions crouch on grassy mounds made of green silk laid horizontally across the velvet and tied down with close lines of yellow split stitch. The mounds are strewn with flowers, such as daisies and forget-me-nots, worked in French knots, split and satin stitch. The crocketted arches have five lobes from the points of which hang oak-leaves and acorns. Lion masks with protruding pink tongues, bright blue ears and mouths and white teeth are found at the points where the arches join the columns and where the upper columns spring from the spandrels of the rows below. The masks were formerly covered with pearls and the protruding eyes were made of green beads enclosed in small gold rings, a few of which still remain.
In the spandrels of the arches are twenty-four angels, fifteen in the lower zone are slightly larger than the eleven above. Four set in the half-spandrels abutting onto the orphrey, stand holding large stars with six-curved points. The others are seated on thrones made of beasts set back to back (two in the upper zone and four in the lower), with heads worked in gold, broad silver collars and bodies worked in gold wound on bright green silk. All angels have yellow hair, framed by a gold nimbus, and their outspread wings are worked in gold and silver, each feather being veined with a chequered silk line. The stars were formerly covered with pearls, with a green bed in the centre, but these only remain in one instance.
In the side spandrels of the double arch at the centre of the cope two parakeets confront each other, their heads turned backwards. Their heads and wings are green, their bodies yellow.
ICONOGRAPHY. The following subjects are represented:
A. In the three central panels on the back of the cope, each of which is contained in a double arch of the arcade, reading from top to bottom:
1. The Coronation of the Virgin. Central piece missing. On a throne of gold arcading, surmounted by a frieze of quatrefoils tinted pink, blue and green, and a pale green cushion fretted with buff silk trellis tied with pink spots and crosses, sit facing each other, the Virgin, crowned and nimbed, with hands clasped in adoration, and Christ, one hand raised in blessing, the other resting on a tripartite globe worked in silver, green and sepia. Both figures have long, flowing hair, the Virgin's yellow, Christ's in two shades of yellow. The Virgin's robe has a brown and white patterned lining representing fur, and a yellow border, with gold trellis. Christ's cloak is lined with white silk and has a pink border with blue chevrons, the sleeves of his robe are lined with yellow.
2. The Adoration of the Magi. The Virgin, crowned and nimbed and with long flowing yellow hair, holds in her right hand a sceptre in the form of a scrolling flower sprig. She is seated on a throne of gold arcading surmounted by a band of pink silk covered by a blue, gold and white trellis, and bearing a yellow silk cushion tied down by a pink, white and gold trellis.The Virgin's cloak has a patterned fur lining as in the Coronation scene, and a pink and white border. Her robe has a blue border around neck and sleeves. She is supporting the Infant Christ who stands on her knee holding out his arms towards a goblet (once encrusted with pearls) presented by a kneeling king. The Child has yellow hair and his gold robe is spotted with blue. A small bird (almost obliterated) hangs from his left hand. The kneeling king has a bald crown and flowing white hair and beard. The other two Kings stand bearing gifts and one of them points to a star above the Child's head. The robes of all three kings have patterned fur linings. One of the kings has yellow hair and yellow shoes covered by a pink and white trellis, the other has green and yellow hair and beard.
3. The Anunciation. An angel with short yellow hair, stitched in indented spirals, wearing a cloak with yellow lining and gold and white border and a robe with blue lining and pink and yellow border and with wings half-furled, holds out a long scroll inscribed AVE MARIA GRACIA in black silk letters upon gold. He approaches the Virgin who stands with one hand raised and the other resting upon a draped lectern, upon which lies an open book inscribed with the word AMEN in black letters on a silver page. The Virgin has long, flowing yellow hair and a green and gold bordered cloak with patterned fur lining as in the other two scenes. Between the Virgin and the angel is a two-handled vase containing a lily with three white flowers. Above the Virgin the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, once encrusted with pearls, with crossed nimbus, flies downwards.
B. In the remaining four arcades, there are figures of saints and apostles, each standing on a small gold platform supported by gold foliage. St Margaret is the exception. From left to right, top to bottom they are:
4. St Laurence, in diaconal robe with tonsured head, holding a gridiron and a book. His hair is yellow, his dalmatic is lined with yellow-green. The stole and amice are pink with a blue and gold trellis pattern. The book is yellow with a pink and gold trellis.
5. Mary Magdalene, with loose yellow hair, holding a vase of ointment and a book with yellow cover with pink and gold trellis. Her cloak is lined with bright blue and has a pink and gold border.
6. St Helen, crowned and bearing a cross and a book with a gold cover, tied down by a pink and blue trellis. A little of her yellow hair is seen at the temples under a white veil which falls to her shoulders. Her cloak has a brown and white fur lining and a buff and gold border. Her robe has a green border. Part of the panel is missing.
7. St Stephen, robed as a deacon, and holding one gold and two silver stones and a book. He has short yellow hair. His dalmatic has a pink border, his robe is lined with yellowish green and has a pink border. His stole has white ends with pink spots. The book has a yellow cover with pink and white trellis.
8. St Edward the Confessor, crowned and bearing a model worked in gold, white, pink, green and blue, of Westminster Abbey, in one of his gloved hands. He has short white hair and beard. His cloak has a brown and white fur lining and a yellow, pink, and rose border. His robe has buff lining and pink and white border. His shoes are black with green tongues.
9. A mitred Bishop, robed in chasuble, dalmatic, stole, alb and gloves, with pastoral staff and one hand raised in blessing. Possibly St Nicholas (cf. similar named figure on Vich cope). The face and part of the body are cut away. The mitre is yellow, white and gold, his hair is yellow and brown. The chasuble is lined with bright blue and with a pink border with white chevrons. The dalmatic is lined with brownish yellow and with buff and gold border. The alb is worked in white and pale blue with a gold border. The end of the stole is yellow with pink and white trellis. His shoes are black with gold stripes.
10. St Margaret, wearing the crown of martyrdom, stands on a writhing dragon, whose throat she is piercing with a long-stemmed cross. The dragon has green and yellow wings with raised gold ribs, green and yellow head powdered with pink dots, bright and light blue striped body ringed with raised gold bands between each of which is a large pink spot. St Margaret has long flowing hair worked in pink and yellow. Her cloak has a brown and white fur lining and a yellow border with pink and gold trellis. She holds a book worked in the same manner. The hem of her robe is bordered wtih pink and white chevrons.
11. St John the Evangelist, of youthful appearance, holding a curved silver palm branch and book. His short yellow hair is worked in indented spirals. His cloak has a blue lining and yellow, pink and white border. The robe has a green lining and a pink and gold border. He is barefoot. The book cover is pink with white trellis and blue spots.
12. St John the Baptist, with long white hair striped with blue, and white beard, holding a large gold disc containing the Agnus Dei (once covered with pearls). His short mantle is powdered with tufts of hair worked in raised gold. It has a green lining and a pink, white, blue and gold striped border.
13. St Catherine of Alexandria, nimbed and crowned, bearing a spiked wheel (probably once covered with pearls) and a gold sword with its point resting on the ground. The sword has a blue hilt with pink and gold trellis. Her cloak has a brown and white fur lining and a pink border with a gold and white trellis. The robe has a blue and white border. Part of the figure is missing.
14. A mitred Archbishop, holding a long-stemmed cross (once encrusted with pearls) in one hand, raising the other in blessing. The face and part of the figure have been destroyed. Possibly St Thomas of Canterbury (cf. Vich cope). White, gold and green mitre, chasuble of silver and gold with blue lining and pink, gold and white border. The dalmatic is lined with green.
15. St Edmund of Bury, crowned, grasping a large silver-tipped arrow in one hand, and fingering a pink necklet with the other. Short yellow hair and beard. His cloak has brown and white fur lining, a green and white border. The under-robe has a blue lining, pink border with gold chevrons.
Bottom row. This row consists of Apostles, all barefoot.
16. St Matthew, with one hand raised, the other grasping a sheathed sword. The sheath is gold with pink and blue trellis. His hair is white and blue, his beard white. The cloak has a brown and white fur lining, pink, rose, blue and gold chevron border. The robe has a yellow-green lining and rose and white chevron border.
17. St Simon, his symbol is missing, holding a book. He has long flowing hair and a short beard. Worked in two shades of yellow, his cloak has a yellowish-green lining, rose and white chevron border. The book is gold with pink, blue and white trellis.
18. St Thomas, holding a silver-tipped lance with green and gold shaft and a book. Part of the figure is missing. Long flowing hair and a beard in deep yellow and green. Cloak has a brown and white fur lining, green and pink border. Robe has a blue lining, pink, blue and white chevron border. Book rose pink with gold and white trellis.
19. St Andrew, holding a saltire cross, patterned with gold trellis on a pink, green and buff ground, and a book worked in pink with gold and blue trellis. Hair and beard worked in two shades of greenish-yellow. Cloak lined with greenish-yellow, rose, gold and white border. Robe lined with blue and with pink and blue border. Part of the figure is missing.
20. St James the Great, bearing pilgrim staff and wallet, decorated with a scallop shell once encrusted with pearls, and a book. His long hair is striped yellow and brown, his beard yellow and green. Cloak has brown and white fur lining, yellow and gold border. Robe has blue lining, rose, gold and white border. Book cover is pink with gold trellis and clasp. Bag worked in green with gold and rose trellis. The staff is worked in gold wound alternately over pink and blue threads.
21. St Peter, bearing two large keys, one silver, one gold, and a book worked in yellow with a pink, gold and white trellis. Bald crown, short hair worked in white and blue in indented circles, white beard. His cloak has brown and white fur lining, pink and gold border, and is fastened at the neck with a large clasp. His robe has a yellow lining.
22. St Paul, grasping a silver sword with the blade pointing upwards and a book with yellow cover tied down by a pink trellis. Bald crown, long yellow hair and beard worked in indented spirals. Cloak has blue lining, pink and gold border. Robe has yellow lining, white and gold border.
23. St Mathias, holding a long-stemmed halberd with a silver blade and a red and blue shaft and a book with pink cover tied down by a gold and rose trellis. His long hair is striped brown and deep yellow, his short beard is in two shades of greenish yellow. Cloak has buff and white fur lining, greenish yellow, pink and gold border. Robe has blue and pink chevron border, white lining. Part of the panel is missing.
24. St James the Less, with a cross (probably once covered with pearls) in his left hand, gesticulting with his right. Long flowing yellow hair, yellow and brown beard. Cloak lined with yellow and with pink border. Robe lined with blue, red and white border. Part of the figure is missing.
25. St Philip, bearing one silver and two gold loaves and a book with yellow cover tied down by gold trellis with red spots. Brownish yellow hair and beard stitched in spirals. Cloak has brown and white fur lining, green, white, gold and rose border. Robe lined with green, red and white chevron border.
26. St Jude, holding a gold and silver boat (central portion cut away), and a book, which has a green cover tied down with a pink and white trellis, and the pages marked with pink, gold and blue chevrons over white silk (usually the pages are simply outlined in black silk). Long flowing white hair and beard. Cloak lined with yellowish green and with pink and blue chevron border. Robe lined with buff, green, gold and pink border.
27. St Bartholomew, displaying a large flaying knife, worked in silver with raised work on the hilt, to which he points with his right hand. His hair is worked in stripes of brown silk and metal thread - the only one of all the saints to be treated in this way. His cloak is lined with pink and has a buff and gold border. Robe lined with blue and with green and gold border.
EDGING. The base of the cope is edged with a narrow border. On a background of couched gold, six-lobed rosettes, probably once pearl-encrusted, occur every six inches. Between them are scrolling flower sprigs, one variety of four red columbine blossoms with yellowish green foliage, the other four five-lobed pink flowers with myrtle-green leaves. The bare central spandrel at the top of the cope is covered by the small triangular hood. The decoration consists of two angels in plum-coloured draperies and with red nimbi leaning from clouds and swinging censers, on a patterned gold ground.
The ORPHREY has a gold background with rich and varied ornaments such as heraldic lions, spread eagles, rosettes, fleur-de-lys, trefoils and small geometric devices, couched in the opposite direction to the ground or raised in low relief by a thread underlay. Eight architectural niches placed one above the other have arches, like those on the cope but worked in shaded green, red and blue silk, springing from side piers ending in ornamental pinnacles surmounted by finials. The piers enriched with three tiers of panels filled with geometrical patterns in coloured silks and separated by square blocks containing gold quatrefoils. In the spandrels above the arches are two rampant griffins facing one another; they were once covered with pearls. The niches are separated by oblong panels each containing a central six-lobed rosette within an octagonal frame, supported by two heraldic lions of England, one on either side, facing one another. All this was formerly encrusted with pearls.
The figures in the niches are eccelsiastics and kings placed so that an ecclesiastic and a king always face each other when the cope is worn. The kings wear fur-lined mantles of green shaded with yellow and the priests brown-red chasubles over green and yellow dalmatics. They have no names or symbols. They are as follows, reading from left to right:
1. A crowned king holding a sceptre and gesticulating with his right hand. Panel curtailed at top and bottom and missing pieces filled in by painted restoration.
2. A bishop holding a long crook, raising his right hand in blessing. He is robed in chasuble, dalmatic, amice, apparelled alb and stole and is wearing mitre, gloves and sandals. Lappets hang from his mitre.
3. A crowned king with sceptre, raising his left hand.
4. An archbishop with a cross, raising his right hand in blessing. He is dressed like the bishop but has a pallium and maniple in addition to the other vestments.
5. A king with crown and sceptre, fingering a necklet with his left hand. A missing part has been filled with painted restoration.
6. A bishop with a long crook.
7. A king with a crown and sceptre, raising his left hand.
8. Probably originally an archbishop, but nearly all of the panel is missing, filled in by painted restoration.
Place of Origin
England, Great Britain (embroidered)
Italy (velvet, probably, woven)
Materials and Techniques
Silk velvet, embroidered with silver and silver-gilt thread and coloured silks
Width: 165.5 cm along top, Circumference: 345 cm
Object history note
This cope illustrates the third of the three major decorative schemes found in English copes of the medieval period. The design is particularly suited to the shape of the cope, with the figures being framed within Gothic arches and arranged in concentric rows that follow the curved edge. (In the two other schemes the figures are arranged in horizontal rows, and thus are not ideally suited to the curved shape of the cope. The Syon Cope (83-1864), also in the V&A's collection, is an example of the less sympathetic arrangement.) The use of such rich decoration, embroidery using pearls and gold threads, must have made the garment very heavy to wear, imposing a stately gait for processions; it would also have been particulary impressive to a viewing public for whom such showiness was the preserve of Church and Court and accessible only from a distance. It should be noted, too, that the major scenes of the Coronation of the Virgin, the Adoration of the Kings, and the Annunciation are one above each other in the most visible position on the cope when it was on the body of a clergyman (i.e. central back).
The V&A first expressed interest in acquiring the cope in 1938 when Lt. Colonel W. E. I. Butler Bowdon (of Dapsland, Mayfield, Sussex) intimated that he would be offering it for sale via Christies. At that time it was considered 'undoubtedly the most important English vestment ever to come on the market'. (Minute of C.E.C.Tattersall, Keeper of Textiles to the Director, 1 March 1938). Indeed in putting the case for funding from the National Art Fund, the Director described it thus: 'This is a magnificent example of opus Anglicanum, which was exhibited here in the Exhibition of Mediaeval English Art  and which we have long regarded as one of the few essential objects in this country which should if possible be secured; for it is of a totally different type to any that we have' (25 April 1938). Initially the Colonel held out for £10,000.
Eventually, in 1955 in the face of the acquisition of the cope by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for £33,000, Wingfield Digby lodged a bar on the request for an export licence (8 January 1955); the Review committee met on February 24 and confirmed in writing that if the V&A could make an offer of this amount or come to an arrangement with the Met, then no export licence would be granted (18 March 1955). An extract from Hansard (Vol. 542, no. 13, Cols. 86 & 87) records the purchase of the cope: £5,000 & £3,000 from the National Art Collections Fund and the Pilgrim Trust respectively; £15,000 from the Museum's own resources (included £812.10s from City Companies), and £9,000 from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 'subject to the approval of Parliament, to find through an addition to the Museum Purchase Grant for the current financial year.'
According to the accession register, the cope was owned by the Butler-Bowdon family and their ancestors from time immemorial. It was probably cut up some time before 1721 and turned into a set of vestments comprising chasuble, stole, maniple and altar frontal or dossal. Subsequently, in 1854 the Rev. W. I. Clifford S. J. reassembled it in the form it was in when it arrived in the museum in 1955. Between 1955 and 1957 it was remounted by Mrs Birkill, the ground being filled in with red velvet of 16th-17th century. The missing portions of the design were filled in with painted restoration.
Note: the spelling of the original owner's name is Butler-Bowdon when he signs letters; his name is mispellt as Bowden in certain letters addressed to or about him in 1955.
Historical significance: While the red silk velvet ground is probably Italian in origin, the high quality embroidery is most likely English. Called opus anglicanum (the Latin for English work), this kind of embroidery was sought after throughout Europe and bought by princes and popes. The prominent position of three English saints in the embroidery on the body of the cope should be noted, as should the two heraldic lions of England on the orphreys. St Edward the Confessor is prominent in the central row on the left hand front side of the cope and St Edmund of Bury stands opposite him on the right hand side. The archbishop alongside St Edmund has tentatively been identified as St Thomas of Canterbury.
The incrustation of this cope with pearls, gold and beads was particularly rich, a fact that is difficult to appreciate in its current state of conservation; its weight and 'showiness' must have been impressive - especially in a processional context. The cope relates very closely to a chasuble now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, known as the Chichester-Constable chasuble. It is possible that they may have been designed to be used together (good colour images in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. Winter 1995/6, pp.36-7). The remains of another cope in the Museu Episcopal de Vic in Vic are so similar that they could have come from the same workshop.
Vestments like this one illustrate the sumptuous and costly textiles which were favoured by the Christian church, often given by wealthy donors, making a conspicuous show of both earthly wealth and spiritual devotion. The significance and value of the textile are underlined by the fact that during its history it was firstly cut into smaller ecclesiastical items, and then in the mid nineteenth century reassembled in the form of a cope, using 16th or 17th century velvet in the restoration. The painted restoration of the orphreys is also of a very high standard.
By the late 1930s, the Museum deemed it the most important example of ecclesiastical embroidery in existence in private ownership and in the mid 1950s an export stop and funding from central government and other bodies enabled the Museum to acquire it.
Historical context note
By the thirteenth century clerical attire was more or less stabilized throughout the Latin Christian church. According to the Rationale for the Divine Offices of the canonist and liturgist William Durandus (d. 1296), all ranks of the higher clergy were entitled to wear the cope (or pluviale) for processional occasions on feast days. As a result, inventories of monastic churches testify to the existence of a very large number of copes, Canterbury, for example, owning no fewer than sixty copes in 1315. (Dyan Elliot, 'Dressing and Undressing the Clergy', in E. Jane Burns ed. Medieval Fabrications. Dress, Textiles, Cloth, and Other Cultural Imaginings. London, 2004, pp. 56-58; Pauline Johnstone. High Fashion in the Church. Leeds, 2002, p. 11.)
The cope had developed from the same Roman garment (paenula) as the chasuble, but by the eleventh century had a different form: it was semi-circular and open down the front; the front opening fastened just below the neck across the chest with a short strip of embroidered material or a morse (a metal clasp); orphrey bands ran the full length of the front opening and on the back, the cope retained a vestigial hood which was triangular (as in the case of this example) or shield-shaped. (Johnstone, op.cit.)
Red velvet cope with scenes of the Life of the Virgin, apostles and saints
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Rosika Parker. The Subversive Stitch. Embroidery and the making of the feminine. London: Women's Press, 1984, pl. 24 and 27.
Writing from a feminist perspective, Parker uses the cope to discuss the iconography of the Coronation of the Virgin which she claims was imagery that dominated Opus Anglicanum copes. Poor reproduction of black and white photo of whole cope and a detail.
Donald King ed. British Textile Design in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Tokyo: Gakken, 1980, Vol. I, col. plate 9 and 10 (details) and b&w pl. 2 (whole).
Donald King. Opus Anglicanum. English Medieval Embroidery. London: The Arts Council/Victoria and Albert Museum, 1963, p. 39, Cat. 77.
Offers a summary of the iconography which is expanded in greater detail in the accession register. Compares iconography, composition and style to Chichester-Constable chasuble in Metropolitan Museum of Art (cat. 78 in same exhibition), suggesting this cope and that chasuble may have belonged to the same set of vestments; orphrey compares with the Toledo cope; a cope almost exactly the same as this one was recorded in the collection of Jean, Duc de Berry in 1403. The other similar cope from the Museu Episcopal in Vich (Spain) was also exhibited (cat. 91).
A. G. I. Christie. English Medieval Embroidery. London, 1938, p. 169.
Cited by King as the source of information about the similarity between this cope and one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and one in the Museu Episcopal in Vich, Spain. He later exhibited all three in his 1963 exhibition. See above.
Lisa Monnas. Merchants, Princes and Painters. Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1500. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008, p. 40, fig. 32 (detail) and p. 43.
In her chapter on 'Painters and the Design of Woven Silks', the author notes that the embroidery on the cope reveals Cennini's method of designing for embroiderers on velvet. the design was drawn upon a layer of white silk which could be applied to the velvet and then embroidered. The lion's mask shown in the photograph shows that where the pearls have worn away, the white silk layer can be clearly seen.
Opus Anglicanum: English Medieval Embroidery (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1963-31/12/1963)
Attribution note: Ecclesiastical vestments of this quality were usually made to commission for particular churches or priests
Reason For Production: Commission
Silk thread; Silver thread; Silver-gilt thread; Silk velvet
Mary (Virgin Mary); Apostles; Saints; Bishops; Archbishops
Christianity; Ecclesiastical textiles; Embroidery