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Cope

ca. 1300 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Fragments of a cope, pieced together. The orphreys, hood and side fronts are missing. Red (faded) silk in twill weave, embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with details in laid and couched work. The shape of the pieces suggests that the cope was cut up into an altar frontal or dossal and chasuble.

Iconography. The embroidery depicts the Tree of Jesse; a vine, springing from the body of Jesse, and sheltering prophets and ancestors of Christ. The name of each figure is embroidered in lettering, thus allowing identification of Jesse (IESSE), David (DAVIT), Solomon (SALOMON), The Virgin and Child (originally directly below the hood), Abraham (ABRAHAL PPHE), Abia (ABIAS REX), Roboam (ROBOAS REX), Zorobabel (ZOROBABEL), Eliakim (ELIAKIM PPHE), Jacob (IACOB PPHE), Moses (MOYZES PPHE), Jeremiah (JEREMIAS PPHE), A prophet (... PPHE), Pharez (PHARES PPHE), Isaiah (ISAYE PPHE), Daniel (DANIEL... )
read Introducing Opus Anglicanum This exhibition presented a rare opportunity to see outstanding survivals of English medieval embroidery gathered from across Europe and exhibited together for the first time in over half a century.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with laid and couched work, on silk twill reinforced with linen
Brief Description
Embroidered fragments from a cope with The Tree of Jesse, English, ca. 1300
Physical Description
Fragments of a cope, pieced together. The orphreys, hood and side fronts are missing. Red (faded) silk in twill weave, embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread and coloured silks in underside couching and split stitch, with details in laid and couched work. The shape of the pieces suggests that the cope was cut up into an altar frontal or dossal and chasuble.



Iconography. The embroidery depicts the Tree of Jesse; a vine, springing from the body of Jesse, and sheltering prophets and ancestors of Christ. The name of each figure is embroidered in lettering, thus allowing identification of Jesse (IESSE), David (DAVIT), Solomon (SALOMON), The Virgin and Child (originally directly below the hood), Abraham (ABRAHAL PPHE), Abia (ABIAS REX), Roboam (ROBOAS REX), Zorobabel (ZOROBABEL), Eliakim (ELIAKIM PPHE), Jacob (IACOB PPHE), Moses (MOYZES PPHE), Jeremiah (JEREMIAS PPHE), A prophet (... PPHE), Pharez (PHARES PPHE), Isaiah (ISAYE PPHE), Daniel (DANIEL... )
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 29cm
  • Maximum width: 22.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'IESSE'
  • 'DAVIT'
  • 'SALOMON'
  • 'ABRAHAL PPHE'
  • 'ABIAS REX'
  • 'ROBOAS REX'
  • 'ZOROBABEL'
  • 'ELIAKIM PPHE'
  • 'IACOB PPHE'
  • 'MOYZES PPHE'
  • 'JEREMIAS PPHE'
  • 'PHARES PPHE'
  • 'ISAYE PPHE'
  • 'DANIEL [...]'
Object history
The cope was in the Roman Catholic chapel at Brockhampton, near Havant, Hampshire, from 1718 until 1857-58; then given to Mr Dunlop of Southampton, who in turn sold it to Rev. Father H. Van Doorne, Brixton Hill.



Historical significance: A photograph of this cope has been painted in watercolour by Miss B. Hunter at a cost of £25 16 s (E.443-1895)
Historical context
According to Donald King, copes of red samite decorated with the Tree of Jesse are frequently mentioned in the reigns of Henry III and Edward I.. There was one at St Paul's Cathedral in 1245; Bishop Middleton of Norwich (1278-88) gave one to Canterbury, and Bishop Bitton (1292-1307) gave one to Exeter. Stylistically, this example is related to the Vatican cope in the Museo Sacro of the Vatican Library, Rome, the copes of Saint Bertrand de Comminges, and the John of Thanet panel (V&A T.337-1921).
Subjects depicted
Associated Object
E.443-1895 (Reproduction)
Bibliographic References
  • King, Donald. Opus anglicanum. The Arts Council, 1963, cat. 35, pp. 21-2.
  • Gospel Stories in English Embroidery (London: HMSO / Victoria and Albert Museum, 1963) fig. 23
  • Browne, Clare; Davies, Glyn; Michael, M.A., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum,exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2016), pp. 171-174
  • Evelin Wetter, Mittelalterliche Textilien III: Stickerei bis um 1500 und figürlich gewebte Borten, Abegg-Stiftung, Riggisberg, 2012, p. 71
Collection
Accession Number
175-1889

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record createdFebruary 22, 2006
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