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Maniple

1670-1695 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This maniple was bought from a lace dealer in 1870, together with matching chasuble, stole and chalice veil, and the set had probably been mounted onto its red silk in the mid 19th century. It was recommended for acquisition by one of the Museum’s advisors with the comment “I do not think the Department is ever likely to meet with a more eligible example of the splendour with which such vestments were wrought in the richest days of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Lace was among the most highly prized and expensive of all textiles in the 17th century. From the main centres of production in Italy and Flanders it was traded widely across Europe, and the industry responded quickly to changes in fashionable dress, as different styles came in and out of favour. In the 1660s, Venetian needle lace became the most fashionable lace, dominating the upper end of the market for both men’s and women’s dress. The industry also expanded rapidly through the patronage of the Catholic Church. Italian lace-makers exaggerated the three-dimensional qualities of needle lace, and developed the technique of dividing up large patterns into manageable sections, enabling the production of large-scale ecclesiastical items like vestments and church furnishings that were conspicuously extravagant.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Needle lace worked in linen thread, and mounted on silk
Brief description
Raised needle lace maniple, 1670-95, Italian, mounted on red silk
Physical description
Maniple of raised needle lace mounted on slightly watered plain woven red silk. It is straight and narrow along its length and widens at the ends. The pattern is the typical scrolling floral pattern of Venetian raised needle lace. It is likely that the lace was mounted onto the red silk ground shortly before its purchase by the Museum in 1870, and the cross at each end, and in the centre, together with the edging and fringe, were probably 19th century additions attached at the same time. The narrow outer edging matches that on the other pieces of the set, and is also likely to be 19th century. Some raised details and picots may also have been added.
Dimensions
  • Length: 94cm
  • Ends width: 23cm
Object history
Purchased in 1870 for £25 from lace dealer Arthur Blackborne, 35 South Audley Street, London (described as probably 16th century Spanish). Blackborne was the leading London lace dealer at this time.

Typically for lace of this date which passed through the very active collectors' lace market in the mid/later 19th century, the chasuble and the other pieces in the set have been tidied up, by realigning and mending some of the motifs and linking bars, as well as being remounted on silk.
Historical context
Lace was among the most highly prized and expensive of all textiles in the 17th century. From the main centres of production in Italy and Flanders it was traded widely across Europe, and the industry responded quickly to changes in fashionable dress, as different styles came in and out of favour. In the 1660s, Venetian needle lace became the most fashionable lace, dominating the upper end of the market for both men’s and women’s dress. The industry also expanded rapidly through the patronage of the Catholic Church. Italian lace-makers exaggerated the three-dimensional qualities of needle lace, and developed the technique of dividing up large patterns into manageable sections, enabling the production of large-scale ecclesiastical items like vestments and church furnishings that were conspicuously extravagant.
Summary
This maniple was bought from a lace dealer in 1870, together with matching chasuble, stole and chalice veil, and the set had probably been mounted onto its red silk in the mid 19th century. It was recommended for acquisition by one of the Museum’s advisors with the comment “I do not think the Department is ever likely to meet with a more eligible example of the splendour with which such vestments were wrought in the richest days of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Lace was among the most highly prized and expensive of all textiles in the 17th century. From the main centres of production in Italy and Flanders it was traded widely across Europe, and the industry responded quickly to changes in fashionable dress, as different styles came in and out of favour. In the 1660s, Venetian needle lace became the most fashionable lace, dominating the upper end of the market for both men’s and women’s dress. The industry also expanded rapidly through the patronage of the Catholic Church. Italian lace-makers exaggerated the three-dimensional qualities of needle lace, and developed the technique of dividing up large patterns into manageable sections, enabling the production of large-scale ecclesiastical items like vestments and church furnishings that were conspicuously extravagant.
Associated objects
Bibliographic reference
Christa C. Mayer-Thurman, Raiment for the Lord's Service : A Thousand Years of Western Vestments, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1975, cat.80
Collection
Accession number
745-1870

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Record createdOctober 24, 2008
Record URL
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