If you are able, spend a day in London before Sunday 5th February 2017 and visit the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A. It celebrates a time when English work (Opus Anglicanum) was sought after by popes, churches, wealthy families across Europe and as diplomatic gifts. Techniques which are still in use today, split stitch and couching, were employed by professional artists (skilled women and men) in workshops behind St. Paul’s Cathedral and in Cheapside from the late 12th to the mid 14th centuries. One misconception was that nuns were responsible for the work but recent knowledge has shown that towards the end of the period, workshops led by men were the norm.
Much of the needlework on display was on linen or silk cloth lined with linen. The silk was imported from China or Italy along with threads which had been especially dyed. Copes, chasubles or orphreys were stitched with scenes from the life of Christ, interspersed with flora and fauna, for use in ecclesiastical ceremonies.
Over half the exhibits in the exhibition are from the V&A collection whilst the remainder have been borrowed from various establishments across Europe and North America. Some of the items are for secular use – for example, the surcoat worn by Edward, the Black Prince, along with his shield, two seal bags, a pair of Episcopal shoes from the tomb of Archbishop Herbert Walter (1170-1200) in Westminster Abbey, and horse coverings. You can also see a large wooden chest which was used to store copes.
One of the most fascinating exhibits was a piece which showed both sides of the work. This had been executed on velvet so it was easy to see the relief. Also, a couple of copes still had seed pearls as part of the decoration, intact.
The images below show a detail from the Jesse Cope, 1310-25, from the V&A collection and a musical angel on horseback from the Steeple Aston Cope,1330-40, loaned by the church wardens at Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire.
I urge you all to go along and be stunned (and humbled) by textiles which are over seven hundred years old. I had a lovely day.
EAST is 21 years old this month and we had a small tea party to celebrate. Members were joined by friends, Braintree Museum and Warner Textile Archive staff. Some past EAST members were also able to join us.
As with all great celebrations we had a celebratory cake, our one kindly made by Anthea. We had live music too supplied by Larry Berkovitz.
Thanks to everyone who made the afternoon a success.
More photos to follow.
Returned last evening from an exhilarating if tiring Group weekend workshop with wonderful Diane Bates. Almost all of us were there including our mentor Anthea Godfrey, just Ellen and Janette missing the fun, although Janette managed a visit yesterday afternoon.
Anthea and Susan during the Saturday evening discussion.
|A 3d piece by Lorna|
|Work by Melinda|
|Another 3D piece this time Anthea’s|
|Libby, Anthea and Lorna and above some of Libby’s work.|
|Tricia and felicity hard at work and to the right a piece if Felicity’s work.|
We all had a great time and maybe some of the work will feature in future exhibitions. Also our thanks must go to the Zinc Arts Centre in Chipping Ongar (Essex) for the use of their excellent facilities andfriendly staff.
Don’t miss your chance to see Between the Lines at Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington, TW11 – it finishes this weekend (Sunday 10th July 2016).
Caroline Bell and I are very pleased with how the exhibition, From the Earth at Mardleybury Gallery [Datchworth SG3 6SG] has been going. The Exhibition is on for a few more days.. it closes at 4 on Saturday. The Gallery has been a very good setting for the Exhibition.