Opus Anglicanum: Victoria and Albert Style

“Explore a selection of the most outstanding examples of English Medieval embroidery.

Featuring surviving examples of exquisite craftsmanship, this exhibition will focus on the

artistic skill of the makers and the world in which they were created.”

If you are looking for a great excuse to plan a visit to the United Kingdom, I think I can help, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  This October there is a new exhibit opening featuring some stunning examples of Opus Angicanum.  For those not familiar with this term, Opus Angicanum, or English Work, refers to the beautiful style of Ecclesiastical Embroidery worked during Medieval times.

This style of embroidery was worked to a very high standard, and and was much sought after by Popes and others. It featured beautiful embroidery techniques such as underside couching, and  split stitching worked in a circular pattern to embroider faces. The above photo is the Bowden Butler Cope.   This cope has quite an interesting tale to tell of it’s existence, with some of it happening within the past 50 to 70 years or so.

Another popular Medieval Embroidery technique was that of working embroidery designs and applying them to a velvet ground as in the above example. In the late 1800’s Mary Barber created a lovely collection of many of these examples of Opus Angicanum.

Mary Barber Designs

The cost of the Opus Anglicanum Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum seems quite reasonable at £12.  The only problem is the airfare and hotel………..at least from this side of the ocean.

For those lucky enough to be traveling to or who are in the UK in October, I hope you have a chance to see this wonderful exhibit.

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.


Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Mary Barber Some Drawings of Ancient Embroidery, Opus Angicanum, Victoria and Albert Museum


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