Opus Anglicanum

We managed to get to the tail end of the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A which shows off the great wealth of copes, chasubles, albs and orphreys which were embroidered in London by highly skilled, mostly male embroiderers, used in the elaborate Catholic liturgy of the middle ages and then preserved by the Catholic families like the Butler-Bowdens who ensured their survival until after emancipation.   I hadn’t realised, because I hadn’t seen (there hasn’t been an exhibition at the V&A since 1963), how sophisticated the imagery is, meticulous and imaginative, at least the equal of the painting in Italy at the time.


One thought on “Opus Anglicanum

  1. Opus Anglicanum embroidery is indeed extraordinary and, apart from some examples in New York, we have the best, in the V&A and, notably, in Durham (in St Cuthbert’s tomb). It is arguable as to whether it reaches the heights of Italian painting of the period but it is beautiful, and immensely skilled.

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