TillbakaThe Drama of Life


Chasuble composed of various parts, ranging from late-medieval to late-16th century.

This chasuble, made of green silk velvet, both cut and uncut, is probably late-16th century Italian. The patterning is quite large, with a repeat some 95 cm in height. The velvet pile is cut in the dark sections, uncut in the light ones. It is edged with a patterned red silk ribbon with a fringe. The chasuble is lined with unbleached parchem, a pile fabric of linen/cotton.

The clypeus has a cruciform mounting with relief-embroidered appliqué figures. The actual mounting in relief embroidery on a linen ground. In the centre of the cross, Christ Crucified with loincloth and crown of thorns, above the cross an inscription slip with simplified Chi-Ro characters. Above Christ, God the Father with a cross halo and orb, floating on a strip of cloud. On Christ’s left side, St Peter with key and sword, and to his right St Paul with sword. Beneath Christ Crucified we see the Virgin and St John the Divine, and at the very bottom, St Lawrence with his gridiron.

The background to the figures, the cross and the clothing worn by the figures are gilt-membrane couch work. The embroidery is now thoroughly darkened. The gilt membrane is embroidered in plain couch work, and the silk-thread stitching forms a diagonally plaited pattern. The cross with Christ Crucified has a background of thin black silk taffeta with widely spaced strips of gilt membrane sewn down in couch work. The halos have a background of thin silk, the latter very fragmentary. The faces and hands of Christ and the figures are embroidered with silk thread on linen; most of the thread has worn away.

The other figures are in gilt-membrane relief. All the heads, except for Mary’s, are shown in heavy relief, almost freestanding, with clearly marked features (the head of St Lawrence is missing) and with hair and beards in silk wire embroidery.