Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery – a Vulpes Libris Random.

Vulpes Libris

a17xxqwrrglIf you are in range of London between now and next February, I encourage, indeed urge you to visit the V&A and see the current exhibition Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery. It is breathtakingly beautiful and revelatory. The articles on display are miraculous survivals from the Middle Ages – the most astonishing ones are from the 13th and 14th centuries. By reason of their fragility, they are rarely on show – exhibitions of this work seem to be running at 50 year intervals.

It was news to me that London in the Middle Ages was the hub of fine needlecraft, with English work (the meaning of ‘opus anglicanum’) sought after across Europe, and by the richest and most powerful secular and ecclesiastical patrons. Embroidered textiles for secular purposes are exceedingly rare, because they were well-used and worn, and often cut down and recycled for other purposes until completely…

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