I never expected to be writing about embroidery; it’s amazing what Sunday Stamps can get you into.
Christmas 1976 saw the issue of a set of stamps commemorating English embroidery or Opus Anglicanum as it was called. Much sort after by the Church and the State the Vatican inventory of 1295 lists more Opus Anglicanum than any others.
Only a fraction of Opus Anglicanum has survived. Despoiled for gain, the gold was melted down and seed pearls and gems carried off. The Reformation accounted for much destruction.
|Mediaeval Embroidery - Opus Anglicanum|
The 6.1/2p stamp shows the Virgin and Child, from the Clare Chasuble 1272-1294. The section shown is from the centre of the chasuble; the ground is in blue satin worked with gold and silver thread and coloured silks.
The 8.1/2p stamp depicts an Angel holding a Crown 1340-1370 taken from a pair of panels found in a Hampshire chapel. The embroidery is in bronze green velvet worked in gold and silver and coloured threads.
The Angel appears to the Shepherds (1320-1340) which is on the 11p stamp comes from part of the decoration of a vestment known as an alb. The details give glimpses of life of the times – the shepherd playing his pipes, the howling dog, the master, in cloak and gloves staring up as he listens to the angel whose message is written in the sky.
One of the finest surviving examples of Opus Anglicanum in England is the Butler-Bowden Cope (1330-1350) which includes The Three Kings presenting Gifts shown on the 13p stamp. The cope is worked on rich crimson velvet with gold and pearl arcading.
The stamps were issued on 24th November 1976.
There are more stamps to see at Viridian's Sunday Stamps 20.