From the 12th to the 15th centuries, England enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its luxury embroideries, and were frequently referred to as ‘Opus Anglicanum’ (English work). Often featuring complex imagery, and ambitious in their scale and intricacy, they were sought after by kings, queens, popes and cardinals across Europe. This exhibition is the first opportunity in over half a century to see an outstanding range of surviving examples in one place. Paintings, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and stained glass will be shown alongside, to explore the world within which these exquisite works were created.
Luxury embroideries were made by professional craftsmen and women living in the City of London, some of whom we can still identify by name. London was a hub for commerce, and the embroiderers formed part of an international mercantile network. The rare survivals of this extraordinary period of English art are today scattered across Europe and North America. Some of the embroideries have not been seen in Britain since they were produced.
Book now: vam.ac.uk/opus
English Medieval Embroidery Unpicked, day course, The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre @V&A Museum, Saturday 12 November 2016
STUDY DAY: This study day explores the world of England’s Medieval luxury embroideries, known as Opus Anglicanum. We will examine their materials, techniques and design; the patrons and artists involved; and the extraordinary images depicted on them.
During the later Middle Ages, England enjoyed an international reputation for its luxury embroideries, produced for Europe’s greatest patrons including kings, queens, cardinals and popes. This study day will put embroideries in the exhibition Opus Anglicanum: Masters of Medieval Embroidery under the microscope, examining their materials, techniques and design; the patrons and artists involved; and exploring the extraordinary images depicted on them. Leading experts in the field will discuss these questions in what promises to be a fascinating afternoon.
With exhibition curators Glyn Davies and Sally Dormer.
14.00 – 16.30, Saturday 12 November 2016
£35 full, £30 concessions, £15 students
Opus Anglicanum: An Introduction to Silk & Gold Embroidery, Workshop, Art Studio @V&A Museum, Saturday 12 November, 10.30 – 16.30
WORKSHOP: Learn the secrets behind the beautiful embroidery techniques of Opus Anglicanum as seen in this exhibition. Sarah will guide you step by step through split stitch fillings, surface couching and underside couching with gold threads on an Opus Anglicanum inspired piece of your own, in this one day introduction to medieval embroidery. All materials included.
Saturday 12 November, 10.30 – 16.30
£92.00, £73.60 concessions
(Lead Image: The Steeple Aston Cope 1330-40 (detail). The Rector and Churchwardens of St Peter and St Paul, Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire. On long term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)