Ancient and Contemporary: The Douai Abbey Rose Chasuble

One of our readers sends in the following information and photos of a very interesting chasuble that combines the 'ancient' and the 'contemporary':
"Today as celebrant at Douai Abbey's conventual Mass for Laetare Sunday, enhanced in dignity by the singing of the choir of St Anselm College, New Hampshire, I had the privilege of wearing our rose chasuble. What distinguishes it is its stunning embroidered ornament.

"The embroidery dates from between 1430 and 1440, though one bottom panel was made about 30 years later, and offers an example of the high standards of English embroidery at that time, when English embroiderers were arguably the best in the world. It is actually now a series of panels put back together after the orphreys were cut up to fit a Roman-cut vestment. They came to us from Monmouthshire where they had turned up after the Reformation.

"In 1963 the Warham Guild of London restored the embroidery to its former integrity and applied it to a dusky rose damask to make a beautiful semi-gothic chasuble of a fuller cut than usual today (note that the lighting has left the chasuble looking a little redder than it is in reality. The colouring is particularly fine and of note is the absence of red save for the crucifixion scene. Given the extent of the embroidery it is remarkably light to wear.

"The chasuble is now kept in the Douai Abbey archives, benefitting from acid-free protective coverings and a dry, temperate and stable atmosphere."











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