Three Other Modern Vestments from Holland

For the past while I have been hanging on to some images of vestments which come from Northern Europe in the mid-20th century, coming out of the aspirations of the Liturgical Movement. As you will know, one of the revivals of that particular time was related to the earlier, fuller shapes of chasuble and with that came other ideas to push the boundaries of vestment design as well. The end result could be both medieval in feel but also distinctly contemporary. To my mind, while I have no doubt these efforts were going on in many places, it seems as though northern Europe, particularly Holland and Belgium, was a particular centre of this sort of exploration.

There are aspects to some of these works that I am less keen on personally, mainly in the way they sometimes too loosely treat the orphrey pattern, but what I can say is that I appreciate their desire to tie back into the deeper past of the Church and I also appreciate their concern for authenticity in liturgical craftsmanship as seen in the embroidery work undertaken here.

With that in mind, let's take a look at them each in turn.  (Thanks go out to Marike van Roon's Flickr page, Paramentica, where all these images come from. You may want to also check out her Facebook group by the same name.)

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This first set was executed by the studio of Lijda and Bow Claessen in the mid 20th century.  I find the cope and its hood of particular interest. The embroidery work on this looks particularly fine and I believe the proportions are just right for that hood -- which shows Christ and the Virgin.  The chasuble utilizes further embroidery, also excellent, and the figural work along with some other elements of the embroideries seem intended to echo or suggest the orphrey pattern.  Admittedly I am not sold on this particular aspect, but what I am sold on are the embroidery work.

The textile itself is a fairly simple sort  and overall it seems to me this would work particularly well  in a monastic context.

Lijda Claessen and Bos-Claessen, Hilversum, ca. 1950-1955 (Source)
Lijda Claessen and Bos-Claessen, Hilversum, ca. 1950-1955 (Source)

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Our next design comes from Jacques de Wit and is a design illustration for a vestment. It shows a proposal for a gold chasuble set with an image of Christ holding up his hand in blessing and a Eucharistic chalice in the other. What I particularly like here is that a clearly delineated orphrey has been established and the other designs have been tied around that. This, I think, is always to be preferred over merely 'suggestive' orphreys (as in our first example) for they help not only to tie back to the tradition, they likewise give the vestment a point of focus or order I think.

The proposed colours on this particular orphrey are also very well done and very appealing, harmonizing with the golden hues of the main chasuble textile. The end result would be a piece that I believe would very well suited to the sacred liturgy in any context.  This is classic Other Modern.

Design Illustration by Jacques de Wit for J.L. Sträter, Hilversum. ca. 1930-1940 (Source)

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