Details from a Cope of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning

Our own Richard Hawker has recently taken up a position at Westminster Cathedral, London, as sacristan and his duties there afford him the opportunity to look through the holdings of the cathedral. One item he recently came across was a cope that belonged to Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster from 1865-1892.  Richard provided a detail of the arms of the cardinal that are found on the cope and it immediately caught my attention for reason of their particular quality. In fact, all of the embroidery shown here is of an exemplary nature and I would encourage any contemporary vestment makers here to study examples of this sort very closely. This is the model that should be replicated. 

The wonderful textures seen here really contribute to the beauty of this particular work. As well, the embroidery is clean and crisp. A slightly closer look:

Unfortunately where arms are concerned today, these very often come in the form of embroidered 'badges' (much like a boy scout badge for instance) that are then being affixed to a vestment. These tend to lack the necessary harmony and integration necessary with the vestment to make them come off well. While I wish to encourage this continued revival of course, I would comment that it would be far better if the investment of time and money were made and have these properly embroidered onto the chasuble. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but something of this sort is surely worth doing right.

Here is a closer look at the gold embroidery; you can see how the textures allow for a very nice play of light and shadow.

If you were wondering what the rest of the cope looks like, here it is:

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