Two Recent Offerings from Watts and Co. and Sacra Domus Aurea

Returning to a bit of contemporary work in the area of vestment design, I thought I would share two recent offerings from a couple of our partners, Watts & Co. of London and Sacra Domsu Aurea in Italy.

The first is a recent offering from Watt's, a Pentecost cope that includes a red textile of Bodley's design (complete with Pentecostal flame imagery) and a blue hood with the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove:

The hood includes a nice, alternating blue and gold fringe in the medieval tradition. Here is a slightly better look at the cope in full:

This particular offering from Watts comes, of course, in the very medieval and gothic revival tradition for which they have become rightly known over the course of their long history. This particular cope presents beautiful Pentecostal imagery all around, from the symbol of the dove to its flaming tongues, leaving no ambiguity as to its symbolic and liturgical focus.

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Our next consideration is an extension of our previous consideration of a "renaissance" in vestment embroidery, coming from Sacra Domus Aurea.  Recently they produced an excellent new offering in the noble tradition of Italian embroidery, this time presenting a style which sees a more heavily embroidered orphrey design contrasted with a more lightly embroidered decorative body.  (A good reminder that embroidery in vestments has numerous stylistic incarnations).

A slightly different angle and light better shows some of the textures and colours:

Of course, in both of these examples from Watts and from SDA, they demonstrate that the idea that the beautiful and detailed vestments of yesteryear are somehow impossible today is little more than a contemporary myth. The simple fact is people need only engage our vestments designers and be willing to put out for the cost of producing these excellent works of liturgical art -- which are not as expensive as one might think.

It seems to me this latter point is the primary issue in our time -- for today we have adopted a mass-market, mentality where it comes to these things. If we are to reclaim excellence, elegance and originality in the liturgical arts, it will mean adopting an attitude and an expectation which sees this not simply from the perspective of "the bottom line," but also sees them in terms of an investment in beauty and a liturgical legacy to be passed on.

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