Atypical Colour Combinations Seen in Historical Vestments

There is a kind of unofficial "canon" that has developed in the design of vestments. For example, very frequently one will see gold or silver orphreys paired with any and every liturgical colour. Black, green, red, white or violet with gold orphrey columns or broad galloons; so often are such combinations seen they almost seem, at first appearance, to be the result of some kind of rule. The reality is, of course, quite the opposite. There is no actual canon where such things are concerned; only more or less popular tastes. 

To demonstrate the point, here are a number of designs taken from chasubles dated to the 17th and 18th centuries which include atypical colour combinations. These combinations can either be the result of distinctive pairings of different fabrics or, in other instances, it can be the colour pairings in the brocade itself; in a few instances this can even been the colour of the galloons.

By way of a caveat, some of these pairings are far more successful than others in my estimation, but the main point today is to inform our intellects with this knowledge and, further, to whet our creative appetites for other possibilities beyond 'the typical.'


The next three examples show instances of where the damasks themselves come in atypical colour pairings.

Here, too ,an unusual design as seen in its use of black for the embroidery:

I mentioned earlier that sometimes the galloons themselves can be what is atypical. Here are two examples of just such galloons:

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