Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and definitely a day off for me! I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter, though, and, in celebration, to share a special piece of ecclesiastical embroidery. This is a motif on a set of gold vestments. The motif is worked in some recognizable metal threads – and, given the age of the vestments (from the late 1700’s – early 1800’s) it is in good shape.
The vestment here belonged to St. John Marie Vianney and is on display in the museum dedicated to his honor in Ars, France. St. John Marie Vianney (the Curé of Ars) lived from 1786 – 1859, so the vestments belong to sometime during this period.
The central motif on the back of the chasuble is of the Agnus Dei, symbol of Christ risen from the dead. I love the way the Lamb was worked, in what looks like silver bright check purl (which is the same as the check purl used on my current goldwork project, only in silver). I like the way the motif fits perfectly within the quatrefoil, and I like the treatment of the quatrefoil, with the double outline and the silver spots within.
The whole vestment, made in the French ‘baroque’ style, is further embellished with elaborate goldwork made from fine gold threads satin stitched over thick card or carpet felt of some sort. (Well, today, we could use a very heavy felt – 2-3 mm – but back then, they likely used a card or lightweight wood block of some sort, cut in the shape of the design.)
The design that forms the cross on the back of the vestment is worked in a repeated motif like the one above. A gem that looks like a garnet is set at the base of each flower section.
The vestments are kept behind glass now, in the museum in Ars. They look relatively good for their age and former use, as I am sure they were used often, for solemn feastdays. Having been worn by St. John Marie Vianney, in the Catholic Church they would be considered a relic of the second class.
The goldwork is beautiful, and seen in a new state, it would have been stunning. The vestments, no doubt, must be rather heavy! Imagine the skill that went into making them!
I wish you and yours a very happy Easter! I’ll take the day off tomorrow from blogging to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the (finally) glorious spring weather here in Kansas!