English Medieval Embroidery

Opus Anglicanum

Edited by Clare Browne, Glyn Davies and M. A. Michael; With a contribution by Michaela Zoschg

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An introduction to the design, production and use of luxury embroideries in medieval England (c. 1200–1530)

In medieval Europe, embroidered textiles were indispensable symbols of wealth and power. Owing to their quality, complexity and magnificence, English embroideries enjoyed international demand and can be traced in Continental sources as opus anglicanum (English work). Essays by leading experts explore the embroideries’ artistic and social context, while catalogue entries examine individual masterpieces. Medieval embroiderers lived in a tightly knit community in London, and many were women who can be identified by name. Comparisons between their work and contemporary painting challenge modern assumptions about the hierarchy of artistic media. Contributors consider an outstanding range of examples, highlighting their craftsmanship and exploring the world in which they were created.

Clare Browne is an independent scholar, formerly curator of textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Glyn Davies is head of curatorial at the Museum of London, previously curator of medieval art at the Victoria and Albert Museum. M. A. Michael is professorial fellow in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. Michaela Zoschg is curator of medieval art at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

"Superb, razor-sharp reproductions which give a proper sense of the beauty and power of the medium… its intellectual value is undoubted."—Paul Binski, Art Newspaper

"You do not need to know a chasuble from a cope to be dazzled by the artistry on display here, photographed in extreme close-ups or unfurled across double-page spreads."—Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Ornament

"The most substantial work to appear on the subject of opus anglicanum since the monumental tome of 1938 by A. G. I. Christie, English Medieval Embroidery. . . . An indispensible and up-to-date resource both for specialists and for all those curious about the aesthetic beauty and liturgical function of textiles in the Middle Ages."—Warren T. Woodfin, Marginalia Review of Books

“A rich introduction to an extraordinarily complex artistic practice. . . . The production values of [this] catalogue are exemplary.”—Choice
ISBN: 9780300259988
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum
324 pages, 9 x 11
160 color + 100 b/w illus.