Hand & Lock at the V&A

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From the 12th to the 15th centuries, England enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its luxury embroideries, and were frequently referred to as ‘Opus Anglicanum’ (English work). Often featuring complex imagery, and ambitious in their scale and intricacy, they were sought after by kings, queens, popes and cardinals across Europe. This exhibition is the first opportunity in over half a century to see an outstanding range of surviving examples in one place.

The Thornton Chasuble, 1510 – 1533. Museum no. 697-1902. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Thornton Chasuble, 1510 – 1533. Museum no. 697-1902. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Paintings, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and stained glass will be shown alongside, to explore the world within which these exquisite works were created. Luxury embroideries were made by professional craftsmen living in the City of London, some of whom we can still identify by name. London was a hub for commerce, and the embroiderers formed part of an international mercantile network.

The rare survivals of this extraordinary period of English art are today scattered across Europe and north America. Some of the embroideries have not been seen in Britain since they were produced.

The Steeple Aston Cope (detail), 1330 – 1340, England. Loan: Steeple Aston.2. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Steeple Aston Cope (detail), 1330 – 1340, England. Loan: Steeple Aston.2. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Hand & Lock are delighted to host a series of exciting talks to accompany the Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of Medieval English Embroidery exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Join us over the course of three evenings for exclusive talks covering the history, the materials and the artistic impact of Opus Anglicanum. Discover the inside story of the craftsmanship on display in the ground-breaking exhibition and gain insight into the significance of the precious pieces on display.

The Tree of Jesse Cope, 1295 – 1315, England. Museum no. 175-1889. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Tree of Jesse Cope, 1295 – 1315, England. Museum no. 175-1889. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Speakers include Lecturer and Opus Anglicanum expert Dr Christine Linnell, Chief Executive of the Royal School of Needlework Dr Susan Kay Williams, Educator and former Principal of the RSN Liz Elvin, Artistic Director of the Embroiderers Guild Anthea Godfrey and Renowned Textile Artist Diana Springall.

For information on all the Hand & Lock Talks and Workshops, visit our website.

Mr X

Mr X

Director at Mr X Stitch
The Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery.
Mr X

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