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Angels in Embroidery

December 21, 2016

Seeing Angels in a New Light

I have been studying Opus Anglicanum for a number of years. That is English embroidery worked approximately between the 13th and 16th C.  I am intrigued with gold and silver threads in surface and underside couching and the use of exquisitely fine split stitch in silk threads.  Recently I have become enamored with embroidered angels and how stitches and materials portray them.  Although I have been looking at them for years, I have begun to see them with new eyes. Magnification has made these relics more understandable than in the past.

Art Angels Appeared Early

Art Angels have been depicted since early Christian art. You can find them in illuminated manuscripts, paintings, icons and sculptures.  They acted as warrior angels, defending and protective angels as well as angels with messages and hope. There seems to be an involvement or interaction of angels with those individuals that share the same space in artwork. What compelling images.

Imaginative Artists Design Angels

Angels feature strongly in Opus Anglicanum embroidery.  Artists used vivid imaginations. The original inspirational design source of the angel wings were obviously bird feathers. Sometimes peacock feathers were featured. They were drawn and painted, with much embellishment.  Medieval artists often showed multicolored feathers and sometimes gold in color. An ethereal effect was often the result.  Angels were dressed in a style of the time which would account for long flowing robes, as seen in the Middle Ages.

Here are the names and links of 2 previous blogs I have written about English Embroidery: Hunting for Medieval Embroidery

The Magnificent British Library

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2016 9:02 pm

    Thanks for a wonderful post. It’s amazing how detailed this type of embroidery is. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. December 23, 2016 1:09 am

    Penny Thanks for the archangel Michael. One you start looking, it is never ending.

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