Friday, 11 December 2009

Advent Competition

A complimentary copy of Ordo Recitandi MMX (or of MMXI if the winner has already purchased a copy of next year's Ordo) to the first person to identify from the photograph above (a) what is this frontal and when would it be used and, (b) who designed it for his own church?

UPDATE: Congratulations to Mr. Scott Neukam for answering correctly. I will post tomorrow a photograph of more of this stunning antependium and detail of it. It is actually quite long and not very deep, suggesting that Adrian Fortescue was not particularly tall (and the high altar of St. Hugh was rather long). It is truly a beautiful item of vesture and it was a pleasure and privilege to handle it this afternoon. The extant vestments designed by Dr. Fortescue are stunningly beautiful in both the intrinsic simplicity of their design and beauty. Alas, no blue remains but I hope it was originally there!


Novian said...

a) It is a Lenten array for use during Lent.
b) Dr. Adrian Fortescue, obviously - the Christogram and checkered trim give it away - though I have difficulty imagining it in use.

Rubricarius said...

Dear Scott,


Wow, that was a quick response!

Correct on both accounts. The photograph is of the central portion of the Lenten Array frontal designed by Adrian Fortescue for his church of St. Hugh, Letchworth. One suggests 'The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described but Tweaked a Little Here'. There is a photograph on the web of the frontal in situ somewhat erroneously described as 'a white frontal'.

Dr. Fortescue designed a unique set of vestments some of which survive and were rescued a few years ago from a skip.

Please email me you address and indicate whether you would like a copy of MMX or I record your details for MMXI.

Novian said...

An e-mail has been sent. Thank you.

Just dumb luck on the timing, as I was checking my favorite blogs after getting home from work.

Besides being not strictly rubrical (and I've read in multiple places where he wrote that following church law is paramount), I found it odd that Fortescue would adapt a Sarum custom, when he is rather dismissive of the medieval uses in The Mass.

Do tell about the "unique set of vestments".

Novian said...


Did you ever see this post on the NLM?

This frontal is shown in the first and fourth pictures - but there are also flowers on the altar. I wonder now whether this frontal was actually used during Lent.

It's also shown in Fortescue's paper on The Vestments of the Roman Rite (, where it's described as white.

So sorry for the multiple deleted posts. I couldn't get these links to work correctly.

Rubricarius said...


Thanks for the links. I had seen both the NLM post and the article about vestments.

The frontal is definitely linen with red embroidery. In the NLM picture a white silk one also appears. Array was often called Lenten White to describing it as "white" is not incorrect.

I wonder whether he kept the frontal for minor feasts and the (very few) ferial days there would have been in Lent. A friend of mind, sadly departed this life, Fr. Ronald de Poe Silk used to generally have 'seasonal' frontals and drapes from his riddles but wear the appropriate colour vestments for Mass.

We had some rather 'eclectic' clergy in England. There was a very liturgical priest, Fr. Clement Lloyd Russell who used to have sung first and second Vespers for all D2Cl feasts and above along with Lauds and sung Mattins on D1Cl. CLR built an exquisite church in West London (smashed up and wreckovated now) complete with Blessed Sacrament chapel and hanging pyx. CLR would never have more than two candesticks on his high altar (a la Sarum) but put out standard candles as required. Succesive Vicar-Generals tried to get him to conform to the rubrics of the Roman rite to which CLR said he would put six candlesticks on his high altar if every church in the archdiocese would remove two or four as the same rubrics required.

CLR was put under house arrest during the Second World War for his support of the Third Reich and was, sadly, run over and killed by a motorcylist in the early 1960s.