Friday, 9 December 2011

The Vestments of Adrian Fortescue, DD - Part V

The only surviving set of red hue is the fullest and, perhaps, the finest of the extant vestments. The set is complete. The chasuble is of a noticeably fuller cut than the others and its back must have fallen almost to the feet of Dr. Fortesuce. Whilst describing it as 'red' I am not convinced that it actually was used for the feasts of Apostles and Martyrs or for Pentecost. The ground fabric is shot silk of crimson and violet that gives a deep crimson-plum colour. The orfreys are the finest of the extant vestments and consist of a pattern of rose stems edged in silver thread, complete with silver thorns. The stems are filled with embroidered dark purple thread and decorated with roses that are detailed in silver and embroidered with purple, violet and red silk.

Dr. Fortescue delivered a paper on vestments to the Westminster Cathedral Altar Society in February 1912. This paper is available on line The Vestments of the Roman Rite. In that published paper there are some (poor quality) images and Fig. 1 (p.10) shows some of Dr. Fortescue's stoles. From the extant vestments it is clear that at least three sets have ended up in land-fill or have been lost. Dr. Fortescue describes a scarlet-red set so it is clear at least one red set existed and may suggest the vestment featured in this post was not used as 'red'. Whether it was actually a rose vestment (the relative lack of use might explain its degree of preservation) or a Passiontide vestment is a question I would leave to experts in vestiture.


Anonymous said...

A magnificent chasuble!

Davis said...

These are all fascinating.

Davis said...

It's a curious blend of ornament seemingly both Passiontide and Rose together. Why one would combine these is odd.