Textiles & Embroidery at All Saints' Parish Church, Leamington Spa
This is one of our historic copes (a cope is a sort of decorated cloak - look out for one at Christmas, weddings, and other special services).
The hood looks like a Victorian original. The Orphrey - the decorative band around the neck and down each side at the front - looks like Victorian embroidery re-fixed to a later green background (note the colour mismatch), which is probably the same age as the cream silk damask cope.
The conservation work will include re-attaching gold threads and then covering the embroidery with protective mesh to prevent further deterioration.
Details of project activities and events will be publicised on our website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and church notice sheet - keep your eyes peeled!
We're delighted to have been awarded £7600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting community project focused on our fabulous collection of historic textiles. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will include conservation work, exhibitions, workshops, and the creation of a spectacular new item.
Local people are invited to become involved in a number of ways. Community workshops will offer opportunities to both adults and children to explore the symbolism used in the embroidery, and to experiment making their own designs. A significant part of the collection will be exhibited in church during Heritage Weekend (8-10 September), and a display cabinet will be installed for ongoing use. Items will be photographed for new visitor interpretation boards.
Conservation work will be carried out on vulnerable items, and storage facilities improved. We will also form a team to design and make a new cope (a cloak-like robe worn at special services such as weddings). This will reduce wear on fragile old copes, celebrate and develop the talents of local people, and leave a lasting legacy which will be used for years to come.
The recent 'Opus Anglicanum' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum raised public interest in medieval church embroidery. Our collection isn't as old as that, but there are some stunning pieces which deserve to be more widely appreciated. Participants in our project will see this heritage in a new light, and some will be inspired to develop their creative gifts.
The Vicar, Fr Christopher Wilson, said 'We're delighted to have received support, thanks to National Lottery players. We can now safeguard and celebrate this treasure trove of wonderful items, created with such skill and care by past generations. I warmly invite members of our local community to come and take part.'
During the past year, Phase 1 of our Textiles project has seen a team of volunteers from NADFAS meeting each week to repair fragile and vulnerable textiles. Phase 2, the current project, will develop this using conservation-standard techniques to protect, store, and in the case of 'retired' items, mount for display some items. This will be complemented by imaginative and fun community events.