Sunday, 16 June 2013

Non Angli Sed Angeli * Opus Anglicanum Cope, Bologna

When I was in the second form of junior school. I remember being told the story about Pope Gregory I referring to the English as not Angles but angels. From that moment on, I took a certain comfort from the fact that, though sometimes crusty of nose, scabby of knee and wild and wayward of hair, I was in some important person's regard, somehow, something of an angel...somewhere inside, at least.

And I was reminded of this just a few weeks ago while watching the Antiques Roadshow when I heard one of the presenters refer to a type of early English embroidery as Opus Angelicanum. Forgiveness for this slip is everlasting. Who would not confuse this exquisite embroidery with the work of angels?

In Bologna, recently, in the Museo Civico Medievale, I stood transfixed and mesmerised by the astonishing work in the Bologna Cope (Piviale) which illumines the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The cope was worked in England during the first half of the 14th century. Here you can see a detail of the journey of the Magi.
And here is the entire cope - with apologies as it is very difficult to photograph without internal reflections from the glass case.  If you do visit Bologna, do go along and see it, it is worth the pilgrimage. There is a very interesting PhD thesis by Christine Linnell about this and three other Opus Anglicanum copes. Click here to download a copy.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos.This beautiful cope is on exhibition at the V+A in London unti Feb 5, 2017. Did you know the angel watching over the Magi is holding clappers, that would make the sound of horses' hooves?