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.
Click here to download a copy.