Saturday, 8 June 2013

Talking of Jubilees - Beryl Dean's Silver Jubilee Cope

Just this week we have been watching again the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II from the news archives in this the Diamond Jubilee Year of her coronation (not her accession which was last year.) I fell like a veteran now of the Queen's Jubilees, remembering many of them for their festivities and bursts of national creativity. For the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, Beryl Dean MBE (1911-2001), one of the foremost textile practitioners of the twentieth-century, created this cope for the Bishop of London. It was worked by students from the Stanhope Adult Education Institute and is a spectacular piece of modern textile history.
Beryl Dean committed some 7,500 hours to its preparation and many hundreds more for the assembly and the making-up. The cope depicts 73 London churches with St Paul's rising up behind them, entirely embroidered in metal thread. And as if she didn't have enough work on her hands - in that same year she also completed the Dean and Canon's cope for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. What is that saying? If you want something done - ask a busy woman!


  1. I have to admit that a lot of modern embroidery does nothing for me at all (I get irritated by random embroidered words and pictures made from lines of pisspoor stitching) but that has always been one of my all times favourite pieces, it easily stands alongside the great medeival copes

  2. Although I have yet to see this cope in 'real life' it is by fare one of my all time favourite pieces! It is so amazingly beautiful!