Tuesday 19 February 2013

A Magnificent European Project - Embroidered Banners and Oriflammes

In the year 2009-2010 Europe celebrated the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the famous abbey at Cluny – often called The Lighthouse of medieval Europe – by 12 monks led by their abbot, Bernon, coming from abbeys of Baume-les-Messieurs and Gigny in the Jura region of France. Springing from the same Jura region is the most amazing collective adventure of 400 embroiderers and seamstresses coming not just from France but also Germany and Switzerland.
During 8 months they embroidered 1066 squares with scenes set like medieval stained glass in a rose-window which were then pieced together to create 26 magnificent banners and 2 oriflammes. These are true works of art and document the history of Cluny and its role in the culture of the Middle Ages as the order spread through France and Switzerland to Scotland, Italy, Germany and Spain
The banners have toured France and Switzerland and have already been seen by more than 100,000 people. The tour is a continuing event. Out of this work was born a spectacular book which links historical texts from Cluny to counted thread embroideries. 
Titled Bannières Brodées, this book is a mine of over 400 counted-thread embroidery patterns created for the project.
Click on the vase of lilies below for a larger picture. Also pictured, still in embroidery, are the 137 Cluniac sites: abbeys and priories in France, Scotland, England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland together with historical narratives.  There are 256 full-colour pages in all measuring approximately 18cm x 30cm and the price is €32.

I was delighted to see included the local priory of St Pancras at Lewes. We are very grateful to Marie-Jeanne Roulière-Lambert from Lons-le-Saunier for telling us about this wonderful and inspiring project. To order your book click here. To visit Marie-Jeanne's blog click here.


  1. Is there an American distributor for this book? Thank you!

  2. Not to my knowledge. But you can order direct.