Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Vestment Commissions with the Studio

A note to readers who may be considering commissioning vestments with the Saint Bede Studio or who have made recent enquiries :

Commissions for the LAST QUARTER of 2015 will close on 15th March. Our schedule of work has filled quickly, so please contact us now to avoid disappointment.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Colours of Lent

Often it is asserted by liturgical commentators and other internet experts, that there are "correct" colours for the vestments used during Lent and Advent. Curious as to the history of these colours in Liturgical use, some years ago we researched and posted an article ( posted  here and here ), about the use of penitential colours for the Seasons of Advent and Lent. If you have wondered what colour the Church recommends for these Seasons, you might find the article illuminating.  

We include here an historic work of art to illustrate the practice of our forebears. This work (adjacent) was painted by an artist known as The Master of Osservanza in the year 1440 and depicts a Low Mass being offered at a side chapel in the Siena Cathedral (Italy).

Some observations. The chasuble being worn by the celebrant is violet: in other words, much the same colour as the flower "violets". It is a blue-ish colour, not purple and it is not too dark either. The chasuble is the full conical shape and is ornamented with a simple column-orphrey of dark fabric (possibly even black). Most likely, the front of the chasuble would have been decorated with the familiar "tau". The celebrant is wearing decorative apparels on his alb and amice, which match the colour of the chasuble's ornament. That is a very typical practice of the Mediaeval period. Note, too, the very full folds of the alb.

We see, also, that the boy assisting the celebrant is wearing a full-length surplice, according to the style typically found in Renaissance Italy. Those who claim that such surplices are "Church of England" garment should note this well.

Lastly, the altar itself. It is clothed in a dark antependium or altar frontal, ornamented with scarlet red. On the altar is a Crucifix and a single candle. Although it may seem peculiar that there is but a single candle instead of a pair, it might be remarked that not until the 16th century was it a usual practice to have a pair of candlesticks on an altar.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Mediaeval Pontificals : 1



When looking at mediaeval depictions of bishops or popes vested for Mass, we find certain things in common with the Pontifical vestments of a 21st century Catholic bishop, but some significant differences. The most striking difference is the usual lack of an Episcopal dalmatic amongst the vestments of a modern bishop. Even when a dalmatic is worn, it is usually an affair so non-descript as to be hardly noticeable.

Before Pope Paul VI entered Saint Peter's Basilica to celebrate Mass solemnly in 1965, bishops or popes had - since the earliest centuries of the Church (certainly since the Constantinian period) - worn a dalmatic underneath the chasuble. *   Paul VI was the first to break this tradition, when he appeared in a flowing chasuble, with no dalmatic beneath. As a matter of fact, until the end of his Pontificate in 1978, he left aside the use of the dalmatic. His successors, John Paul I, John Paul II and Francis all likewise have left aside the dalmatic. Benedict XVI was a happy exception to this, adopting quite early on in his Pontificate the use of the dalmatic beneath the chasuble on all solemn occasions.

The pity of this is that the dalmatic worn with the chasuble symbolised the fullness of Holy Orders enjoyed by a bishop. A bishop is incompletely vested if he lacks the dalmatic. The claim that it is too burdensome to wear a dalmatic beneath the chasuble is, to say the least, pitiful.

In this post, we look at a painting which once formed part of altarpiece from Faenza in Italy of the early 15th century, which depicts Saint Peter Damian. The artist Peruccino - who was known as the Master of Saint Peter Damian - prepared this likeness from the effigy on the sarcophagus of the saint.

The saint is depicted wearing a style of vestments commonly known in 14th and 15th century Italy; namely : a flowing linen albe which is unadorned with either apparels or embroidery; a red semi-conical chasuble whose Tau ornament is formed from embroidered cameos of the saints and upon his head a precious mitre of white silk ornamented and embroidered with goldwork and precious stones.

We also see the Episcopal dalmatic (the tunic can also just be seen). It is immediately noticeable how elaborate the dalmatic is : not a plain affair of simple silk. It is made from a rich damask of deep green ornamented with gold embroidery and outlined with gold braid. One could be forgiven for observing that the dalmatic has a richer appearance than the chasuble itself. But certainly the dalmatic enriches the appearance of the wearer and is not intended to be invisible.

Imagine how dignified a modern bishop would look if he were to wear a dalmatic of such nobility beneath his chasuble? One can but hope.

* In addition, a bishop would also wear a tunic, being the vestment of the subdeacon, but this requirement for the celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite lapsed when the subdiaconate was abolished as a Major Order in 1973. 

Monday, 2 February 2015

Where Heaven and Earth Meet

Montmatre
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Montmatre.
In December, the Saint Bede Studio commenced a subsidiary Blog to present another facet of our work and ongoing study. The new blog is titled Where Heaven and Earth Meet.


The purpose of this blog is to provide materials helpful to those re-ordering our Churches or building new ones. The focus will be on illustration by means of available photographs.

Observations on ecclesiastical architecture (particularly as it pertains to the Sacred Liturgy and its aesthetics) will be presented at the new blog. Restoration and re-ordering work of our churches will also be discussed, in addition to newly-built churches.

To date, there have been twenty posts put up on the Blog. These may be of particular interest to readers:


Pugin's Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Saint Giles' Church, Cheadle UK :

Friday, 23 January 2015

For the Season "Per Annum" 2015

The vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph were prepared for a newly-ordained priest in the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany.

This chasuble, in the Saint Bede Studio's Saint Austin design, is made from an English ecclesiastical brocade and is lined in taffeta. The vestments are ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design in colours of green and gold upon red. The braid is directly based on a design by AWN Pugin.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Borromeon Vestments



Before the close of the year, the Saint Bede Studio completed a set of vestments made in the Borromeon form for a newly-ordained priest in the USA. The chasuble (shewn adjacent) was made from a beautiful silk damask in crimson red and was ornamented with a damask in the colours of burgundy, red and gold, outlined with rich galloon, in the Roman style. The vestments were lined in bronze-coloured taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Vestments in the "Saint Philip Neri" style


Recently, the Saint Bede Studio completed the vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph for a religious house. These vestments are in the Saint Philip Neri style.

A simple and lightweight ivory brocade was used, ornamented with braid in red and gold, forming the Roman TAU ornament on the front of the chasuble and a simple column on the back. The vestments were lined in gold taffeta.



Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com