Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Chasubles of the 16th century

The Saint Bede Studio has commenced production of a new range of chasubles in the Italianate form of the 16th century. This style of chasuble is most commonly seen in depictions of Saint Philip Neri. After months of research and experimentation, the first of these chasubles has been produced (see attached picture). This new line of chasubles is not intended to be an exact re-creation of the 16th century Italianate chasuble, but a modern interpretation based on its dimensions and form. The chasuble pictured is made from an ivory-coloured brocade, lined in cotton and ornamented with silk damask and narrow braid in gold and burgundy.

What distinguishes the form of this chasuble? It is wider than the so-called "Roman" chasubles of the latter Baroque in that it reaches almost to the elbows. It is also much longer at the front and the back and its stole reaches below the lower edge of the chasuble. Its decoration, however, is very similar to the "Roman" chasuble: a form of ornament which stretches back many centuries.

Unlike the "Roman" chasuble, this 16th century form sits very comfortably on the wearer and does not move around, fall off the shoulders etc.

The Saint Bede Studio is offering this chasuble especially for use in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and as a "bridge" between the two opposing camps of vestment ideology: those who will only wear the more ample Gothic chasuble and those who regard the "Roman" chasuble as the authentic expression of Catholic Tradition. The 16th century chasuble still has the length of the ancient chasuble, even though its width has been substantially reduced.