Saturday, 16 July 2011

Re-enchantment of a Roman chasuble

An old Roman chasuble (right)  remade
Known derisively as the "fiddleback" or inaccurately as the "Roman".  That well-known and abbreviated form of chasuble never makes an appearance on this Blog.  Some of these "Roman" chasubles are of great beauty, made of exquisite damasks and often wonderfully embroidered.  On the other hand, there are many which were crunched-out of the vestment-making businesses and are of no particular merit.  The "Roman" chasuble really looks well only on men of smaller build, where its abbreviated length and width is not so noticeable.

In this post, we will look at such a chasuble, which had seen better days.  Made in Italy in the 1940's from a tastefully embroidered red silk, its qualities were marred by an ugly gold lurex braid.  Faced with a decision between "retiring" the vestment or trying somehow to salvage it, the owner opted for the latter. 

After and before
The chasuble and its accessories were carefully taken to pieces and examined for what might be re-used.  The results are shewn in the attached photographs.  A misshapen and badly adorned chasuble was made into a new set of vestments in the Saint Philip Neri style.  The original fabric was re-used to ornament the new silk vestments.  In fact, the original fabric was used to ornament two new chasubles, the second of which can be seen here.

Searching for a word to describe such radical surgery, we lighted upon the phrase the "Re-enchantment" of a Roman chasuble.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.