Friday 27 July 2012

The Season "per annum" : 2

The Saint Bede Studio recently completed a set of green vestments for a priest from Kentucky USA.  These vestments were made from a magnificent English silk damask and were ornamented and lined in a turquoise-coloured dupion silk.

Upon the orphrey were sewn applique and, at the request of our customer, a vesica in the form of a fleur-de-lis on the rear of the chasuble.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Tuesday 17 July 2012

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite: 4


Purple chasuble made by the S' Bede Studio
in the S' Philip Neri form.
Frequently, the Studio receives enquiries asking about the distinctions between the different styles of chasubles.  Comments are also often seen on websites which indicate that this subject matter is still not well-known.  Although this has been written about before on the blog, I wish to present a series of posts describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time.  These posts ought to be regarded as brief overviews rather than scholarly treatments of the subject matter.

Previous posts: Part One  Part Two  Part Three

This post concerns the style of chasuble found in the 16th and 17th centuries and in particular that form which has been associated through art with Saint Philip Neri.   From the earliest years of the Church until about the 16th century, the conical or bell-shaped chasuble had been the norm for the ministers at the altar.  In the 13th century, as described in part two of this series, the shape of that chasuble was slightly modified for the greater convenience of the wearer.

From the 15th century, however, in various parts of Europe, but particularly northern Europe, vestment makers took it upon themselves to modify the chasuble still further to free-up the celebrant's arms.  Thus, even at this early date but only in some places, that exaggerated shape referred to unkindly as the "fiddleback" began to appear.  It is noteworthy that the truncation of the chasuble in this way was never sanctioned by Ecclesiastical authority.  Whilst abbreviated chasubles were appearing North of the Alps, Rome retained the Tradition of the ample chasuble, as did Spain.

As has been written about in Part Three of this series, Saint Charles Borromeo prescribed dimensions he believed to be the minimum in order for a chasuble to conform to Tradition.  He prescribed that the chasuble was to be very long, reaching at the back almost to the heels of the wearer and wide enough so that it reached to at least half way between the elbow and the wrist.

Mass in S' Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne with the celebrant
vested in a chasuble of the S' Philip Neri form.
Image: Dr Chris Steward, Melbourne.

Contemporaneous with Saint Charles and for a century thereafter, a less ample form of chasuble was common, which is evidenced by paintings, sculptures and engravings of the 16th and 17th centuries.  This form of chasuble is most famous to us from paintings of Saint Philip Neri, one of which is included in this post.  We also include other works of art from this period depicting the same form of chasuble.

Seventeenth century painting of S' Philip Neri.
This form of chasuble only reached to the elbows, or sometimes not quite that far, but on the other hand was quite long, especially at the back.  These chasubles also, it would seem from the evidence, often incorporated shoulder seams.  The ancient form, as has been discussed in previous posts, did not use shoulder seams to sew together the front and back of the chasuble.  Instead the chasuble, being a form of semicircle, was sewn together in the middle at the front, making a bell shape.  During the middle ages, the practical limitations of such a design became evident and we find makers of vestments introducing the shoulder seam to constrict less the movements of the celebrant.  The shoulder seam became more common in the 16th and 17th centuries, although our evidence for this is not complete.  Not all vestments of this period were constructed in this way of sewing together the front and the back at the shoulder line.

Carving on the door of a Roman basilica
shewing Saint Vitalis vested in a chasuble
of the 17th century form.
Image: Orbis Catholicus Secundus.
The decoration most commonly found on vestments from the Southern Europe during this period was in the established Roman style: a single column at the back and at the front a TAU.  Sometimes we find that a single column is substituted for the tau on such vestments.  In Northern Europe, we find a similar shape of vestment ornamented with the familiar " Y " shape orphreys.

Presently, there is a revived interest in the Saint Philip Neri form of chasuble.  The Saint Bede Studio regularly receives enquiries about such chasubles which seem to appeal because they are very Roman in character, based in Tradition, but yet not in the exaggerated form of the 18th century.  Another reason, of course, is that they are very convenient to wear.  Priests comment to me that they find this form of chasuble most suitable for the celebration of the Mass according to the Ordinary and Extraordinary usages.

1628 painting by Francisco Herrera the Elder of S' Bonaventure
receiving Holy Communion from an Angel:
the priest vested in a chasuble of the S' Philip Neri form.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Saturday 14 July 2012

Priestly Ordinations 2012: 2

We are pleased to continue our annual series of vestments prepared by the Studio for Ordinands.

The second in this series of Ordination vestments features a Solemn Mass set of vestments prepared for the Rev'd Michael Hinterschied who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of S' Joseph, Columbus (Ohio) on 26th May.

Father Hinterschied during the Blessed Sacrament procession.

The rear of the cope.
The ordinand asked for a set of vestments in the Saint Philip Neri style.  A gold ecclesiastical brocade was chosen for the vestments, ornamented simply in the Roman style with an outline galloon in burgundy and gold. The vestments were fully lined in red taffeta.

Adjacent photographs shew the chasuble, one of the dalmatics and the cope.  We are also pleased to include a photograph of Father Hinterschied during a procession of the Blessed Sacrament.

Please pray for Father Hinterschied and all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


The chasuble in the S' Philip Neri style.

One of the two dalmatics.

Thursday 12 July 2012

The Saint Austin chasuble

The chasuble shewn in the adjacent photograph was made for a young priest in the Diocese of Richmond USA. The chasuble is made from an English ecclesiastical brocade, lined in red silk and ornamented with an orphrey braid in green, red and gold.

This orphrey braid is one of several braids which have been especially designed by the Saint Bede Studio to commemorate the Pugin bicentenary year. A Pugin chasuble in the collection of Saint Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, was the basis for the design of this braid.

This vestment is designated The Austin Chasuble and is also available in white/ivory in this "Gothic" style and the more stylised Puginesque form.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Tuesday 10 July 2012

Fortescue on the Eighteenth Century

Father Adrian Fortescue
"In the eighteenth century a desolating wave of bad taste passed over Europe.  It gave us Baroc churches, tawdry gilding, vulgarities of gaudy ornament instead of fine construction.  It passed over clothes and gave us our mean, tight modern garments.  And it passed, alas! over vestments too, and gave us skimped, flat vestments of bad colour, outlined in that most impossible material, gold braid, instead of the ample, stately forms which had lasted until then....For these curtailed shapes are not the historic ones which came down hardly modified for so many centuries. They are a quite modern example of Baroc taste...Skimped chasubles, gold braid and lace are not Roman; they are eighteenth century bad taste."

So wrote one of the most illustrious ecclesiastical scholars of the early twentieth century, the Rev'd Dr Adrian Fortescue. This is an extract from a lecture which he gave to the Altar Society of Westminster Cathedral in 1912. Dr Fortescue's name is, unfortunately, better known for the ceremonial manual which he prepared in order to raise money for the building of his Parish church: The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, which has run into many editions, over almost one century.

Saturday 7 July 2012

The Saint Osmund Chasuble

The Saint Bede Studio has recently completed a set of vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph.

These Saint Osmund vestments are made of red dupion silk and lined in gold taffeta. The vestments are shewn worn with an amice apparel.

The vestments are ornamented with a new braid designed by the Studio and derived from the work of AWN Pugin.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.