Tuesday 29 December 2015

On the Feast of S' Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket chasuble
In a previous post, we featured a dalmatic from a set of Solemn Mass vestments made for a Monastic Community in California (USA). On this Feastday of Saint Thomas Becket, we are pleased to describe the chasuble from this set (shewn in the adjacent photograph).

Posts describing the venerable chasuble of Saint Thomas (which was in the semi-conical form), can be viewed here and here.

The design of the chasuble shewn adjacent is a variation on the Studio's  Saint Martin chasuble, which is an ample but surprisingly lightweight chasuble.  Although visually similar to the original Becket chasuble, there is no attempt to produce an exact replica of it.

The vestments are made from an English silk damask, which is fully lined in blue taffeta. A narrow braid, designed by the Studio in an early mediaeval style, was used to ornament the vestments in the distinctive manner.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Thursday 24 December 2015

A Blessed Christmas

To all friends, customers and readers of this Blog, sincere wishes for a Blessed Christmas.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain; and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Isaiah 40:4-5.

Michael Sternbeck
The Saint Bede Studio.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Dalmatic from a Solemn Mass Set

The dalmatic shewn adjacent is part of a solemn Mass set presently being completed for a Monastic Community in California.

The vestments are made from a magnificent silk damask in crimson red, manufactured in the United Kingdom. They are ornamented with narrow braids designed by the Saint Bede Studio in colours of Royal Blue, Red, Gold and Ivory. The vestments are lined in Royal Blue taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Monday 14 December 2015

The Colours of Advent (re-posted)

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  here and here, about 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 (or young cleric) 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 a "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 12 December 2015

A Rose by any other Name, but Pink

Figure 1. Pope Paul VI in 1978
wearing a rose chasuble 

made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
Twice a year, the Church breaks the tone of its penitential seasons by the use of rose-coloured vestments.  Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not.  Nevertheless, you will find various pronouncements these days (usually on websites) about what the real or authentic shade of rose is which is to be used for vestments.

Newsflash: there is no official shade of Rose designated by the Church, nor has there ever been.  One reason for this is rather simple: only in the nineteenth century did the process of dyeing fabric become sufficiently sophisticated to ensure that much the same shade of a colour emerged from one batch of fabric dyeing to another.

Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical Rose.  Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, almost mushroom-colour; some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia.

Another thing is certain: Bubblegum Pink is not Rose, nor has it been a traditional variation for use on these days. Whilst not intending to get into the argument as to whether the use of pink (be it vibrant or subdued) is a fitting colour for a man to wear, Bubblegum Pink certainly manifests a lamentable lack of liturgical good taste. And yet we find so many pink vestments for sale from ecclesiastical suppliers etc.

Figure 2. Pope Paul VI greeting a priest
after Mass in Saint Peter's on Laetare Sunday 1978.
Both are wearing rose 
chasubles made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
At an old post on the Blog, The New Liturgical Movement, we find a number of interesting vestments in that shade of Rose commonly found in Italy in centuries past: a salmon colour.  Go there and take a look.  But don't be mistaken about that particular shade of Rose being universal: it was used in Italy, but probably not much elsewhere.

Adjacent are two pictures of another shade of Rose.  These are sets of vestments worn by Pope Paul VI on Laetare Sunday, 1978. The vestments are made from dupion silk of a very subdued silvery-rose.  Ornamenting them is a column-orphrey almost fuchsia in colour.  Sadly, these vestments have not been seen in Papal Masses of recent years:  lamentable sets of brighter pink vestments, of rather unimaginative fabric and design, have been used instead (not to be looked at before breakfast).

Tuesday 8 December 2015

On Our Lady's Feast

Adjacent is pictured a new set of vestments in honour of the Blessed Virgin, recently completed by the Studio.

A silk damask in a lovely shade of ivory was used for these vestments. The ornamentation - a column, front and back - was formed from a braid of the Studio's own design augmented with a narrow galloon in blue and gold, running parallel to it. The chasuble is lined in Royal Blue taffeta intended to support the colour of the orphrey.

The vestments described in this post were commissioned - together with a number of other vestments - for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com