Thursday 29 December 2016

On Saint Thomas Becket's Day

On this feast-day of Saint Thomas Becket, we are pleased to illustrate this new set of vestments, now familiar to readers of this Blog. These vestments were made for a young priest in Germany, a returning customer.

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 :

Monday 26 December 2016

The Christmas Season

During the Christmas Season, we are pleased to present this chasuble which was made as a gift for an Ordinand in Chilé.

Somewhat different from the typical vestments of the Saint Bede Studio, this chasuble was made from silk taffeta of a distinctive burnished-gold colour. The chasuble is unlined and is ornamented with a lovely old braid amongst the Studio's collection in colours of brown, straw-gold and green.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Sunday 25 December 2016

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.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

During Advent

In 2012, the Saint Bede Studio received a special commission from the Church of Saint Birinus in Oxfordshire (UK) to make a set of vestments for Advent. Saint Birinus has adopted various usages from the Sarum Rite for their celebrations of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. During the Season of Advent they use an English blue.

To accompany the existing chasuble, a dalmatic has now been made from a lovely English ecclesiastical brocade, in two tones of blue, ornamented with a narrow braid in colours of Royal blue, gold, red and white.  This braid was designed by the Saint Bede Studio.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


The small Gothic Revival Church of Saint Birinus
in Oxfordshire, UK.

Friday 16 December 2016

Maria Regina

Father Brian O'Donnell of the Co-Cathedral of S' Joseph,
Burlington (Vermont, USA) offering Mass
on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
in a Maria Regina chasuble.

Perusing the blog The New Liturgical Movement, we were pleased to find - amongst a sea of "Roman" chasubles - a set of Maria Regina vestments and a simple linen albe worn by our customer, Father Brian O'Donnell, of the Diocese of Burlington (Vermont USA). We are pleased to include these photographs here, which Father made available to The New Liturgical Movement.

During the Mass in S' Joseph's Co-Cathedral
on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Image: From The New Liturgical Movement blog.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Gaudete Sunday 2016

On Gaudete Sunday we are pleased to present this chasuble, recently completed for a returning customer.

This chasuble, in the Studio's Saint Austin style, is a different take on the usual colour palette of Rose vestments. The colours of the sky at dawn and sunset were the inspiration for this design, made of silk damask in the colours of burgundy and old gold, and ornamented with rose-coloured silk taffeta. The vestments were lined with a taffeta of muted red.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Studio Newsletter (updated)

The Saint Bede Studio Newsletter has now been distributed to those on our e-mail subscription list.

Any reader of this Blog wishing to receive the Newsletter may do so by sending an e-mail to the following address with the subject title NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION.

Thank you to those who have kindly contacted us in the last few days requesting to be added to the Newsletter mailing list. Your names have been added.


Wednesday 30 November 2016

For the Season of Advent

The vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph were prepared for a parish community in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (Texas USA), a returning customer.

This chasuble, in the Saint Bede Studio's Saint Giles design, was made from an English ecclesiastical brocade in a muted shade of violet and lined in grey taffeta. The vestments are ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design (directly based on the work of AWN Pugin) in colours of silver and red upon Roman purple.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Sunday 27 November 2016

The Colours of Advent : an annual post

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 young cleric assisting the celebrant is wearing a full-length surplice or rochet, according to the style typically found in Renaissance Italy. Those who claim that such surplices are a "Church of England", or a "Low Church Party" 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.

Monday 21 November 2016

Important Notice : 2
2017 Ordinands

Because of strong demand, the Studio's scheduled of commissions for the period January - August 2017 is now over-flowing. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to carry out work on any new enquiries until after that time.

Because this will disrupt the service we normally offer at this time of year to Ordinands, we wish to advise that a number of white chasuble sets will be made available for sale on this Blog during the first half of 2017 to ordinands * whose need may be urgent. These will be simpler sets, ornamented with a variety of the Studio's unique braids.

Enquiries :

* NB. No enquirer requesting a maniple will be presumed by The Saint Bede Studio to be rigid or defective in love. 

Friday 18 November 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 8

As the Season Per Annum draws to a close, we are pleased to present this dalmatic, one of a pair recently completed for a returning customer. The dalmatics complement a chasuble in the Saint Philip Neri style previously completed.

The matching dalmatics were made from an ecclesiastical brocade in green and gold, ornamented in the Roman manner with outlining braids, and lined in green taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Important Notice : 1
Commissions for 2017

We wish to advise that commissions for the latter part of 2017 are now being accepted, but that available places are few. Do not delay in making an enquiry.

A further important notice will be posted in the next few days.

Enquiries :

Sunday 13 November 2016

Regnans Gloriose

Today one of the Saint Bede Studio cats celebrated her 21st birthday. For a cat of her dimensions and sex, this the equivalent of ONE HUNDRED (100) human years. "Locket" was my late mother's cat and she was adopted by me after my mother's passing in April 2007. The centenarian enjoys excellent health, leading an active life, but is stone deaf. Frequently she is a damned nuisance, but one expects this from a dowager. Locket has spent her birthday going about her usual (and unvarying) activities, but has received Greetings from neighbourhood cats passing by.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 7

During the time "per annum" we are pleased to present this attractive set of green vestments recently completed for a returning customer by the Saint Bede Studio.

The chasuble, in the Saint Philip Neri style, is made from a deep shade of olive green dupion silk and is ornamented with a rich brocade of burgundy and gold according to the Roman form, outlined with a galloon in the same colours.  The vestments are lined with a bronze-coloured taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Friday 4 November 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 6

The set of green vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph was recently made by the Saint Bede Studio.  This unlined chasuble was sewn from dupion silk, handmade in India.

These vestments are in a beautiful, heraldic shade of green, being neither too light nor too dark. The ornament is formed from an orphrey braid exclusive to the Saint Bede Studio and based directly on the work of AWN Pugin. The colours of the braid are red, blue and gold.

This set of vestments is the second in a new range of simple vestments which will occasionally be offered for sale by the Studio. A previous set in the same style may be seen here.

The purchaser of these vestments, a returning priest-customer from Germany, wrote to the Studio:
The green vestments arrived here today. Your work is stunning as ever, even in this simple form. I only dare to call the vestments "simple", because you used the term yourself on The Saint Bede Studio blog. 
Especially, I want to congratulate you on the magnificent St. Austin orphrey braid! How gifted you are, indeed.  Thank you for enriching the quality of our liturgy! I am looking forward to future projects!
Enquiries : 

Wednesday 2 November 2016

On the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

For a returning customer, the Studio has recently completed this set of black vestments in the Saint Philip Neri style.

The vestments are extremely simple, but in the classic Roman style of ornament. A black damask was used for these vestments, ornamented with silver braids and lined in charcoal-grey taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Monday 31 October 2016

Discouraging Times

The rubble ruins of the Basilica of Saint Benedict
in Norcia, Italy,
Largely flattened on Sunday morning by a powerful earthquake.
Almighty, Eternal God,
by ever giving strength to our weakness,
you enable the Church to flourish, even amidst her trials,
so that, when she appears to men to be utterly cast down,
then rather does she gloriously prevail.
Whilst then, she accepts affliction as a proving of her faith,
let her persevere, by your grace, in triumphant loyalty.
Missal of Robert of Jumieges 11th century.

Sunday 30 October 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 7

The vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph were prepared by the Saint Bede Studio for a returning customer in the Diocese of Arlington, USA.

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 a new orphrey braid of the Studio's own design in colours of green, gold and ivory upon red. The braid is a modern expression of a mediaeval exemplar and features the chi-rho emblem.


Saturday 22 October 2016

Priestly Ordinations 2016 : 7

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to mention the ordination of Father Tomas Zuna of the Archdiocese of Birmingham (United Kingdom).

Father Zuna commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the the Borromeon form which were made from silk damask. The chasuble is ornamented in a damask of burgundy and gold silk, outlined with narrow galloons in the Roman style. It is lined in a wine-red taffeta. This design we have named Saint Bartholomew.  Very similar vestments can be seen here and here.

Father Zuna was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 16th July by the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev'd Bernard Longley, in the renowned Gothic Revival Cathedral of Saint Chad. This Cathedral, designed by AWN Pugin, was the first greater Catholic church to be constructed in England since the Reformation and following Catholic emancipation in 1829. It was built on the scale of a Cathedral between 1839 and 1841. It became a Cathedral-church in 1852 after the re-establishment of the Catholic Hierarchy in England.

Figure 2.
Archbishop Longley at the Imposition
of Hands
during the Ordination Mass of
Father Tomas Zuna.

Image : Copyright J Lopuszynski.
For this post, we are pleased to include photographs taken at the Ordination Mass in the Birmingham Cathedral.

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


Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Figure 3.
Archbishop Longley congratulating
the newly-ordained.

Image : Copyright J Lopuszynski.

Figure 4.
The Canon of the Mass.
Image : Copyright J Lopuszynski.

Figure 5.
The interior of S' Chad's Cathedral :
a hall-church reminiscent of the North German Gothic style.

Image :

Figure 6
Saint Chad's Cathedral Birmingham:
the design of AWN Pugin.

Image :

Figure 7.
The Ladye Chapel of  S' Chad's Cathedral :
a marvellous ensemble of Pugin's design genius.

Friday 21 October 2016

Anglophone Missals of the "Interim Rite" 1964 - 1969 : 1

In 1964, as a consequence of the deliberations of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, culminating in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, changes began to be introduced into the Celebration of Mass. New liturgical books which reflected these alterations were required.

On this Blog we will be examining the various iterations of the Roman Missal which were published between 1964 and 1969. These missals are often referred to as "Interim Rite" missals. Of necessity, these posts must be confined to Anglophone Interim Rite Missals.

The first of these Missals for the English-speaking world was published by the Catholic Book Publishing Company (New York) after May 1964, for the use of the Dioceses of the United States of America. Below are photographs from that Missal.

The next post in this series will study the Canadian-Australian Altar Missal of 1964.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

The Missal handsomely-bound in red morocco leather and gold stamped.

The titlepage of the 1964 Missal.

On the reverse of the titlepage, the Imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman of New York is shewn.
It also makes reference to the translation of the Scriptures which the Bishops determined for use.

In publishing this Missal, the Bishops Conference of the United States obtained a decree from the now infamous Consilium, signed by Cardinal Lercaro and Father Annibale Bugnini CM and dated 1st May 1964. The decree defined the specific changes to the celebration of the Mass which were permitted. The English language was permitted to be included in the following parts of the Mass (shewn in the photograph below) : the proclamation of the Epistle and Gospel; in the chants of the Ordinary of the Mass, namely the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei; in the Lord's Prayer; in the formula Ecce Agnus Dei before the Communion of the Faithful; in the chants of the Proper of the Mass, namely the Introit, Gradual etc., Offertorium and Communio; in acclamations, Greetings and Dialogues between the celebrant and the faithful. Lastly in the "Common Prayer" or prayers of the Faithful.

First part of the decree of the "Consilium" : May 1964.

This Missal, however, is a curiosity: it was published before the decisions regarding revisions to the rite of Mass were published at the beginning of 1965. Consequently, ritually it contains no changes from the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum. All it admits of is the inclusion of the English language. It permits English for the use of the "Common Prayer" (General Intercessions), but no reference to these prayers is made in the rubrics of the Order of Mass. But one thing worthy of note : where these vernacular admissions are printed, no alternative in Latin is shewn. It seems that when the Consilium used the words in its decree " Linguam anglicanam adhibere licet ", it was more of a requirement than a permission.

The first page of the Proper of the Seasons
shewing the Introit and Epistle in English,
but the Collect still entirely in Latin.

The next photographs are a selection of the pages of the Order of Mass.

The Prayers at the foot of the Altar : still entirely in Latin.

Pages shewing the Kyrie and Gloria, given only in English.
Compare the translation with the present translation for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

One of the prefaces :
The Preface itself and its introductory dialogue are entirely in Latin;
the Sanctus given only in English.

Pages shewing the Communion Rite :
The Lord's Prayer and Agnus Dei given in English,
everything else in Latin.

The concluding prayers of the Mass remain unaltered
from the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum and all its predecessors.

Pages shewing the Rite of Burial, including English for chants and orations,
but the antiphon remaining in Latin with its gregorian notation.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Orphrey Braids of the Saint Bede Studio

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio adds to its stable of orphrey braids. These unique braids are designed by the Studio and only used in conjunction with our vestments. They are not commercially available, nor available to any other vestment makers and are reserved under international copyright.

Most of our braids are derived from precedents, either Gothic Revival or Mediaeval. They are never merely copies, but always have original touches to enhance the diversity of their use.

The braids shewn in the adjacent image are used for orphreys in both the Gothic and Roman * styles of vestments designed and made by the Studio.

Enquiries :

* The Studio's interpretation of the Roman style is represented by the Borromeon, Saint Martin and Saint Philip Neri chasubles.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Beuron School of Liturgical Art

Adjacent is a beautiful liturgical drawing from 1910  in the Beuronese style  Messe mit Wandlungskerze auf dem Altar. It was found at the Wikimedia Commons. Go here to read a little about the Beuron School of liturgical art.

This stylised depiction of a priest celebrating Low Mass is rich with the aesthetic ideals of the Liturgical Movement. The celebrant wears a flowing albe, ornamented with continuous decoration around its hem. Over this he is vested in a conical chasuble, decorated very simply. Not least of interest is the manner in which the altar cloth is decorated, with geometric embroideries and tassles of silk. 

One curiosity is the almost sleeveless surplice being worn by the altar server. Note the restrained gesture with which he lifts the celebrant's chasuble for the Elevation.

Would that this dignified aesthetic were more fully adopted for the celebration of Mass according to both usages of the Roman Rite.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday 30 September 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 5

During the time "per annum" we are pleased to present this charming set of green vestments recently completed for a Canadian customer by the Saint Bede Studio.

The chasuble, in a more ample Gothic style, is made from a magnificent English silk damask in a distinctive and pleasing shade of green.  The ornamentation is custom-made, being formed from a teal-coloured dupion silk, outlined with a galloon in black and gold and enriched with applied medallions. The vestments are lined with an aqua-blue taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Friday 23 September 2016

Enquiries with the Studio and 2017 Commissions

Each day, the Studio receives a significant number of e-mail enquiries about vestments and related matters. It is not possible for these messages to receive immediate attention.

In this age, we are accustomed to instantaneous responses to e-mails, tweets, Facebook posts etc. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this ethos is not entirely embraced by The Saint Bede Studio.

We try to answer messages within 7 - 10 days.

If you do not receive a reply, then either your message has not been received or else gives the impression of being a "hoax" enquiry and is deleted.

It would be most helpful if, when contacting us, you could indicate your Parish / Diocese and whether you are a Catholic priest or seminarian. The work of the Studio is confined to customers who are in full communion with the See of Peter.  Messages which gives no details of the name of the sender are, generally, not responded to.

Because of the large number of commissions which the Studio has received in the last six months and is trying to manage, it is not anticipated that work on any new enquiries could be commenced before August 2017.

Your Christian patience is greatly appreciated.

Monday 19 September 2016

Peter Glenville's Movie of "Becket" (1964)

Richard Burton as the Archbishop of Canterbury with
Peter O'Toole in the role of King Henry II in the
1964 Paramount Pictures movie of Becket.
The cope worn by Richard Burton is in part based
on actual vestments of Saint Thomas Becket;
the curtains in the background have a Papal monogram:
the triple tiara and crossed keys.

Typically, whenever the rites of the Catholic Church are depicted on the big or small screen, they are represented inaccurately (sometimes laughably so), or even sacrilegiously. An exception to this is the very fine 1964 movie "Becket" produced by Paramount Pictures, and starring the late Richard Burton in the role of Saint Thomas Becket (1117 - 1170), once Chancellor of England and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury.

This post is not about the life of the Saint, but rather about aspects of the presentation of the rites of the Church depicted in this movie. We find that production design for this movie was in the care of John Bryan; art direction by Maurice Carter; set decoration by Robert Cartwright and Patrick McLoughlin with costume design by Margaret Furse. These people obviously researched the rites and vesture of the Church in the early Mediaeval period quite carefully.

A search of the internet has uncovered some interesting stills of this movie, which are shewn here, together with some commentary. Largely they depict that scene where Becket is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury. An interesting description of the Consecration is given here .

Click on the following images for an enlarged view.

At the Profession of Faith.
The consecrating bishop is vested for Mass in full pontificals.
The co-consecrators are vested in matching copes and mitres.
Surrounding the prelates are deacons vested in dalmatics
and young acolytes some vested in albes, some in surplices.
Amice apparels are everywhere.

At the Laying-on of hands.
A detail of the ornamentation of the cope used in the production.
The ornamentation is accurately based on a stole of Saint Thomas
still housed in the Sens Cathedral.

Imposition of the mitre.
The mitres worn are all accurate reconstructions of mitres
worn in the 12th century.
They are small, and their titulus and circulus ornaments are
enriched with jewels.

After the Imposition of the mitre.
A specially printed impression of the Pontificale Romanum 
prepared for the movie is seen here.

The well-designed and finely-worked ornamentation
of all the vestments can be seen here.
Note the blue stole worn by the co-consecrator. The practice of having all
the vestments worn by a celebrant of the same colour is not an ancient one.

At the Enthronement.
The new Archbishop, now dressed in full Pontificals for Mass,
is also wearing the pallium: a fine interpretation of the mediaeval form.
Also clearly seen are the fringed dalmatic and tunic
worn by the consecrating bishop.
We must also take note of the beautiful Western-style iconography
created as a backdrop for the Archbishop's throne:
vigorous and very religious in feeling.

The Final Blessing of the Mass of Consecration.
We are able to see the altar in this photograph, ornamented with
images of the saints and with a tabernacle resting upon it.
This would seem to be the least accurate aspect of this scene from the movie.

The Final Blessing, somewhat over-dramatically depicted.

Years after the movie was made,
the costumes designed by Margaret Furse for Richard Burton's use were auctioned.
This photograph shews the chasuble and dalmatic, with an amice apparel.
The chasuble is a rather free redesign of the famous Becket chasuble
kept even to this day at Sens Cathedral.

The actual chasuble of Saint Thomas Becket,
housed in the treasury of Sens Cathedral.
This image is the copyright of Genevra Kornbluth.

A 19th century engraving of the mitre, chasuble and stole of Saint Thomas
venerated at Sens Cathedral.
These vestments were carefully studied for reproduction in the Paramount movie.
The ornamentation of the ancient stole was replicated as the ornament of
a cope and amice apparel used in the movie, whilst the ornament
of the mitre (see below) was used as the basis for several mitres in the production.