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.

Friday 16 September 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 4

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 overall colour scheme for these vestments is "earthy" rather than vibrant. The chasuble, in the Borromeon 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 colour.  The vestments are lined with a bronze-coloured taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Monday 12 September 2016

On Raising the Chasuble at the Elevations

In the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the minister (deacon or altar server) is directed to raise the chasuble slightly in his left hand as the celebrant elevates the Sacred Host and then the Chalice. This direction is given in the Ritus Servandus VIII, 8; the Caeremoniale Episcoporum II, viii and a decision of the Congregation of Sacred Rites no. 3535.

What is the origin of this practice? It dates from that period when chasubles were voluminous and constrained the celebrant from raising his arms above his head. Lifting the lower right hand corner of the chasuble actually enables the celebrant a greater movement of the arms. Thus, the origin of this ceremonial action is purely practical. Much has been written about mystic and symbolic meanings as being the origin of this action, which assertions have no basis in fact.

The ceremonial books direct that the raising of the chasuble be a very subtle action. It was never intended that the chasuble be raised half-way up the celebrant's back or - worse still - be held up by both hands of the minister, making the chasuble seem like some fantastical ecclesiastical sail. Most assuredly such exaggerated movements are distracting both to the celebrant and to the congregation.

If the chasuble is not very ample at all, there is even more reason for its raising at the Elevation to be a very modest action: just a couple of inches at most. Furthermore, this gesture only accompanies the actual Elevations, and not the celebrant's accompanying genuflections.

Attached is a beautiful photograph of a Low Mass celebrated at Prinknash Abbey (UK) in 1940, illustrating perfectly how it should be done.