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‘POWDERED WITH ARMES YMAGES AND ANGELS’: AN EARLY TUDOR CONTRACT FOR EMBROIDERED VESTMENTS

  • Cynthia Jackson (a1)
Abstract

There are many extant examples of late medieval vestments in private and public collections in Europe and North America. Little is known, however, about the people who created them and the production methods used. A copy of a formal agreement between Sir Robert Clere and William Morton, included in the Townshend family papers, offers a rare insight into the making of a set of late fifteenth-century vestments. The document specifies the materials and the motifs to be used in making the vestments and the delivery deadline. This paper investigates the individuals mentioned in the agreement, the significance of the symbols and images chosen, and the possible motives behind the contract phraseology. Although these particular vestments no longer exist, parallels for the designs and techniques among extant examples have been used to re-create their possible appearance. Also considered is the relationship between embroiderer and mercer and the ways in which they collaborated to produce garments for royalty, the nobility and an increasing number of wealthy citizens.

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