Exhibit Review: Hereford Cathedral Textiles
In the summer I went to visit Hereford Cathedral. I was on holiday in the area and went to the cathedral to see the famous Mappa Mundi, a thirteenth century map of the world, and the medieval Chained Library, one of the largest in Britain.
When I got there I found the cathedral is also home to lots of beautiful textile art.
The wall hanging above tells the story of St Thomas of Cantilupe who is closely associated with the Cathedral. There is a companion tapestry, not shown here, which tells the rest of the story–not a happy ending, really, as he died in Italy pleading his case with the Pope.
I think it’s a mixture of appliqué and embroidery. The colours and the clarity of the story-telling really stand out.
New work is being made all the time. A group of “broderers” have just made a whole set of kneelers to go round the shrine of St Thomas.
The detailed designs for the kneelers are shown below.
There is an exhibition at the Cathedral until 31 December, A Stitch in Time; Wool’s Mark on History’, which draws upon a varied collection of exhibits to showcase the story of wool. The production of wool to yarn dates back thousands of years and can be seen as one of the most important raw materials in British history. No other industry has enjoyed such widespread continuity and prestige.
The exhibition features rare books and documents from the cathedral library and includes old artifacts of the woollen trade such as spinning wheels, with practical demonstrations.
There are also temporary exhibitions of textile art throughout the year. You can find details on the Cathedral’s website.
Hereford Cathedral is worth a visit any time if you happen to be in that part of England.