Featured Religious Orphrey Panel Date?

Discussion in 'Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing' started by JoeCarson, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. JoeCarson

    JoeCarson New Member

    I have this "tapestry" which seems to be an orphrey worn on a chasuble, and it looks Catholic and handwoven to me. The level of detail and precision of each thread is foreign to me. One saint holds what looks like a key (Peter?) and the other points to a book (Paul?). I look at the motifs above the saints, and they look like Baroque or Rococo flowery urns to me. I haven't found any modern orphreys that look like this, so I assume if this orphrey isn't modern, it would be 18th or 19th century, but online, the only comparable examples I find are 15th - 17th century. It has metallic thread in some areas. I was just wondering if anyone else had any insight as to dating, value, subject matter, origin, etc. IMG_20191027_073205201.jpg IMG_20191027_073407757.jpg IMG_20191027_073315948.jpg IMG_20191027_073331783.jpg IMG_20191027_073530420.jpg IMG_20191027_073250379.jpg
    aaroncab, Figtree3, Houseful and 2 others like this.
  2. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    As ecclesiastical iconography tends to be very conservative, one way of establishing a possible date would be a careful examination of the fabric and sewing threads used. For example, if everything is hand spun and hand woven silk, linen and wool, it would support an earlier date than if there is machine woven cloth, or cotton sewing thread used. Distinguishing linen from cotton thread is best done with a microscope. If cotton sewing thread is found, a date after about 1800 would be indicated. An analysis of the structure of a cotton sewing thread can further narrow down a date after which the piece could have been made. The earliest cotton threads were 3-ply, and these continue to be made. But 6-ply threads, with 6 individual threads twisted together, were introduced about 1840. 6-ply threads made with 3 sets of 2-ply threads twisted together were introduced about 1860.
  3. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    nice close ups..........but is it 6 inches or 12 inches......or ?
    scoutshouse likes this.
  4. JoeCarson

    JoeCarson New Member

    Thanks for the responses. It is about 7" x 36". All the thread is incredibly thin to my untrained eye. Using a magnifying glass, everything looks like 1 or 2 ply except the metallic threads which actually are 10+ ply. Some of the thread seems to have the puffy texture and volume of wool. I can't quite tell the difference between linen and cotton thread, but apparently the texture is different under a microscope. No more modern colors like orange or purple stand out to me either. Also, the conservative iconography point is a good one. Church art doesn't always keep pace with the popular styles of the day.
    Figtree3 likes this.
  5. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    @Jivvy , any thoughts on this one?
  6. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    @Figtree3, thanks for the tag. I've been out of town without access to reference books or a big screen (the better to see stitches), so I'm a bit behind. :joyful:

    But I'm going to try to catch up later today/tomorrow.

    At this hour, my Big Screen is at the mercy of the Big Sun Glare. :hilarious:
    Figtree3 likes this.
  7. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Well, welcome back! :singing:
    Jivvy likes this.
  8. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    True, plus the church had (continues to have!) the motivation/resources to create vestments in a time when such needlework finery was/is no longer in secular demand.

    SIDE NOTE: "no longer in secular demand" excluding costume departments, of course - those Game of Thrones pieces didn't embroider themselves, lol.

    People who embroider (and, yes, this is embroidery, not weaving) commonly split thread bundles.

    Overall, this piece is in such excellent condition, I lean more toward 19th/20th century than earlier... there are some aspects that make me want to lean older (e.g., the heavy use of metal thread), but being ecclesiastical, who knows?

    All-in-all, it's a pretty excellent piece and I wouldn't attempt to sell it until I had it evaluated in person by someone with more knowledge than I have.
  9. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    PS: If an expert comes back with 16th/17th century date, I wouldn't die of shock. I simply don't know and am leaning conservative.
    Figtree3 likes this.
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