Clare Chasuble

The Clare chasuble, England, late 13th century. The Clare chasuble, England, late 13th century. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, acc. no. 673-1864.

The Clare chasuble is held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It probably dates to the late thirteenth century. It is claimed that the blue ground material originates from Iran or China. It is made of a silk warp and a cotton weft woven in a satin weave. The garment is embroidered with silver-gilt, silver, and coloured silk threads, using underside couching, split stitch and laid work.

Over time the originally voluminous chasuble shape was cut down to a more moderate size (80 x 124 cm). The chasuble was apparently made at the time of the marriage of Margaret de Clare (the sister of Gilbert de Clare) and Edmund Plantagenet, Duke of Cornwall, in 1272, or shortly thereafter. The scroll work, lions and griffins of the embroideries are said to reflect a much older tradition, while the quatrefoils at the centre back, enclosing Christian motifs, reflect the opus anglicanum of the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. These represent, from top to bottom, the Crucifixion; the Virgin with Child; St Peter and St Paul, and the stoning of St Stephen.

The vestment is included in the exhibition on opus anglicanum at the Victoria and Albert Museum, October 2016 - February 2017.


  • BROWNE, Clare, Glyn DAVIES, and M.A. MICHAEL (2016). English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum. London, Catalogue no. 6, pp. 138-140.
  • OWEN-CROCKER, Gale, Elizabeth COATSWORTH and Maria HAYWARD (eds.; 2012). Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, 450-1450. Leiden: Brill 2012, pp. 126-127.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 18 June 2016).



Last modified on Saturday, 11 March 2017 19:04