The Jubilee Cope

The Collections
Today at the Cathedral View More
Stations of water - installation
8:00am Holy Communion
10:15am Choral Mattins
11:30am Sung Eucharist
3:15pm Reformation Choral Evensong: Queen Mary
4:45pm Sunday Organ Recital - Simon Hogan
6:00pm Eucharist

The Jubilee Cope

The 'Jubilee Cope, Stole and Mitre 
White flannel cope with gold, silver and copper thread appliqued and laid work
Designed by Beryl Dean
Made by the needlework students at the Stanhope Institute
1976-1977

Thousands of hours of needlework went in to decorating this extraordinary vestment set composed of a cope (a long cloak) a stole (a band of material worn over the shoulders) and a mitre (the peaked ceremonial head-dress worn by bishops). The set was originally presented to the Diocese of London to commemorate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and was worn at the special Thanksgiving Service that year. It has been worn on many occasions since and is still worn by the Bishop of London when he officiates at special services.
 
A highly complex design covers the surface of the cope:  the spires of seventy-two churches in the Diocese of London jostle alongside three Royal Peculiars (ecclesiastical institutions  outside the jurisdiction of the bishop), St Paul’s Cathedral and the Georgian House in Queen Square, formerly the home of the Stanhope Institute. The accompanying mitre is embroidered with the façade of Westminster Abbey (an extra tower has been added possibly to make this less apparent) and, on the back, a symbolic ship. The stole is embroidered with crocketed spires.
 
Beryl Dean, who oversaw the creation of the set, was the foremost textile designer of her generation and a leading exponent of modernist design in ecclesiastical embroidery; her original design for the cope is kept in the Cathedral archives. Each decorative element was embroidered in gold thread and silk on to silk organza which was then applied to the cream woollen base.
 
The essential shape and construction of ecclesiastical vestments has changed little in over one thousand two hundred years. Their decoration however has varied; reflecting changes in taste and style. St Paul’s retains an impressive collection of historic and modern vestments which play a central role in the Cathedral’s daily rounds of worship. They vary greatly in their ornamentation and different colours are used at different times of year to denote particular phases in the Christian calendar.
 
Further reading:
Embroidery in Religion and Ceremonial, Beryl Dean, Batsford, 1986 
 
Related links: