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Cope of Saint Louis d'Anjou

Detail of the cope of Saint Louis d'Anjou, opus anglicanum, 13th/14th century. Detail of the cope of Saint Louis d'Anjou, opus anglicanum, 13th/14th century.

The Cope of St Louis d'Anjou is a medieval garment now in the Basilica of Saint Marie Magdalena in the town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France. The cope is closely linked to the history of the basilica, the construction of which started in the late thirteenth century, but it was never finished.

The basilica was founded by Charles II of Anjou (King of Naples; 1254-1309) and was run by members of the Dominican order. The cope is associated with St. Louis d'Anjou (1274-1297; also known as Saint Louis de Toulouse), the son of Charles II and Mary of Hungary. It is decorated with numerous images relating to the life of Christ, such as his birth, some of his miracles and the Crucifiction. The garment is embroidered with gold and coloured silk threads, using underside couching and split stitches.

The cope is a very good example of opus anglicanum (literally ‘English work’), a form of gold work embroidery practiced in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. During this period this form of embroidery was in great demand throughout Western Europe by many important religious bodies, including various popes. So it is not so surprising to find such an exceptional example in a once important church in this 'remote' part of France.

Early 20th century photograph of the Basilica of Saint Marie Magdalena in the town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, southern France.

Source: SUR, Françoise (2013). La Chape de Saint Louis d'Anjou: Trésor du XIIIe siècle de l'opus anglicanum, Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Paris: Somogy Éditions d’Art.

Digital source of illustration of cope (retrieved 9th July 2016)

Early 20th century photograph of the Basilica of Saint Marie Magdalena in the town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, southern France.

 

Digital source photograph (retrieved 9th July 2016).

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Last modified on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:10