Fishmongers' Pall

Detail of the Fishmongers' Pall, showing bishop and angel, c. AD 1500, England. Detail of the Fishmongers' Pall, showing bishop and angel, c. AD 1500, England. © The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, London.

The Fishmongers' Pall is a lavishly embroidered funeral pall created by nuns between 1512 and 1538, for the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, which still owns the cloth (Fishmongers' Hall). The four side panels of the pall are all fully covered with embroidery. The top is made of the richest Italian cloth of gold, while the sides are made of linen. The pall measures 232 x 56 cm.

The background of the side panels is worked with (surface) couched gold embroidery (instead of the underside couching of the famous opus anglicanum of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries), while coloured silks and applied figures are used for further decoration. The metal thread embroidery includes twist and purl. Embroidery stitches include satin and split stitch.

The main representation portrays Christ handing the keys of Heaven to St Peter the Fisherman. The pall is further embellished with heraldic fish (dolphins), and mermen and mermaids as supporters of the Company's arms.

The execution of the pall, and in particular the many shades of metal thread, have been used to suggest the influence of Flemish embroiderers.

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

Source: BROWNE, Clare, Glyn DAVIES, and M.A. MICHAEL (2016). English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum. London, pp. 11, 20, 38, 79, 107. (Catalogue no. 82, pp. 272-274)


Last modified on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 19:48