Holár Vestments, Iceland

Detail of the maniple of the Holár vestments, worked in opus anglicanum. Detail of the maniple of the Holár vestments, worked in opus anglicanum. Copyright National Museum of Iceland, acc. no. 6028c.

The sumptuous set of Hólar vestments, now housed in the National Museum of Iceland, are an example of the famous opus anglicanum, which during the medieval period formed an important English export product. The luxuriously embroidered garments, including an amice apparel), a stole (two fragments) and a maniple (two fragments), orginally belonged to the Cathedral church at Hólar.


The fragments are dated to c. 1200-1250 (apparel), and c. 1240-1260 (stole and maniple). They are early examples of foreign clergymen ordering and obtaining embroideries from England. The vestments are worked with gold and silver thread and coloured silks, using underside couching, surface couching, and split stitch. Some of the details are embroidered with linen thread or painted.

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

The Holár church also housed the antependium with a depiction of three bishops.

National Museum of Iceland acc. nos. 6028a-b (stole; 106 x 7-16 cm; 95.5 x 7-15.5 cm), 6028c-d (maniple; 93.5 x 6.5 x 14 cm; 17.3 x 7-14 cm), 6028e (apparel; 50.3 x 8.6 cm). 

Source: BROWNE, Clare, Glyn DAVIES, and M.A. MICHAEL (2016). English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum. London, Catalogue no. 16 (pp. 133-136).

Digital source of illustration  (retrieved 29 October 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 26 February 2017 17:44