Bishop (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

This figure is one of a set of 50 dressed to represent the outfits worn by Catholic religious orders. They are made of tow (hemp) with wax heads, hands and feet. They were probably made in France, as they are labelled in French, but some of the orders represented were only active in Germany and the Netherlands.

This figure represents a Bishop of the Catholic Church. The figure is wearing Choir dress, which is worn while attending (but not celebrating) liturgical functions. A blue tunic is worn under a white embroidered and lace trimmed rochet, and a blue mozzetta (cape). The figure wears a cross on a cord, and carries a Papal staff bearing the Cross of Lorraine. On its head is a mitre, the traditional ceremonial head-dress. In the Catholic church, the wearing of the mitre is limited to bishops and abbots. This example is an auriphrygiata mitre, which is plain white silk with decorative bands or trimming. There are two other types of mitre, the plain white simplex, usually worn for funerals and Good Friday, and the elaborately decorated pretiosa, worn on Sundays and feast-days.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Bishop (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1800/1850
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 31 cm including stand
  • Provenance: Given by Mr. G. Smith
  • Medium: Figure made of tow and wax, dressed in linen and woollen materials.

Additional Items