The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

From the 11th century onwards, higher Catholic clergy were entitled to wear the sacred garment known as a cope for processional occasions on feast days. The cope developed from a Roman cloak-like garment and was semi-circular, opening down the front. Orphrey bands ran the full length of the front opening. On the back, the cope retained a vestigial hood which was triangular or shield-shaped.

Some of the saints depicted on the orphrey bands probably connect this cope to a Cologne church, or at least a church nearby. St Ursula and St Severinus were Cologne saints and St Hubert belonged to a military order established by the Archbishops-Elector of Cologne. Their embroidered names identify them.

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  • Title: Cope
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1475/1500
  • Location Created: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 144 cm including fringe, Width: 322 cm including fringe, Width: 2.75 in fringe round outer edge (19th century restoration?), Width: 0.75 in fringe round hood, Width: 5.5 in orphrey bands, Width: 0.35 in braid on either edge of orphrey band (19th century additon?), Length: 12.5 in each niche containing saints on ophrey band, Width: 18.75 in hood, including fringe, Length: 19 in hood, including fringe
  • Type: 1475-1500
  • Medium: Silk cut velvet, with embroidered orphrey bands