A mitre is a head-piece worn by bishops and archbishops in Christian church ceremonies. This mitre with its lappets (the hanging tails) are made of a luxurious white silk enriched with gold thread, showing the scrolling foliage and flowers typical of the Gothic revival style of designer A. W. N. Pugin. It is part of a set of church furnishings designed by Pugin for use in St Augustine’s Church, built on the grounds of his own house in Ramsgate, Kent.
The mitre shows embroidery of a very high standard. Pugin’s ecclesiastical work was organised by John Hardman & Co., the Birmingham ecclesiastical suppliers, with whom he is closely associated. Pugin’s embroidery was carried out in Hardman’s own embroidery workshops, run by Mrs Powell, John Hardman’s sister and the wife of his partner, and by Lonsdale & Tyler of Covent Garden, who produced all forms of uniform and regalia work. Mrs Powell set up her business in 1842 to deal with the increasing interest in vestments and church decoration arising from Pugin’s work. She also employed another Birmingham firm run by Lucy and Winifred Brown, whom she took into partnership in 1852. The very high professional standard of embroidery and goldwork in this example suggests it was worked by Lonsdale & Tyler.