Opus anglicanum: English medieval embroidery

This project was started through a British Academy research grant awarded in 2012 to Dr M.A. Michael, Hon. Research Fellow and Hon. Professor, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow and has since received support from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Marc Fitch Fund.

Through conferences, exhibitions, on-line platforms and a series of publications, it is designed to bring together researchers, conservationists and curators in order to investigate how medieval embroidered textiles were traded, used and displayed, both in the past and in current museum and museum-treasury contexts. The liturgical vestments in particular were an intrinsic part of medieval and early renaissance culture often found at the heart of diplomatic relations between church and state, all over Europe. They form the core of the surviving materials in international collections.

Opus anglicanum (new)












The role of patrons, artists, craftswomen and merchants will be explored, revealing the international importance of what in modern terms might be called ‘the work of England’ (opus anglicanum) as part of the diplomatic strategies of church and state.

Three key aims of the project have already been achieved:

Publications in preparation

  • Studies in English Medieval Embroidery III: the Vatican Cope: Art, Style and Design from Westminster to Rome
  • Studies in English Medieval Embroidery IV: the Toledo Cope



M.A. Michael, Hon. Research Fellow & Hon. Professor, SCCA
email: michael.michael@glasgow.ac.uk