Cope Hood

A crucifixion scene in the style of the Antwerp Mannerist painters.

Artist/maker unknown, Flemish

Made in Netherlands, Europe

c. 1530-1535

Linen plain weave embroidered with silk and gilt thread in brick couching, couched filling, split, outline, satin, padded satin, and straight stitches

19 1/4 x 18 1/4 inches (48.9 x 46.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Henry P. McIlhenny, 1946

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Copes are a form of church vestment that consist of a semicircular cloak at the front with the vestiges of a hood at the back, often in the form of a shield. Copes were worn by priests and higher clergy during processions. The embroidered decorations on Netherlandish cope hoods often depict scenes from the Gospel or figures of saints. The embroidery seen here illustrates a crucifixion scene in the style of the Antwerp Mannerist painters.

Like many church embroideries of the sixteenth century, this example was embroidered in one of the professional workshops of the Netherlands, which were usually staffed by men. One embroidery would be the work of several artisans. For this design, the master would have been responsible for the figure of Christ—which was embroidered separately and later appliquéd onto the cross—an assistant would have worked the background, and an apprentice the borders. The same patterns were often reproduced for different clients; at least one other cope hood with this design is known.

Additional information:
  • PublicationThe Fine Art of Textiles

    This hood is embroidered with a scene of the Crucifixion. A hood with an identical layout and figures is illustrated in Louis de Farcy, La Broderie de XIe siècle (Angers, 1890-1900). Dilys E. Blum, from The Fine Art of Textiles: The Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), p. 52.