Opus Anglicanum

A Review of the Talks and Workshops

Hand & Lock have been proud to support the fascinating and exquisite exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum titled “Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery.”

This mesmerising exhibition has uncovered a world of embroidered medieval treasures from around the world and provided a rare opportunity to see some truly magnificent pieces of craftsmanship. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Hand & Lock ran a series of special workshops and hosted a variety of talks with expert speakers.

The programme began with the first talk “Opus Anglicanum: A History” which delved into the long and fascinating history behind the workmanship and the artefacts of the Opus Anglicanum exhibition. This illuminating talk by Dr Christine Linnell explored the history of Opus Anglicanum, a somewhat discounted art form which was nevertheless central to the cultural output of medieval England.

Throughout the evening, Linnell touched on the iconography of medieval copes and explored the reasons for the artistic choices made. To conclude the evening. Linnell explored the technical side and explored the manufacturing of these precious embroideries and the question of who was responsible for the designs is considered.

The second talk, “Opus Anglicanum: An exploration of Technique and Colour” explored the technical aspects of the art form and discussed the practice of embroidery from the middle ages and which techniques and practices are still used today. Delivered by Dr Susan Kay Williams and Liz Elvin, both experts in their fields, this talk provided guests with a wealth of information and insight into the ancient techniques.

The final talk, “Opus Anglicanum: An Artistic Legacy” brought together the expertise and knowledge of Anthea Godfrey and Diana Springall to speak about the artistic impact and legacy of Opus Anglicanum. The two talks explored the artistic evolution and its impact on the 20th Century.


In addition to our wonderful expert talks, Hand & Lock offered a unique and tailored workshop “Opus Anglicanum: The Ancient Techniques Workshop which sold out almost instantly. Those attending the workshops learned the stitch techniques used throughout the embroideries of the middle ages. Students learned how to identify Underside Couching, explore its uses and advantages and then went on to learn the technique from our embroidery expert. Students also learned about the essential Split Stitch which offered medieval embroiderers vital stability, volume and stealth. Each class was held at our iconic central London embroidery atelier where these ancient techniques are still employed on contemporary projects.

For those who have not had the opportunity to visit the exhibition, we highly recommend you make the Victoria and Albert Museum your next stop. You have until February 5th to experience the exquisite medieval embroideries that have influenced the art of embroidery to this day. Enjoy!

Read about Hand & Lock's visit to the exhibition

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Hand & Lock Visit The Opus Anglicanum Exhibition
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