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Helen M. Stevens, S.W.A.

The Maaseik Embroideries

During the 1980's and early 1990's Helen worked with the York  Archaeological Society and the British Museum recreating an example of 8th/9th century silk and gold embroidery - early Opus Anglicanum.  It was exhibited at the British Museum's landmark exhibition, The Making of England.  Later her paper on the project was published in the Journal of the Northern European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles.  Her paper is given here, together with additional illustrations.

A detailed image of Helen's reconstruction of a single arcade (see below)

 was used on the cover of the Journal‚Äč, which gives little indication of the poor condition of the original as shown here:

Above: Close up detail of original embroidery, showing remaining pearl, silk and gold thread.

Right: Poor condition of an entire arcade

Above: Detailed close up of element within single arcade, showing stitches: silk in split stitch, gold thread in surface couching.


The three first arcades of the strip showing: left, interlaced zoomorphic beasts, with horse and cat in following spandrel; centre, zoomorphic beasts below tree of life with trefoil design in following spandrel and right (part arcade), latticed design with zoomorphic beasts in each sub-division.

Single arcade in detail, with addition of seed pearls as on original when first worked.  Two ducks appear beneath a tree of life - notice that even the ducks are interlaced "before and behind" the branches of the tree.  This is the arcade shown in the page line drawing above (Fig. 7.2).

A detailed image of the reverse of Helen's reconstruction of a single arcade was used on the back cover of the Journal.

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