Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

" . . . The Most Splendid Thing Of Its Kind That Has Been Made By English Craftsmen Since The Reformation".

A Mitre made by Augustus Welby Pugin for Cardinal Wiseman, 1848.
The Blog of Westminster Cathedral DESCRIBED IT AS: "By far, the most splendid thing of its kind that had been made by English craftsmen since The Reformation".

"We, O Lord, place on the head of this Thy Bishop and Champion, the helmet of protection and salvation, so that his face being adorned and his head armed with the horns of both Testaments, he may seem terrible to the opponents of Truth, and through the Indulgence of Thy Grace may be their sturdy adversary, Thou Who didst mark with the brightest rays of Thy Splendour and Truth the countenance of Moses Thy servant, ornamented from his fellowship with Thy Word : and didst order the Tiara to be placed on the head of Aaron Thy High Priest. Through Christ Our Lord.
R. Amen."

(The bestowal of the Mitre, according to the old Roman Pontifical's Rite of Consecration of a Bishop)
Text and Illustration: MODERN MEDIEVALISM


Dating from 1848 (when it cost £65), the Mitre is made of Cloth of Silver and Velvet, decorated with Panels of Silver-Enamelled Copper Plaques and Semi-Precious Stones. Designed by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812 - 1852), it was by far the most splendid thing of its kind that had been made by English craftsmen since The Reformation. It was made for Cardinal Wiseman, and was used by him for the first time at The Consecration of Saint George's Cathedral, Southwark, London.

Pugin it was who designed the decoration for The Houses of Parliament, and spearheaded The Victorian Gothic Revival in Art and Architecture. However, comfort clearly took a second place to appearance; when this Mitre was worn by Cardinal Basil Hume, its metal band left a notable red mark around his forehead !!!

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