The Company’s Weaving Treasures

Company Collection

The Queen's Cushion

The Company has a number of the fine examples of British Weaving, a number of examples of which are shown here. Firstly to celebrate the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth becoming the longest serving monarch, the Worshipful Company of Weavers decided to present her with a gift made from woven textiles.  Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official London residence, houses some of the most important furniture in the Royal Collection.  The State Green Drawing Room displays an early 19th Century gilt suite featuring pure silk tissue in green with gold figuring in a design from the reign of George IV.  The silk tissue was first woven by Charles Norris & Company in Spitalfields who later moved its silk weaving to Sudbury in Suffolk, The design also featured in ‘Hand Weaving’ by Luther Hooper, published in 1910, who recorded how the cloth was constructed. When Warner & Sons took over Daniel Walter’s firm in Braintree in 1896, they inherited the Norris design for the cloth for the State Green Drawing Room, and remade the intricate design for the Palace.

When the 1844 State Room at Buckingham Palace was redecorated, a damask version of the pattern was woven at Humphries Weaving Company.  This was used again for the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle after the great fire.  However, the importance of furniture in the State Green Drawing Room merited upholstering in the richest tissue possible, as it was originally.  The result is the souvenir cushion handmade by Michelle Humphries from sumptuous silk woven by Humphries Weaving Company at Sudbury Silk Mills, Sudbury, Suffolk, and completed during Richard Humphries’ Year of Office as Upper Bailiff.

The Upper Bailiff's Chair

The Upper Bailiff’s Chair is thought to date from the 1600’s and was originally covered in velvet – later in a green Warner’s velvet to a late 17th century Italian design. It was fully restored in 2002 and covered by Humphries Silk Weaving.

The Chaplain's Cope

This cope, worn by the Chaplain to The Worshipful Company of Weavers at Company services, was commissioned by the Company in 1990 and completed in the Spring of 1991. The silk and linen brocatelle, to a design called Greenstead, was woven on an early Nineteenth Century handloom by The Humphries Weaving Company in Essex, and the cope was designed by David Gazeley and embroidered by Jackie Rose, both of Watts & Co. Ltd.  The hood and orphreys are in silk velveteen, edged with hand woven braid and fringe and embroidered with Cloth of Gold, threads and silk.   The cope is lined with silver silk slub.  The motif of a leopard’s head holding in its mouth a shuttle is taken from the Company’s coat of arms.

Fragment of Bishop Pudsey Robe

This is believed to be a fragment of the Robe of Bishop Pudsey.

Hugh de Puiset (Pudsey) was a medieval Bishop of Durham and Chief Justiciar of England under King Richard I. He was the nephew of King Stephen of England and Henry of Blois, who both assisted Hugh’s ecclesiastical career. He held the office of treasurer of York for a number of years, which led him into conflict with Henry Murdac, Archbishop of York. In 1153, Hugh was elected bishop of Durham despite the opposition of Murdac.

As a bishop, Hugh was noted as a builder, including a stone bridge in the city of Durham and the Galilee Chapel in Durham Cathedral. His administration of the episcopal lands included an inquest into the exact holdings of the bishopric. As a patron, Hugh sponsored the career of the medieval chronicler Roger of Hoveden. Hugh had a long-term mistress, by whom he had at least two sons, and possibly two more.

Wikipedia entry for Hugh de Puiset

The Company's Funeral Pall

The Original 1502 Funeral Pall of the Worshipful Company of Weavers was restored in the 1980’s and is on display in the Great Hall of the Commandary in Worcester.

It was decided to commission a new Funeral Pall in 2006 through Humphries Weaving Co. Ltd, Richard being a member of the Company. A design was  created in keeping with the traditions of the company. It is coloured a deep blue with gold embellishments with the central position remaining plain to accommodate floral tributes. The design encompasses the company leopard head motif which has been used over the centuries. This motif along with the company motto “Weave Truth With Trust” was incorporated into the design. On the company Coat of Arms there are also sprigs of oak leaves, and this idea was used to tie the design together.

The pall design is asymmetric which requires every thread in the huge design to be separately controlled. Whilst the cloth required has to look dignified and sombre, it also has to give some presence and grandness. The durability of the cloth also must be considered bearing in mind that the 1502 pall is still in existence. A silk faced tissue construction was built on a cotton binder. The pall was interlined with an all-natural fibre cloth, covered by a pure silk lining. The cloth was produced for Humphries Weaving Co. Ltd. on hi-speed shuttleless rapier looms at Sudbury Silk Mills in Sudbury Suffolk, where silk has been produced by the Walters family for over one hundred years. Stephen Walters & Sons Ltd.  are reputed to be the country’s oldest silk weaving firm, having started in the 1720’s.

In order to finish the pall the outer edge was trimmed with a Banner bullion roll top fringe. The corners were decorated with  Steeple Style key tassels, whilst the inner border was covered in a Scroll gimp braid.

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