While I stitched away, I watched two programmes on BBC Four; Guilty Pleasures, about luxury in medieval England, and Fabric of Britain, featuring early medieval opus anglicanum embroideries.
The trouble with stitching and watching TV at the same time, is that I don’t really see very much, although I hear most of it. Last night, the two programmes seemed to fuse in my mind – they appeared to meld into a single exploration of luxury and colour in medieval times.
Seeing the crisp bright colours of the Lindisfarne Gospels and the intricate, sensual textures of the opus anglicanum vestments, twanged something deep inside. We tend to think of our early ancestors living a bland existence, but these programmes proved the opposite – they loved colour, they loved pattern and they loved glitz.
And I have to admit I think I retain some of those medieval genes – I might prefer to live in a more neutral colour scheme, but in my art, colour and especially a need for luminosity always seems to come through.
Time and time again, I find myself drawn to stained glass – it sums up so much of what I feel.
The picture above is a detail from a stained glass window at St John Baptist, Claines, Worcestershire. If you’d like to see more of the windows there, hop over to my history junkie blog, Mists of TIme – I’ve just put up a new post about our recent visit.