Sunday, 9 December 2007

The Pugin Mitre

Dating from 1848 (when it cost £65), the Mitre is made of cloth of sliver 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 St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

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

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