Needlework, which is still practised traditionally in every house, was once a splendid art, an art in which English workers were especially famous, so that, early in the XIIIth century, vestments embroidered in England were eagerly accepted in Rome, and the kind of work wrought here was known over Europe as "English Work." Embroideries façon d'Angleterre often occupy the first place in foreign inventories.
At Durham are preserved some beautiful fragments of embroidery worked in the Xth century, and many examples, belonging to the great period of the XIIIth and XIVth centuries, are preserved at the South Kensington Museum, which is particularly rich in specimens of this art. In order to judge of what were then its possibilities it is worth while to go and see there three notable copes, the blue cope, the Sion cope, and the rose-colour Jesse-tree cope, the last two of which are certainly English, and the former probably so. The Sion cope bears a remnant of an inscription which has unfortunately been cut down and otherwise injured, so that all that I have been able to read is as follows: DAVN PERS : DE : V ...; probably the name of the donor.
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