King Richard III's funeral pall

Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

 

King Richard III’s embroidered funeral pall was created by Jacquie Binns, a member of our Professional Trades Directory.

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In March 2015, the long-awaited reinterment of King Richard III took place at Leicester Cathedral. A cortege carrying the king's remains travelled across Leicestershire before arriving at Leicester Cathedral for a service attended by the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, on Sunday 22 March. The last Plantagenet King then lay in repose until Thursday 26 March when a special service took place observing medieval burial rites and the remains were then lowered into a specially designed tomb.

For the ceremony, the Cathedral commissioned nationally renowned artist and National Churches Trust Professional Trades Directory member Jacquie Binns to design an embroidered pall to cover the King’s coffin. The pall was beautifully decorated with an intriguing mix of images. Alongside a knight in armour, King Richard’s queen in heraldic robes are the faces of archaeologist Richard Buckley and the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith.

Lead-lined coffin

The pall was draped over the lead-lined oak coffin by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against King Richard at Battle of Bosworth in August 1485. Jacquie commented that it was “a very great honour to contribute a significant part to this historical event.”

Funeral palls were a common feature of medieval burials, usually taking the form of a heavy cloth bearing the deceased’s coat of arms. The design of Jacquie’s pall  depicted scenes from Richard’s life.

Jacquie’s work crosses a variety of mediums and her powerful, expressive sculptures, vestments and hangings can be seen in cathedrals, churches and private collections throughout the world. Notable commissions include the Anniversary Cope and Mitre for the Right Revd Richard Chartres for St Paul’s Cathedral and the life-size crucifixion sculpture for St Peter’s in Plymouth.

Unique creations

Every one of her creations is unique. She paints and draws continuously, observing colours, tones, architecture and expressions, and her design process can at times seem somewhat unorthodox. By her own admission, she has in the past employed objects such as bottles, old tobacco tins, lumps of rock and even chop sticks to bulk up the form of the maquette of a sculpture before it is finished in plaster or clay and cast in fibre glass or bronze.

However, it is her use of free-hand machine embroidery that is perhaps the most striking aspect of her work. Her church textiles are full of movement and excitement with her expressive use of stitch adding texture and three-dimensionality to her creations. Meanwhile, light-reflective materials such as silk, velvet, taffeta and brocade are combined with figurative and abstract imagery to emphasise emotion and beauty.

For more information about Jacquie’s work, please visit her website 

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