Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beryl Dean Panels

One idea or a question from the Blog triggers another Blogwrite.

I found, and would like to share with you, a website devoted to the magnificent panels embroidered by Beryl Dean and now in the care of St. George's Chapel which is located within the walls of Windsor Castle. I first saw the panels in the '70s and they were proudly displayed in a side Chapel of the Church. The next time, I was reluctantly allowed to see them after the the caretaker tried to deny their existence. The last time, about 10 years ago, my interest was unwelcome but I got a brief glimpse. The space had become a repository for extra chairs and pieces of furniture. I nearly cried that this had happened to these incredible pieces of ecclesiastical embroidery. On finding the following article on the web, I am relieved to see that they are now properly housed and hung. And treated with the respect they deserve.

The panels are large. A guess would be that they are between 3 and 4 feet wide, and 5 and 6 feet high. The colours are wonderful, and glowing. I think that she used silk threads as well as gold. Photographs do not do these masterpieces justice. I have enlarged the photos in the article but, even so, they only give an indication of their beauty. I do not know if Beryl did all the stitching herself or, if she had help, who else was involved. I wish that I had been one of them. And that says how much I admire them.

If you have a chance to visit Windsor, I heartily recommend that you see the Beryl Dean Panels.

From the College of St. George website:

2nd August (2011) marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Beryl Dean. She died in 2001 but her remarkable work lives on at St George’s Chapel and other places in her embroidery and related work.

Between 1969 and 1974 Beryl Dean made five panels to hang in the Rutland chantry, one of the side chapels within St. George’s Chapel. On a background of especially woven linen and lurex she used a variety of techniques such as applique, drawn thread and pulled work. The five panels now hang in a special cabinet in the Ambulatory to protect them from too much light and dust. One panel is always on display and others can be seen on request to the Chapel staff. The work was commissioned by the Friends of St George’s and the Descendants of the Knights of the Garter to mark the Chapel’s quincentenary in 1975.

The five panels depict the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Temptation in the Wilderness, and the Miracle at Cana.

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