This is a magnificent example of gilt metal stump work. It has an unusual centerpiece representation of the Ten Commandments. It originates from Bourgogne, France and dates towards 1860-1870.
This type of work is specific to this period in history when heavily gilded textiles were used extensively in even the smallest of French Catholic Parish. One can imagine the beauty that a piece of this magnitude would have given a stone interior, with flickering candle light reflecting in the metal work embroidery.
The Antependium frontal cloth has a base fabric of cotton and gilt. There are wide bands of metallic braid at the top and bottom. The central motif depicts the Ten Commandment tablets floating on a cloud with rays of light shimmering behind. The tablets have embroidered metallic braid Roman numerals and rolled metal braid edging. The cloud is done in stump work with white silk fabric embellished with silver. The silver and blue silk braid makes small "puffs". The raised stump work rays (made by placing a padded piece of fabric, cut to the specific shape then embroidering over the top) are magnificent with very fine thread making a solid metal shape. Spangles also add a glimmer of light.
The flowers, buds, leaves and stems which span out from the center are all fantastic motifs in metallic stump work. Gilt braid is added for stems, spangles and on small gilded brass globe accent the centers of the flowers. The back is lined with gold cotton fabric (this is a later revision of the original).
The Altar Frontal is in very good antique condition. There is some light staining (we have not cleaned this), there is wear to the cloud fabric; please look at the photos as they are the best description. The stump work embroidery is in fantastic condition, there are no missing pieces to the design. It measures: 44 1/2" x 14 3/4". If you wish more photos, please do not hesitate to ask.
This is one of the sumptuous and impressive Antependium Frontals that we have found to date. The shear amount of hand work in gilt metallic threads is incredible. It is a fantastic example of the master work which was hand executed in textiles during the late 19th century.