ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

  High Fashion in the Church:
A History of Church Vestments,
ninth-nineteenth centuries
by Pauline Johnstone

Maney publishers, 2001

176 pages including 32 colour plates, 176 b&w illustrations and 110 colour illustrations
Paperback: 36.00 (ISBN: 1 902653 60 2),
Hardback: 74.00(ISBN: 1 902653 61 0)

forthcoming in December 2001
Maney Publishing, Hudson Road, Leeds LS9 7DL, UK
website at:


  press release:  
  The decoration of church vestments, which are the ceremonial garments worn by the clergy at the celebration of the Mass, has always been a matter of high fashion. In the first place the crafts of silk weaving and embroidery, which provide the technical means for the decoration of these garments, have held a prominent place in the changing fashions in the arts since the early Middle Ages, and since that time have been used in the service of the church as well as for secular purposes. Secondly in a narrower sense of the term, both these crafts have been at the heart of fashionabel dress through the centuries. Many silks indended for this market have also been used by the vestment makers, with the result that the vestments have remained in the forefront of each successive trend. This therefore is a book about the changing aspects of art history: its aim is to show something of the origins and use of the vestments themselves, but principally to trace the development of their decoration in the context of the arts of any one period. High Fashion in the Church is richly-illustrated as its subject matter rightly demands. It also contains an index, glossary and bibliography.

home   content Last revised October 1st, 2001

For further information contact Anne Wanner