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


Capella Clementina, Kurfürst Clemens August und die Krönung Kaiser Karsl VII, text in german, by Dela von Boeselager, in: Studien zum Kölner Dom, vol. 8, edited by Barbara Schock-Werner and Rolf Lauer; 475 pages, 167 colour and black and white photos, 85 colour plates, 4 black and white plates

Verlag Kölner Dom e.V.,
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  Dela von Boeselager deals in her publication with liturgical vestments worn for the coronation of Karl Albrecht of Bavaria. This elector was expected to become the successor of the late emperor, who had died on 20th of October 1740. As soon as the elector's brother Clemens August archbishop and elector of Cologne realised that the majority of votes were for Karl Albrecht, he ordered the vestments for the coronation ceremony.

This ceremony took place on the 12th of February 1742 in Frankfurt, Germany. The vestments were given later to the cathedral of Cologne..

Today most of these textiles are still preserved. There are 44 items, among them 22 robes with gold embroidery and a beautiful seat of coronation. The vestments were worn by all priests involved in the coronation.

  Besides of an inventory written at the time of the donation, there are several publications which describe the vestments. The present publication is based on documents which were up to now unknown. The author discovered them in archives of Paris:

- the written order sent by the french deputy Mr. de Sade from Bonn to Paris in October 4th 1741,
- and a list written by the Bavarian deputy in Paris, the Prince de Grimberghen, which is dated 10th of January 1742, with which the deputy commissioned the vestments in Paris.
- some letters between the deputy and authorities of Paris.
- 3 accounts, copied by the Prince de Grimberghen. The originals were sent to Germany. Their whereabouts and are not known at present.


6 stoles, cat. nr. 23 - 28

chasuble, back, of the "presbyter assistens", 2


5 mitras, signs of honour of the 5 bishopseats of the consecrator, cat. nr. 40 - 44

cushion for the consecrator, cat. nr. 39

  The author is interested whether it was possible at all to work the embroideries in the very short period of only three months.

Therefore she studied accurately the oganisation of art embroidery of the 18th c. in France, her basis being the well known documents:
- Dictionnaire de commerce of 1741 by Jacques de Savary and
- "l'art du brodeur" of 1769/70 by Charles Germain de St.Aubin

Also important were the new regulations of the corporation of embroiderers of 1719 with 46 articles. Here the quality standard as well as the conditions for a mastership were layed down. The regulations deal with the duration of the apprenticeship and with the materials that had to be used.

4 masters of the corporation observed whether the regulations were needed or not.
It took 10 years to become a master of embroidery, the boys and girls started at an age of 12-14. Already in 1648 it was fixed that the number of 200 masters could not be surpassed . In 1769 the corporation had 169 members.

Not all the embroiderers were masters. The so called "compagnons" had learned an appropriate time but they were not allowed to have their own workshop.
"Ouvriers" were the common embroideres, which were occupied at daily wages.

Outside the corporation it was possible to embroider in special localities or in houses of priviledged people, but these workmen were not allowed to sell their work in the shops of Paris. In women's convents rather silk- than gold embroideries were produced.

Priviledged embroiderers worked for the king who always needed a great number of embroideries.

  Priviledged embroiderers from 1735 to1745 were: Germain Benjamin Dallemagne of Rue Saint Denis, Pierre Davaux, Denis Nicolas Desprez and Nicolas Desprez, Pierre Michel of rue Saint Paul, Gabriel Guillaume Prado and others.

The author found several letters which prove that the deputy asked permission to occupy those embroiderers because of the very short time at disposal. At least 60 more craftsmen were engaged in this commission. The author believes that 100 or even more embroideres were working at the same time and that several workshops were occupied with the vestments.

According to Dela von Boeselager embroiderers in question could be Nicolas-Vincent Dutron or Louis Jacques Balzac. This later worked together with the dealer Boursier and the name Boursier occurs in one of the 3 accounts from 21st of december 1741, 3rd march 1742, and 6th march 1742 that are preserved, unfortunately these accounts do not tell the exact amount of cost for the vestments and there are no embroiderers names.

In appendix 1 of the publication the names of the 21 craftsmen found in the accounts, are enumerates alphabetically. The author here publishes their wage claims and identifies them with the help of other sources. The tailor "Sieur Passot Tailleur" e.g. also was a dealer. He delivered gold fabric at 170 "Livres" per "Elle", silver fabric at 145 , velvet at 33 to 35, and also buttons at 3 to 6 "Livres" according to their size.

Most important was Jean Boursier, the dealer. He was called "marchand de Dorure", and he supplied lace, buttons, trimmings, embroidery materials and he received the highest sum.

The accounts also show, that Grimberghen was responsible for all the costs and only in October 8th 1742 all the debts were payed off.


chalice veil, belonging to chasuble of "consecrator", cat. nr. 34

chalice veil, belonging to chasuble of "presbyter assistens", cat. nr. 35


embroideries on sleeve of dalmatic 12

embroidered flower decoration on cope of "consecrator", 3

  As similar vestments have been burnt during the French Revolution, the Author compares the embroideries with secular works of art, like for example the embroidered saddle in Dresden, worked from 1715 to 1718 in Paris, a velvet coat belonging to a men's wear in the museé de la Mode et du Costume in Paris, a velvet waistcoat in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and parts of a costume of Madonna in Heimathaus Münsterland, Telgte. This last embroidery was ordered by Clemens August. And some other examples.

The author believes that the most important evidence for the datation and the stilistic classification are two embroideries for the archbishop of Uppsala for the coronation of King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika. These works with very similar ornamentation were ordered in 1751.
On the other hand it is most probable that the design of the vestment was made after the copper engravings of the Paris ornamentalist Gabriel Androuet Ducerceau (1670 - 1728). This means that the embroideries of the vestment can be classified between Ducerceaus engravings of around 1710 and the swedish cope of 1751.


part of a men's waistcoat,
probably Paris around 1740
Stuttgart, Württembergisches Landesmuseum,
Inv.Nr. G 13,334


part of a coat, Paris, middle 18th c.,
Musée de la Mode et du Textile, Inv.Nr. 9

  With her already well known accuracy the author also analyses the materials and techniques used.

At the time of Louis 14 gold as a material was held in very high esteem. This precious material was connected with the idea of status and power. The king very often gave gold embroidered presents to foreign sovereigns.
This must have been the reason why the vestments were embroidered in gold although gold was not a liturgical colour.

The vestments are embroidered on a silk fabric with gold thread and also with flat metallic wire (in german "Lahn", in french "lame"). D.v.Boeselager very precisely explains the different kinds of gold embroidery, with all the very special and almost forgotten terms.

  The gold may lay on the surface only (applied technique or couching), but the tread can also go through the fabric and be visible on the back side as well. In fact this latter technique is responsible for the very good preservation of the vestments.

Besides of the golden thread there were also paillettes or spangles (small disks of shiny metal) and cantilles (very this wires wound in spiral line). In 1741 embroidery with spangles already was a fashion in Paris. Goldlace was used for the chalice veils, trimmings and tassels can be found on copes, dalmatics and also on cushions.

In the appendix of the book all the special expressions used are explained. Drawings show more clearly where words are less suited to explain.


golden thread enlarged, with silk core and golden metal wound around it

collection of materials, which have fallen off the embroideries



trimmings on dalmatic, 21

trimmings on coat, Paris around 1740, musée du Louvre, Inv.Nr. M.S. 51

  A separate chapter of the book is dedicated to the seat of the consecrator: with exact descriptions of type, embroideries, style, iconography.

In the catalogue part every piece of the vestment is presented individually, again with precise examination and research, and with plates in full colour.

The appendix consists of 4 chapters:
- the persons involved in the work (dealers and craftsmen; De Bruyne, sculptor of the seat; assistents in the coronation)
- the copies of the seat
- analyses by different authors (fabrics by U.Reichert, Sr. Klara Antons, materials and techniques by Sr. Klara Antons; bobbin lace by T.Schoenholzer, analyses of 'Paris Gold' by E.Jaegers, examination of the construction of the seat by G. Schneider
- sources: 4 sources (order and commission for the vestments, inventories of 1750 and 1803); glossary, literature, persons, photo information.


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Last revised February 3rd, 2004

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