The Bacton Altar Cloth
For the Medieval Dress and Textile Society Newsletter, July 2018
The Bacton Altar Cloth is a large piece of richly embroidered Elizabethan floral fabric, which at some point in its long history has been carefully cut and re-stitched to form the decorative cloth covering for a church altar. For many years it has hung on the wall of St Faith’s Church in Bacton, Herefordshire, preserved for posterity in a glass-covered frame.
Now undergoing conservation efforts at Hampton Court Palace, on loan from its home in St Faith’s, the Bacton Altar Cloth is revealing some fascinating details and clues to its provenance, as research into both its construction and its historical context continues.
The ‘Embodied Turn’ and Learning Through Reconstruction
For the Medieval Dress and Textile Society Newsletter, July 2019
What is ‘embodiment’?
Hilary Davidson defines the embodied turn as ‘the trend for scholars of history to appreciate and incorporate embodied, experiential, implicit or tacit knowledges gained through making and doing into their study of history’. (p.2) Her selection of the term ‘embodied’ reflects its many layers of meaning, encompassing ‘both the coming into being of objects and the role of bodies in their making,’ as well as ‘the innate body knowledge created through making objects’ and the ‘subjective bodily experience’ which such research produces. (p.2) In short, ‘embodiment’ expresses the physical, practical and bodily experience of making and wearing clothing as an importance part of dress and textile research.