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Embroidery on Exhibit

By Henry Handley

Attendance at the exhibit A Vision of Art and Faith: The Litany of Loreto and the Work of Ezio Anichini (1886-1948) took off in the summer of 2022 thanks in part to two embroidered renditions of illustrations from Anichini’s Litanie della Madonna. The pieces were on display in the Marian Library thanks to an art loan from the Royal School of Needlework in the United Kingdom; over 375 people viewed a live virtual talk by RSN’s chief executive, Susan Kay-Williams, on those pieces earlier this year. Though the Anichini exhibit is over, fans of the art form have the opportunity to see yet another striking example of embroidery in the Marian Library’s current exhibit.

Rather than appearing on a textile in a frame, these examples of embroidery are on paper, bound in a handwritten devotional book. The manuscript is written in a neat, late 19th-century cursive in light brown ink and features two examples of embroidery on paper: one floral wreath and one rendition of the Sacred Heart in satin thread. The manuscript was created for a beloved aunt by a scribe known only as M.P. It was purchased in March 2020 from bookseller Leo Cadogan.

Visitors can view the embroidered manuscript as well as other hand-illustrated and hand-illuminated prayer books and other recent acquisitions in A Living Library: Marian Acquisitions Through 2022, open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30  p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Friday, Oct. 28.

— Henry Handley is an assistant professor and collections librarian in the Marian Library.

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