Detail (hood) from blue festal cope, English, c 1926.
Embroidered in silks and gold thread,
after angels by Fra Angelico, and made for Canon ES Hughes

Angels on hood of blue festal cope

From April 1925 until a year later, Hughes and his wife were absent from St Peter's on a grand tour of England and Europe. They returned, loaded with acquisitions including a blue festal cope made for Hughes. The length and breadth of the fabric — Hughes was 6' 3" (six foot, three inches) tall and by this time weighed 17 stone — testify to the man's remarkable stature. The cope relies for effect on the beauty of the fabric, and is unadorned, save for the orphreys and hood, which feature angels after the great Florentine Dominican monk, Fra Angelico (c 1400-1455). This cope and another, based on vestments used for the coronation of Charlemagne, remained the personal possessions of Canon Hughes and never belonged to the parish. However, it remains as an indication of the quality of many gifts made by Hughes, and particularly through the generosity of his wife Isabell, during his incumbency and beyond it.

This work is reproduced by kind permission of the dean of St Paul's cathedral, Melbourne.

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