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churchartbooksA few years ago I happened upon a great series of little books about decorative arts in the Church, textiles and church architecture which was printed by A.R. Mowbray and Co. of London in a series spanning the first decade of the 1900’s.  “The authors will write for the average intelligent person who has not had the time to study all these matters, and they will therefore avoid technicalities, while endeavoring at the same time to present the facts with a fidelity which will not, it is hoped, be unacceptable to the specialist.”- as the Editor’s note proclaims at the beginning of each slim volume.

I am not certain exactly how many volumes there are in the series as I possess only four to date, but here is one of the later editions with a list.  You will note the estimable Rev. Percy Dearmer, author of  The Ornaments of the Ministers (a must-have history of vestments for sacristies) and The Parson’s Handbook, has forewords and contributions in many of these little books. For everything about The Rev. Percy Dearmer visit this Project Canterbury link http://anglicanhistory.org/dearmer/index.html You may read the entire Parson’s Handbook (full of great information) free at


Ornaments of the Ministers with all of its amazing vintage vestment photographs can be copied and viewed  using several formats here http://www.archive.org/details/MN40293ucmf_4


If you know of any other volumes in this series, I would be delighted to know of them.  My particular favorite is Church Embroidery by Alice Dryden which was published in 1911.  The great period of Church embroidery was from the twelfth to the middle of the fourteenth century (opus anglicanum) and this little book offers many plates and photos of extant pieces of ecclesiastical embroidery of this period.  Method and execution are also included with a particularly excellent chapter on couching and stitches.


churchartsplatecopeThese little books may be found on ebay, A Libris, Bibliofind, and other out of print online dealers in the 30-50 dollar range.  I have had the most success in finding them in England.  Well worth the investment!!