The New Saint Cuthbert’s Banner

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Abstract

This research narrates the design development and realisation of the New St. Cuthbert’s Banner, an ecclesiastical banner for Durham Cathedral (North East England), which replaces the original, destroyed in the mid 1500’s. After my commission to design the new banner, the process began with historical research offered by a description of the original artefact in the Rites of Durham (1503) (cited by Fowler, 1903 p.26). The creative process encompassed the research and development of floral pattern in the pursuit of a simple ‘pleasing aesthetic’. The final version was chosen from over thirty ‘variations on a theme’, and was an innate response to the variables of materials, labour costs, and the one that just ‘felt right’. Craftsmen drawn entirely from North East England completed the four-year project by undertaking the embroidery, woodwork, silverwork and leatherwork to bring the project to realisation. On 20th March 2012 - St. Cuthbert’s feast day – the banner was processed through the streets of Durham before being presented to the Cathedral. It now enjoys permanent public display at the entrance to St. Cuthbert’s shrine and is used at the discretion of the Dean and Chapter in processions and worship. The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham Cathedral speaks of the banner’s timely addition to the Cathedral as “making history”, and knowing that, “like its predecessor, it will bring inspiration and pleasure for years to come, and be a source of particular pride to the people of North-East England, Cuthbert’s Land” (Sadgrove, 2012). The new banner can only hope to represent the zeitgeist of the original. Like the historic and symbolic textile artefacts of the Durham miners’ banners, the new St. Cuthbert’s banner symbolises the ideals and aspirations of those who rallied under it, becoming “the visual memory of a movement” (Williams, cited in Gorman,1973 p.19).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPraxis + Poetics - Research Through Design 2013 Conference Proceedings
Pages192-195
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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