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Hearse Cloth of Henry VII: AAL.3-2002

An image of Hearse cloth

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 32 (Rothschild)


Hearse Cloth of Henry VII


Maker: uncertain




Hearse cloth of gold with an applied red velvet cross with alternating applied embroidered rose and portcullis motifs, and a centrally placed coat-of-arms of Henry VII.
Made in England with late 15th century Italian silk, and English embroidery, 1505.

Legal notes

Lent by the University of Cambridge

Measurements and weight

Height: 4310 cm
Width: 3092 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Loan (2002) by University of Cambridge


16th Century, Early#
Henry VII
Circa 1504 - 1505


Pattern and weave structure are consistent with a late 15th century date. The degraded but still discernable pattern of stylized pomegranates on the ‘cloth of gold’ is typical of late 15th century Italian weaving. Cloth of gold is a complex fabric with a supplementary warp and weft, the warp producing a velvet pattern of cut and uncut loops. During conservation metal thread, dye, and weave analysis confirmed the stylistic data, and it is generally accepted that the maroon velvet cross and applied embroideries date from the original construction of the hearse cloth in the early 16th century.

There are no known references to where the hearse cloth was made.

School or Style


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: AAL.3-2002
Primary reference Number: 139816
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 4 February 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Hearse Cloth of Henry VII" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-19 03:48:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=Hearse Cloth of Henry VII |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-19 03:48:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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