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Hearse Cloth of Henry VII: AAL.3-2002

An image of Hearse cloth

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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Object information


Hearse Cloth of Henry VII


uncertain (Maker)


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

Relative size of this object

30.9 m43.1 m What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

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


Early 16th Century
Henry VII
Circa 1504 - 1505 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

Silk Velvet

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: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Hearse cloth" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-11-27 22:59:29

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=|title=Hearse cloth|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-11-27 22:59:29|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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