A generous gift has made it possible for the antique Angel Superfrontal to be preserved and framed for display on the wall outside the Rector’s office. Although its exact age is not known, it has graced the high altar of Trinity Church for many years during the Christmas season. We do know that at some point about 50 years ago the delicate angels were removed from the original damask backing and reattached to new fabric (painstakingly by machine). Its increasingly fragile condition led to the decision to retire it from use, and we were fortunate to find an expert framer locally who was also skilled in fabric preservation.
In truth this angel pattern has little to do with Christmas, but in the words of conservator Andrea Bernsten it “seems to display a direct reference to the book of Revelation, which consistently speaks of things in multiples of seven (the angels of the last seven plagues). These are remarkably benign-looking angels with six wings each. Each angel is separated from the neighboring angel by a compass rose and a spiral and rests its feet on a wheel-shaped symbol. This gives us yet another scriptural reference (this time to the book of Ezekiel) and doesn’t even count the scalloped border with possible trinitarian symbolism! This angel superfrontal is more probably an example of how a design is simply copied from a previous pattern for its aesthetic appeal. In this case, the angel is a direct copy of a stone carving from the 13th century cathedral at Chartres, France.”
These photos of the installation of the Superfrontal were taken by Pat Sisson.