A request for advice (or, an Aside in the “A Changing Church” series)

Calling all those who know a little about upholstery tapestry/ecclesiastical furnishings and their repair/renovation.

Yesterday at the abbot’s council here at Douai we approved the resotoration of the old sedilia, used in the abbey church in its first stage. They are a darker oak, and the original tapestry MAY be underneath the latterly-added green fabric. The base of the celebrant’s chair itself wore out. We would like to restore and re-upholster them in a hard-wearing tapestry, with the pattern of a simple Puginesque cross or even the pattern from the tiling in the refectory in our former monastery in Douai, France. We will re-introduce the restored sedalia to liturgical use in the abbey

If anyone knows of a firm or individual who could help us with this, please do let me know. We are prepared to pay for quality but we need to avoid extravagance (I know, I know; we want to keep our cake and eat it…). Mind you, I am not beyond praying for a benefactor who might like to finance the restoration as a good work for the Lord, or even as a memorial to a loved one, or something like that.

Anyhow, some pics are attached. (These are not huge seats, you will see). Thanks and blessings in advance for any help!

The celebrant’s chair without its seat bottom
Deacon’s stool 1
Deacon’s stool 2
A film photograph from 1982 of the Minton tiles in the refectory at old Douai
Another old film photograph  of the refectory at old Douai

9 thoughts on “A request for advice (or, an Aside in the “A Changing Church” series)

  1. beautiful chairs and stools Father—I actually found an old prie dieu at an antique shop—I loved it, it was obviously old and reasonable in price so I bought it. However it has been reupholstered with a modern tapestry that I have considered trying to “re-do” myself to something more in keeping with the style and age of the wood…
    keep us posted Father on this quest!


  2. On a practical level, a choice of upholstery fabric ought to take into consideration friction between the fabric and sacred vestments. It is also well, may I suggest, to avoid sacred emblems for cushions on which priests will sit.


  3. One of my tutors (the adult college in Reading – New Directions) is an upholster with many years experience. He only works for us on Wednesdays (he was in today!) and he doesn’t have email but I could ask him next Wednesday- if you haven’t found anyone else before then. Even if he can’t/won’t do it, he as a class full of learners (also with many years experience) who might be willing to undertake such a project.


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