Fitzwilliam Museum. McClean Bequest.

Catalogue of the mediaeval ivories, enamels, jewellery, gems and miscellaneous objects bequeathed to the museum by Frank McClean online

. (page 11 of 14)
Online LibraryFitzwilliam Museum. McClean BequestCatalogue of the mediaeval ivories, enamels, jewellery, gems and miscellaneous objects bequeathed to the museum by Frank McClean → online text (page 11 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


must have deri\ed his inspiration from an ivory carving of this character. The
caskets which, like the present example, have monsters and animals of oriental
types in place of human figures, would also appear to be of about the twelfth
century. They are rare and were imitated by almost contemporary examples
made and preserved in Italy (Museo Civico, Pisa, H. Graeven, Elfenbcinwerke
in phoiogrixphischer NachhilduJtg^ Series ll, nos. 52 — 53; Venturi, Storia delV
arte italiana^ 11, p. 607 ; the Museo Civico at Ravenna, Graeven, as above,
no. 54; and the Cathedral of Ivrea, Venturi, as above, pp. 613 — 615). The
intarsia upon the present casket must be regarded as a subsequent addition.
Work of this kind made of coloured bone and horn was commonly described as
alia certosina because practised so largely by the Carthusians of Lombardy
and Venetia. It is of oriental origin, and was introduced into Italy about the
fourteenth century ; it was frequently employed to enrich the carved bone
caskets made in the workshops of the Embriachi at Venice (see J. von Schlosser,
in Jahrhiich der ktinsthistorischen Saininlinigeft &c., Vienna, Vol. XX, 1899,
p. 238). The somewhat similar work produced in modern Bombay was intro-
duced into India from Persia rather more than a century ago.

37. Panel, from the cover of McClean MS. no. 30, a
Lectionarmm of the second half of the tenth century from
Reichenau, S. Germany. A half-figure of Our Lord, facing, in
tunic and pallium. He holds the Book of the Gospels in his left
hand, and with the fingers of his right makes the gesture of
benediction. Behind Our Lord's head are seen the three upper
limbs of the cross, the surfaces chequered in the same way as the
cover of the Gospels in his hand. Above and below, an acanthus

Plate VIII. Byzantine, 11 — 12//^ century.

H. 5f in. B. 3| in.

The figure resembles that upon a relief in the Louvre (Molinier, Catalogue
des ivoires., no. 14), a circumstance which has raised some doubt as to the
authenticity of the present panel. The unusual large cross behind the head
lends some colour to the supposition ; but at present there does not appear to
be sufficient evidence to condemn the work. Dr Adolf Merton has called
attention to a half-figure of the Virgin and Child on the cover of a tenth-century
Evangelistary in the Stadtbibliothek at Leipsic, which is also from Reichenau,
and is a companion-volume to McClean MS. 30. This panel is in a similar
style, the drapery being treated in the same summary and mechanical manner.

38. Sunk Panel, with plain narrow borders: the Crucifixion
beneath a pierced canopy supported on two slender columns, above
which are busts of angels. Our Lord wears a broad loincloth, and


his feet rest upon a siippedaiicum. To ri^ht and left stand the
Virgin and St John, the latter holding the book of his Gospel.
Above are the sun and moon. The cross is fixed by three wedges,
below which is seen the skull of Adam.

Along the top of the panel is pegged a narrow strip of ivory
carved with foliations and rosettes.

Plate VI II. Byzantint\ \\th'-\2th century.

H. 4}^, in. Formerly in the Spitzer Collection.

The lower border is pierced with several holes and there is a hole in each
side-border towards the bottom. In the top of the pierced canopy is fixed
a gilded stud or nail.

The Crucifixion is treated in the most usual Byzantine manner ; the group
is rigidly symmetrical, and there is a tranquillity about the whole scene which
excludes the idea of dramatic action.

The wedges driven in at the base to fix the cross are a constant Byzantine
feature, as is the skull of Adam, which is frequently found in Western mediaeval
art (cf. no. 55). An ancient legend ran that the remains of the first man were
interred upon the very spot where the cross was erected, and the belief was
adopted by the encyclopaedic writers like Honorius of Autun whose works
exercised a direct influence upon representative art. "In loco Calvariae sepultus
[Adam] aliquamdiu requievit " (Honorius, De imagine Miindi., ill, in Migne,
Patr, Lat. 172).

39. Diptych. Each leaf has two zones divided by a band of
rosettes, with a similar band of rosettes along the top. All the
subjects are beneath architectural canopies.

Left leaf. Above are the Annunciation and the Salutation ;
below, the Virgin crowned, standing with the Child flanked by two
angels holding candlesticks. The Virgin holds a flower and the
Child a fruit.

Right leaf . Above, the Last Judgment. Below, the Crucifixion
between the Virgin and St John. Our Lord is enthroned between
two angels holding the Instruments of the Passion, and the
kneeling figures of the Virgin and St John : in a trefoiled com-
partment beneath the dead are seen issuing from their tombs.

Plate IX. French, First half of the 1 4/// century.
H. 7 in. B. 6J in.

The hinges are modern ; the tapers from the candlesticks borne by the
angels are broken off.

The Last Judgment in this abbreviated form is found on other ivories of the

D. 7


period, e.g. the diptych in the Louvre (R. Koechlin in A. Michel's Histoire de
Part, p. 485, fig. 320).

The complete version of this scene as conceived by the artists of the Gothic
period includes the weighing of the souls, the separation of the righteous from
the lost, &c. as represented in the sculptures of Laon, Chartres, Paris, Amiens,
and Bourges. The Gothic tradition, based upon St Matthew as well as Revela-
tion, with additions such as the introduction of the Virgin and St John as
intercessors, was embodied in the Elucidariuui of Vincent de Beauvais (ch. xi).

A minor point of interest is that the dead are all represented as in the prime
of life, it being held that all will rise of the same age as that of Our Lord at his
crucifixion, namely thirty years.

For the whole subject, see E. Male, Lart religieux du xill* siecle en France^
pp. 465 ff. ; for the Last Judgment in English Gothic sculpture, W. R. Lethaby,
Archaeologia^ Vol. LX, pp. 379 ff.

40. Right leaf of a Diptych, subjects in two zones under
architectural canopies.

Below. The Nativity and Annunciation to the shepherds.
Above. The Coronation of the Virgin.

Plate X. French., First half of the 1 4//^ century.

H. 6|". B. 3f". From the Bateman Collection (Catalogue, Sotheby's,
April, 1893, no. 35).

The holes for hinges are on the left. There is a hole at the top of the panel
in the middle.

The Coronation of the Virgin is a subject unknown to Early Christian and
Byzantine art, and only becoming common in the West with the thirteenth
century. It is not directly suggested by any passage either of Scripture or
legend but indications from various sources combined to stimulate the artists'
imagination until the typical rendering was evolved. Thus in the Golden
Legend Christ is made to say, " Come from Lebanon and receive the Crown " :
and the Virgin comes and seats herself by the side of her son : while the verse
of the Psalm, astitit rcgina a dextris ejus in vestitii deaurato^ may have served
to complete the ideal picture (see E. Male, Vart religieux du xill« siecle,
p. 328).

41. Left leaf of a Diptych, subjects in two zones under
architectural canopies.

Above. The Crucifixion between the Virgin and St John ; the
Virgin is supported by two women. Behind St John stand two
Jews in pointed caps.

Below. The Murder of Becket.


To ;-. is the altar, behind which stands a priest holdint^ out a
cross. Before it kneels Becket attacked from behind b\' the three

Plate X. Frriu/t, First half of the \\th century.

H. 4fj5^ in. From the Magniac Collection (Sale Catalogue, Christie's, 1892,
no. 256).

The type of the Crucifixion is one commonly found in French ivories. The
subject of the lower zone would not, in any case, justify the assumption that
this ivory is English, as the martyrdom of Becket is of frequent occurrence
upon French works of art, notably on the enamelled reliquaries of Limoges.
The subject is rare upon ivory carvings, but need not arouse suspicion, as it
appears on a diptych-leaf figured in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1786 (Vol.
LVi, p. 925, and plate for November). It is found, again below the Crucifixion,
on another leaf of a diptych of the fourteenth century, no. 486 of the Romberg
Collection, Sale Catalogue, Paris, 1908.

42. Triptych. The centre and leaves have all two zones,
the scenes in each case being surmounted by crocketed canopies.
The sequence of subjects begins at the bottom left-hand corner
with the interview of Judas and the Jews; the ne.xt scenes, the
Betrayal and death of Judas, occupy the bottom of the central
panel ; on the bottom of the right leaf is the Flagellation. Passing
to the upper compartment of the left leaf, we find Our Lord
bearing his cross on the road to Calvary ; on the central panel, the
Crucifixion between the Virgin and St John, and the Descent from
the Cross ; and in the upper compartment of the right leaf the

Plate X. French, middle of the \\th century.

H. 5| in. Total breadth 8^ in.

In the Death of Judas, one leg is broken off. In the Flagellation, the
column is broken. The hands of several figures are also damaged. There are
traces of red pigment and gilding upon the architecture. The subjects of four-
teenth-century ivories are often arranged as here so as to be read from the
bottom, in the same way as in stained-glass windows.

43. Group: the Virgin and Child seated on a throne with

high back on the top of which stand small figures of angels playing

musical instruments. To the left stands St Elizabeth holding a

basket and a bunch of ; to the right, St Catherine with wheel

and sword.

Plate XI. Spanish., \6th century.
H. 8J in.



44. Bronze two-handled Vase, turned on the lathe,
decorated with champleve enamel in seven horizontal bands.

I (top). Vertical sprigs side by side on a red ground.

2. Maeander on a green ? ground.

3. A conventional garland on red.

4. A vine scroll with birds, on orange.

5. A lozenge chequer of red, green and orange in horizontal

6. As no. 3, but the ground alternately red and green. On
the outer side of the handles is a herring-bone pattern ; on the
base, concentric turned circles.

Plate XII. Provincial Roman, -i^rd century.

H. 4J in. From the Forman Collection (Catalogue, Sotheby's, June, 1899,
no. 168).

The colours have largely perished, and some are not easy to determine with

For enamels of the class represented by this vase and the following numbers
see Introduction, p. 39.

45. Bronze Pricket Candlestick, decorated with champ-
leve enamel. Round the pan are squares and Vandykes alternately
blue and white ; round the upper part of the base a laurel wreath
on a green (?) ground ; on the lower part a vandyked design
coloured blue and white, the blue triangles each having an orange-
red spot. On the bottom edge, a row of rectangles once enamelled-

Plate XII. Provincial Roman, -^^rd century.

H. 3I in. From the Magniac Collection (Catalogue, Christie's, July, 1892,
no. 661).

Perhaps made on the Meuse.

46. Bronze Inkpot (?), with champleve enamel. It is shaped
like an egg-cup, with a flat mouth partly closed, and a small
baluster stopper clipping by means of a slot.

Round the sides are three zones, two with gadroons alternately
red, blue and green (?), the third with radiating rays on similar


grounds. Inside the top, and on tlie top of the stopper, are bands
of red enamel. The stopper is pierced lengthwise.

Plate XII. Provincial Roman., yd century.

H. 3] in. From the Forman Collection, no. 169.

The use of this object is conjectural.

47 — 51. Five Fr.vgment.s. On one, the head and shoulders
of a beardless inscribed figure in a niandorla are reserved in the
metal on a background of lapis blue on which are reserved scrolls :
similar scrolls are in the spandrels. Another, belonging to the
same plaque, has the lower part of a figure seated on the rainbow
within a mandorla (Our Lord).

The third and fourth make the complete figure of a sainted
archbishop with a crozier, beneath a round arch ; the last, a smaller
and almost triangular fragment, has part of a wing.

Plate XXI. French., Limoges, xzth century.

Dimensions from 4I in. to 2| in. Formerly in the Magniac Collection
(no. 250 b).

The edges of these fragments have been bevelled and morticed, and in one
a hole has been made for a lock. A great deal of the enamel is lost. The
colours used are lapis blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red, white, and a pink for
faces and hands. The figures are in some cases reserved on an enamelled
ground, in others enamelled on a ground punched with quatrefoils, stars and
circles, as in the case of the book-cover no. 55, and of a pax in the Musee de Cluny
at Paris (E. Rupin, Lceirore de Limoges, p. 571 ; Rohault de Fleury, La Messe,
VI, pi. 496, and Du Sommerard, Les arts au Moyen Age, Album, 2nd series,
pi. xxxix).

52. End of a Reliquary, champleve enamel on copper.

On a background of lapis blue enamel relieved by a scroll
design reserved in the metal, the stems terminating in flowers of
coloured enamel, two bearded saints, also reserved in the metal, are
seated with their feet resting upon footstools of turquoise blue.
They are crowned and wear long garments ; the nimbus of eacii is
enamelled with various shades of green, blue and white. Below is
a broad reserved band with an inscription filled with blue enamel :
EXVLTABVNT : DNO : OSSA : HVMILIATA (Psalm li. 8). Below this
is a wavy band of dark and light blue enamel variegated with spots
of red. At the bottom are two sarcophagi the fronts of which are
ornamented with strigils in green, blue and red : they are without


lids, and within them are seen skulls and bones in white enamel.
Between them is a floral scroll. All the metal is gilt ; and the
details of the figures engraved.

Plate XIV. Limoges., \2,th century.

H. gi in. B. 7 in. Formerly in the Debruge Dumenil and Hastings
Collections. J. Labarte, Description des objets (fart qui composent la collection
Debruge Diimeitil, Paris, 1847, no. 681, p. 581.

The companion panel, which in 1847 was in private hands at Lyon, is
illustrated and described in Cahier and Martin's Melanges cV archMogie
ChrJtienne, Vol. I, pi. 44 and p. 247. It was sold at the sale of the collection of
M. Homberg in May, 1908. It has two similar saints seated in the same
manner above two open sarcophagi, but the strigils in this case are yellow, and
the inscription is :

CVSTODIT DNS OMNIA OSS.-^ SrOR (Custodit Dominus Omnia ossa Sanctorum,
Psalm 1. 10).

The representation of coffins with strigils upon the sides is probably due
to the imitation of classical sarcophagi. It occurs again upon the end of a
Limoges enamelled reliquary in the Carrand Collection in the Bargello at
Florence {Les Arts, July, 1904, p. 10).

53. OUATREFOIL PLAQUE, enamelled copper. On a metal
ground punched with circles and quatrefoils is a figure of an angel
holding a cross in his right hand. He wears a dark blue mantle
bordered with paler blue and white ; his wings are enamelled with
three shades of blue, red and white ; his hair and eyes are dark
blue ; his nimbus turquoise with yellow rim. Round the plaque
runs an enamelled wavy border with bands of red, dark blue, white,
and turquoise.

Limoges, i2,th century.

D. 3]^5 in. Formerly in the Magniac Collection (Sale Catalogue, Christie's,
1892, no. 665).

54. Crucifix, enamelled copper upon oak, with an applied
bronze figure of Christ. The ground of the enamel is of lapis blue
dotted with small lozenges and circles of green and yellow, and red
and white, with red centres. Round the edges runs a border of
white shading into pale and dark blue, and the ends of the arms
terminate in quadruple wavy bands in red, dark blue, pale blue and
white. The central cross to which the figure is applied is dark
green shading off to pale green and yellow : the suppedaneuni on
which the feet rest is dark blue, and has on it white circles with red


centres. The nimbus is of concentric circles of red, dark blue,
pale blue and white, and the cross contained in it is red and yellow.
The lower extremity is occupied by imbrications of various colours
representing the rocks of Golgotha. At the top of the upper limb,
reserved in the metal, is the hand of the Almighty, and below this,
on two transverse reserved bands, the inscription ifis xPs ; on the
lower limb a beardless figure is represented rising from a tomb, the
whole also reserved in the metal. To the back of this limb is
nailed a plaque of gilt copper ornamented with a punched scroll
design enclosing two circular spaces to which medallions were
probably applied. The Christ is not in the round, but a hollow
half-figure without back : it is in the usual style, crowned, and with
inlaid black enamel eyes, the feet pierced with two separate nails,
and the muscles of the arms conventionally represented by punched
lines. Like all the other metal-work upon the cross, it was formerly

Limoges^ 13/// century.

H. I3|in. B. 7iin.

The enamel had been damaged in several places: between the Dextera
Domini and the nimbus, and at the extremities of the top, bottom and left
limbs. In all these places it has been restored with a coloured and varnished

The figure issuing from the tomb below the cross represents Adam, and
occurs both in Carolingian and Byzantine art (see E. Molinier, Gazette des
Beaux- Arts, 1898, p. 483).

55. Panel from a Book-cover ; the Crucifixion between
the Virgin and St John. The figure of Our Lord is in relief, the
two others reserved in the metal. His feet rest upon a suppe-
danenm, below which is the skull of Adam. On the upper limb of
the cross are a titulus with IHS XPS and the Dextera Domini : and
on either side of it the bust of an angel holding a book. The cross,
which is green, rises from an imbricated hill, and across the whole
panel run two bands of turquoise enamel. The ground is of lapis
blue, enriched with rosettes of various colours.

Plate XV. French {Limoges), \2)th century.


For the skull of Adam cf the enamelled book-covers formerly in the Spitzer
Collection {La Collection Spitzer, \o\. I, Orfivrerie religieuse, no. 48, p. 113,


and no. 59, p. 116). Examples of its occurrence are numerous in Western as
well as in Byzantine art. For the tradition that the first man was buried upon
Golgotha, see no. 38 abo\ c.

The imbricated mount l:)c]o\v the cross is frequent ; cf a panel in the
Collection of I\I. O. Homberg, which also lias the transverse bands of turquoise
{Les Ar/s, December, 1904, p. 39). It is also seen on the earlier diptych known
as the diptych of Rambona in the Vatican Library (R. Kanzler, Gh' avori &c.,
pi. V, and X'enturi, Storia lielP arte italia/ia, II, p. 174).

56. Ornamknt.s of a Book-cover. The manuscript, which
contains the Hours of the Virgin bound in green velvet, has rivetted
to both covers champleve enamels consisting in each case of a
central plaque and four narrow bands forming a border.

On the upper cover the plaque, which is oval and of the shape
of a mandorla, has reserved in the metal a beardless saint standing
to the right, grasping his mantle in his left hand and holding his
right over his breast. He wears beneath his mantle a tunic with a
broad hatched collar, and has an enamelled nimbus with concentric
bands of red, green and yellow. The background is of lapis blue
crossed by two horizontal bands of turquoise and enriched with six
discs each of three colours, red, green and yellow, or red, blue and
white. The narrow plaque at the top of the border is horizontally
divided by a band of zigzag in red : the three triangular spaces
below this are filled by busts of aiigels reserved in the metal upon
a lapis ground ; the spaces above, by a diaper of small reserved
crosses on the same ground. The plaque at the bottom is similarly
ornamented, except that the zigzag band is white, and the lower
triangular spaces are filled by a bird, a quadruped and a wyvern.
The side plaques, which resemble each other, have the same diaper
of reserved, on which is a row of reserved lozenges with red
edges, each containing an enamelled quatrefoil in red, blue and

The lower cover has in the middle a similar saint to right, but
the lapis blue background is enriched with small reserved lozenges
instead of enamelled discs. The plaque forming the border at the
top is similar to that on the upper cover, but has only two angels,
beyond which at either end are smaller triangles with foliate design :
the bottom border has three wyverns and part of a foliation ; the
sides are like those of the upper cover.


Plate Xl'I. \2)th century.

H. 7l in. B. 4}sin.

The enamel in tlie ciuatrefoils and bands of zigzag is considerably damaged.
The plaques forming the borders have been cut from longer strips.

'Hie style of the central plaques has suggested doubts as to their authen-
ticity. Other narrow borders of a similar kind are to be seen in the Galerie
d'Apollon in the Louvre: cf also Du Sommerard, Les Arts au Moyen Age,
Album, Series 11, pi. xxxviii, and the Casket, no. 58 below. The arrangement
of reserved animals, &c. in a band of lozenges occurs on the narrow enamelled
strips which ornament the reliquaries made on the Rhine in the second half of
the twelfth century. See Von Falke, Deutsche Schmelzarbeiten &c., coloured
plates xxi — xxiii, and cf. J. J. ^L1rquet de Vasselot, La Collection Martin Le
Roy, 1, pis. X and xi.

57. Sunk Oak Panel, covered with gilt copper plaques, and
having in the middle the Crucifixion between the Virgin and
St John, in champleve enamel. On a background of gilt copper
punched with quatrefoils and rosettes is an enamelled cross of lapis
blue seme with discs composed of various colours in concentric
bands : to this is applied a figure of Our Lord resembling that of
no. 2, but with a dark blue loincloth, the feet resting upon a
siippedanaim of turquoise blue. On the upper limb of the cross is
a band reserved in the metal, with the letters IHS XPS filled with
turquoise blue enamel. On either side of the cross are applied
figures of the Virgin and St John, the former wearing a dark blue
mantle over a paler blue tunic, and having her hands crossed over
the breast ; the latter in a mantle of similar colour over a green
tunic, holding in hi.^ left hand the book of his Gospel enamelled in
red and white, and raising his right hand before his breast. Both
figures stand upon footstools of turquoise blue: the eyes are in
each case formed by vitreous black beads. Above the arms of the
cross are two applied busts of angels, each raising the right hand
and holding a book in the left. Their mantles are enamelled in
red, white and lapis blue, their tunics with green and yellow, their
wings with yellow, lapis and turquoise. The background is enriched
by rows of cabochon glass pastes of red, blue, and dark and light
green in raised settings.

The raised border is covered with gilt metal punched as before
with quatrefoils and stars over which are applied at the four corners
angular plaques having scrolls reserved in the metal on a lapis blue


ground, and in the angle, medallions of turquoise blue containing
reserved metal stars. Between these corner plates are four small
rectangular plaques with large reserved stars on turquoise blue
grounds, and cabochon pastes in square raised settings.

Limoges, 13/// centiay.

H. I2|in. B. 7|in.

The right-hand angel, the angular plaques at the right-hand top and left-
hand bottom corners and the small plaques in the middle of the border at top
and bottom are brighter in colour than the other enamels which suggests the
possibility that they are restorations.

Formerly in the Sneyd Collection at Keele Hall. On the back are labels
showing that it was exhibited at the Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester in
1857, and in the National Exhibition of Works of Art at Leeds in 1868. The
style is that of certain Limoges reliquaries of the thirteenth century covered in
the same way with engraved copper plaques ornamented with cabochon pastes
and applied figures fixed by rivets. A reliquary formerly in the Spitzer Collec-
tion had the Crucifixion similarly represented {La Collection Spitzer, Paris, 1900,
Vol. I, Orfevrerie religieusc, pi. x, no. 26). A panel in the same style with the
same subject is upon a book-cover in the treasury of the Cathedral of Lyon

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14

Online LibraryFitzwilliam Museum. McClean BequestCatalogue of the mediaeval ivories, enamels, jewellery, gems and miscellaneous objects bequeathed to the museum by Frank McClean → online text (page 11 of 14)