Fitzwilliam Museum. McClean Bequest.

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

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attractive plaque (no. 78) representing the Virgin and Child seems
to be a work of its earlier years, and is evidently based upon a
picture by a master of the eclectic school of Bologna. As the
century advanced, the work tended to become coarser : several very

' Ibid. p. 58.

- Those in the British Museum are not specially remarkable. For the examples in
the Victoria and Albert Museum see Archaeological Journal, 1901, p. 250. A fine
14th-century example with the Crucifixion is in the Church of the Holy Cross at
Rostock (Zeitschrift fiir Christlichc Kunst, 1895, pp. 278 ff.).

•* Examples in the great Museums. A remarkably fine specimen is in the Dutuit
Collection in the Petit Palais, Paris. Such dishes continued to be made in the
17th century.


rough examples assigned to Venice are in the Victoria and Albert
Museum, together with an English portrait of a lady. The last
and worst phase of the art was reached when inferior mezzotints
were stuck to the glass, scraped so thin as to be quite transparent,
and finally coarsely coloured, from the back. Such pictures are
still frequently to be seen in cottages and in the curiosity shops in
English towns.

It was in the eighteenth century that the term Verve ^glomise
was first used to describe painting under glass, and since it has
firmly established itself in the language of the sale room and the
catalogue, it may be well to explain its origin \ A certain
M. Glomy, calling himself dcssinatenr, but largely occupied with
the framing of pictures, lived at the corner of the rue de Bourbon
and the rue Saint-Claude at Paris. He was especially known for
t.he pictures painted on glass which he framed and sold : they
became so fashionable and were so widely distributed that the
word egloiniser was coined to describe them. M. Darcel drew
attention to a passage in Ulntennidiaire'^ which proved that the
word soon travelled as far as Lyon. Now it was precisely at Lyon
that M. Carrand the elder first printed the word in a catalogue of
paintings under glass published about 1825. Henceforward its
fortune was made ; it was generally adopted by collectors, and
found its way into the catalogue of the Musee de Cluny : the
Italians also incorporated it into their language, giving it the
form Vetro agglomizzato. In this disguise its pedigree would be
difficult indeed to trace: it has a certain fine archaic sound,
suggesting an old descent and an intrinsic meaning. Like many
other unsatisfactory terms which have the merit of brevity it is
retained as a matter of convenience, and the efforts to dislodge it
have hitherto been unsuccessful. And it must be admitted that
^glomiser has the same position in the French language as the
word macadamise in our own,

^ The information given above is derived from an article by M. Bonnaffe in tiie
Chronique des Arts, 1884, the substance of which is reproduced in La Collection Spitzer,
II, pp. 54 ff.

- Vol. XIV, col. 514. " J'ai une aquarelle sous verre, qui est entouree d'un encadre-
nient noir brode de filets d'or. Ces filets ont etc peints h. I'envers du verre, ainsi que la
bande noire. y a au bas, ecrit a la pointe seche dans le noir: ' eglomise par Hoeth a
Lvon.' "


Such are a few of tlic points to which an examination of the
more important divisions of the McClean Bequest, the jewellery,
the ivory carvings, the enamels, and the glass paintings, may
attract the student's notice. It has long been a matter for regret
that there were few such objects in the Fitzwilliam Museum, and
that the opportunity of awakening an interest in the minor arts of
mediaeval times was lost through the absence of actual examples.
The McClean Bequest has done much to make good the deficiency;
a study of its contents should help all who feel a sympathy with
the artistic aims of the Middle Ages to appreciate in a higher
degree the great collections in London and in the cities of
continental Europe ; it should add a richer colour and a greater
wealth of detail to their mental pictures of mediaeval history, and
introduce them to fields of research perhaps too little frequented
by British scholars.


Jewellery and Engraved Gems.

1. Gold penannular Armlet, with expanding ends.

Plate I. Prehistoric.

W. 2Y^7^in. The armlet dates from the latter part of the bronze age. A
series of examples of this form in the British Museum were found in 1906 and
1907 at Bexley, near Dartford, Kent.

2. Gold, part of a Torc, twisted from three wires.

Plate II. Viking period.
W. 2ijin.

3. Fibula, bronze gilt. It is of the "cross-bow" type, with
long hollow stem, ornamented at the edges with raised pelta-like
crescents, and high arched bow terminating in a knob, the cross-
piece ending in similar knobs : a band of nielloed ornament runs
along the middle of the bow and stem, the design consisting of
alternate lozenges and rings. The pin works on a wire within the
hollow cross-bar, and passes through a lateral slit in the stem.

Roman, ^th century.

L. 4-34 in.

For fibulae of this type see Bonner Jahrbiicher, Heft 112, p. 396 ; Linden-
schmit, Alterthiimer totserer heidnischen Vorzeit, Vol. ill, Heft II, pi. iv. The
type begins towards the close of the third century and continues throughout
the fourth. An interesting example with a Christian monogram, and offering
many points of resemblance to that here described, is in the British Museum
{Catalogue of Early Christian and Byzatitine Antiquities, no. 256). One at
Mainz, figured by Lindenschmit, as above, fig. 6, is also closely similar.


4. Circular Brooch, the front of gold plates, the disc at
the back of silver. In the centre of the front is a high boss with
cruciform bars uj)(in a base of shell or ivory : round it are four
equidistant sockets once containing shell, and between these a
cruciform design of garnets on concentric circles alternately of
garnet and filigree. The side-edges are ornamented with cable
wire and parallel sunk lines. The back has round the edge a
band of zoomorphic design, and from it project the hinge and
socket of a pin, both riveted and engraved with simple ornament.

Plate II. Jutish, First half of the Jth century.

D. 3 J in. From the King's Field, Favershani. F'ormerly in the Kennard

This is one of a number of fine Jutish brooches found for the most part in
Kent, though a few have been found elsewhere, notable examples being two
found near Abingdon in Berkshire (Akerman, Pagan Suxondotn, pi. iii ;
Archaeological Journal., iv, p. 253; Victoria County History., Berkshire., Vol. I,
p. 241). The finest example of all is the Kingston brooch, discovered on
Kingston Down by Bryan Faussett between 1767 and 1773 {Inventorium
Sepulcrale., pp. 35 — 94). Others of great beauty have been excavated at Sarre
in a cemetery which yielded coins of Heraclius (d. 641), Maurice Tiberius
(d. 602) and Chlotaire II (d. 628). For these see Victoria County History,
Kent, Vol. i, pp. 357—358-

The King's Field at Faversham proved a very prolific site, and a fine series
of inlaid brooches and other objects obtained there were bequeathed to the
nation by Mr W. Gibbs in 1870. They are now in the British Museum.

5. Gold Disc for a Brooch, with a design of inlaid garnets
forming a circle from which radiate four triangles. Within the
design are stepped cloisons with eight lapis pastes .symmetrically
disposed. The remaining stones are garnets.

Between the triangles are four circular settings, three empty, the

other containing a carbuncle. The ground is ornamented with

filigree circles,

Plate III. Jutish, First half of the jth century.
D. if in. From the King's Field, Faversham.

6. Gold Bracteate, embossed with two interlaced lacertine
monsters on a ground of chequers : loop for suspension.

Plate HI. Jutish, First half of the yth century.
D. i\ in. From the King's Field, Faversham.

A gold bracteate stamped with a star pattern was found with the Kingston
Brooch {Victoria County History, Kent, Vol. I, pi. ii, fig. 10, opposite p. 360).


7. Gold Bracteatp: with concentric design of stamped
chequered triangles. Central setting, now empty, and raised
pearled border.

Jutish, First half of the "jth century.

D. I J in. From the King's Field, Faversham.

8. Gold openwork Ornament in the form of a cross
contained in a circle : the borders pearled throughout.

Plate I. Jiitish., jth century.

D. \^ in. From the King's Field, Faversham.

9. Circular Brooch, bronze overlaid with a gold plate on
which is a cruciform design enriched at the ends with four
carbuncles : between the arms are ornaments of glass pastes and
other materials. In the centre is a raised circular setting, now
empty. The ground is covered with S-scrolls and circles, and
round the edge is a cable border. At the back is an iron pin
much rusted.

Plate III. Prankish., late Zth century.
D. 2 in. From the Forman Collection.

For brooches of the class represented by this and the following
number see H. Baudot, Menioire siir les sepultures des harbares de
Vepoque Merovingienne, pis. xii — xiii ; C. Boulanger, Alobilier
funeraire gallo-romain et franc, pi. 37.

10. Another, without any disc at the back. The design is a
cross formed of garnets in cells. Between them, and in the centre,
are pastes (dark blue, turquoise blue, and green) in high settings.
The ground is covered with filigree of a confused design.

Plate III. Prankish., late Zth century.
D. 2| in. From the Forman Collection.

11. Bronze Buckle. The oblong strap-plate is covered with
cells all formerly containing garnets, of which many are now lost.
The central panel has a square inscribed in a lozenge, at each end
of which are corresponding formal designs : the whole is contained


in a border of oblongs bisected by diagonal lines. On the tongue
of the buckle are inlaid three garnets. The bronze of the buckle
was once gilt.

Plate II. Frankish^ early 6th eentiiry.
L. 4^ in. From the Bateman Collection.

Cf. C. Boulanger, as above, Introduction, p. Ivii, figs. 109— iii, and pi. 25 ;
A. Gotze, Gotische Schnallen^ p. 22 and pi. xiii.

Engraved Gems and Pastes.

Note. — Left and right are considered from the point of view of the

12. Chalcedony ; scaraboid pierced longitudinally ; a winged
quadruped to left.

Plate. Perso-Greek, z^th century B.C.
L. 102 in.

Nos. 13 — 24 are all of the Graeco-Roman period between the first century B.C.
and the close of the second century of our era.

13. Sard (fragment); a laureated head to r.

L. "6 in.

It is difficult to decide whether this gem is of the Augustan age or a clever
eighteenth-century imitation. In either case it is a work of fine quality.
Modern setting.

14. Garnet, cabochon; Fortuna standing to /. holding a
cornucopia and a torch.

\st century A.D.

L. 72 in. Modern setting.

15. NiCOLO ; a young Satyr standing to r. dandling a child
and playing a pipe.

L. "54 in. Modern setting.

16. Green Paste ; a young Satyr with a goat; to /., a tree.

L. '42 in. Modern setting.
D. 6


17. Sard; Eros seated to /. ; before him a bird upon the top
of a cage.

1st century A.D.

L. "24 in.

A fragment is broken from one end. The setting is modern.

18. NICOLO ; a boar standing to r.

ind—y^d century A.D.

L. "44 in. Modern setting.

19. NiCOLO; a gryllu.s.
L. "34 in. Modern setting.

The following arc doubtful.

20. NicOLO Paste; head of a bearded Satyr to r.
L. "36 in. Modern setting.

21. Yellow Sard (fragment) ; a horse to /.

\st — ind century A.D.

L. '34 in. Modern setting.

22. Paste ; a peacock to r.
L. '42 in. Modern setting

23. Sard ; cattle and sheep.

\st — 2Hd century .A..D. ?

L. -64 in. '


24. Heliotrope ; Helios driving his car to r.: in the exergue '

B. F. F. S.

L. •46 in. i


Gnostic. |


25. Chrysoprase ; Chnoubis to r. ; in the field vertical in- i

scription in two lines XNOY | BIG

L. '46 in.



26. C(-)Mr()sn ION ? A figure witli hiiinan body anJ animal
head resembling the god Set, and wearing a loincloth to the knees,
stands to r. To r. and /. of him is the (direct) inscription :


n e


1 A

e p e



e 1 N



1 B P




L. 76 in. Modern setting.

27. Haematite.

Obverse: a standing female figure, swathed, with /. arm raised
to the head and holding an indeterminate object in her ;'. hand.
Above, three feathers .' Rev. inscription in direct letters :

B t


y A B O)

L. •62 in.

28. Pale Sard ; Canopic jar to r. ; above, feathers.

L. '56 in.

Modern setting. The authenticity of this gem is not quite certain.

29. Haematite.

Male figure in long garment standing to /. holding a sistrum in
his r. and a bucket in his /. Before him is an altar on which is
seen a uraeus.

L. '52 in. Modern setting.


On vSassanian gems see
J. Menant, Les picrres gravies de la Haute Asi'e, rechcrchcs sur la glyptique
orientale ;



L. de Clercq, Collection de Clcrcq : Catalot^tic Du'tliodiqiic ct yaison}u\&.c.^\o\. ii,
1903 (plates iv — vii);

F. \V. Thomas, /('«;7/, Royal Asiatic Society, xui, p. 414 ;

Paul Horn, Mittheilungen aiis deii orieiitalischen Satntnlungen der koniglichen
Museeti zii Berlin, Heft iv, 1891, and Zeitschrift der deutschen Morgen-
Idndischeu Gesellschaft, XLlv, Leipsic, 1890, pp. 650 ff. (Collection in the
British Museum) ;

G. Steindorff, Mittheilungen, as above (Collection in the Berlin Museum) ;

A. Furtwangler, Antike Gemmen, Vol. ill ; and various publications by
Mr C. \V. King.
Sassanian cameos exist in some numbers. The fine specimens in the
Cabinet des Medailles of the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris are reproduced
by E. Babelon, Catalogue des Camees antiques et inodernes, nos. 359 ff., Paris,

30. Chalcedony; Seal in form of a ring with channelled
hoop and oval bezel engraved in intaglio with a wolf-like animal
above a wild sheep (pasang).

D. 1-15 in.

This is quite a usual form of Sassanian signet, and the channelling of the
hoop is also conmion (cf de Clercq, Catalogue, as above, pi. v, fig. 95).
Animals and monsters of various kinds are common upon the intaglio stones
of the new Persian monarchy, and numerous examples are to be seen among
the collections of great museums.

31. Another ; the bezel engraved in intaglio with a female
figure standing to right beneath a round arch.

D. I -2 in.

Doubts have been expressed as to the genuine character of this signet, but
in view of the uncertainty attending the judgment of Sassanian stones it has
been included in the catalogue. It is well known that falsifications are common
and that Bagdad is probably a principal centre of their manufacture (Horn,
Zeitschrift, as above, p. 677). A female figure holding a lotus is a not infrequent
subject among Sassanian gems. For the long plait of hair worn by such figures
see Furtwangler, as above, p. 123, and The Treasure of the Oxus, British
Museum, 1905, no. 103.

Ivory Carvings.

32 and 33. Two Panels, perhaps from an episcopal throne.

(i) Two bearded figures (Evangelists) in tunic and pallium
and wearing shoes open over the instep stand between columns


with Corinthian capitals surmounted by an architrave. Each holds
in his left hand a book, on the cover of which is a form of the
sacred Monogram, and bends the fingers of his right in a gesture
signifying conversation.

.Above the architrave is the scene of the Healing of the Paralytic.
In the middle, the healed man in a short tunic advances to the
right carrying his bed and bedding on his back, and looking back
over his shoulder. Our Lord stands behind him, extending his
right hand in the Latin gesture of benediction ; he is youthful and
beardless, and without nimbus ; he is dressed in tunic and pallium
with sandals, and carries a cross in his left hand. On the right, a
bearded apostle, similarly clad, holds up his right hand in sign of
admiration. In the background is seen a wall, with round-arched

(2) In the lower part of the panel are the two remaining
Evangelists almost identical with the preceding, except that the
right hand of the figure to the right touches the gospel which he
carries. The scene above the architrave represents Christ with the
woman of Samaria at the well. On the right, the woman stands
facing the well, which is in the middle. She raises her right hand
in astonishment, while with her left she holds the cord by which a
bucket is suspended. Our Lord advances from the left as in the
companion scene but with less rapid motion. The background is
as before.

Plate IV. Egypt or Syria, 6th cent my.

L. 13^ in. B. sl in. P'rom the Bateman Collection.

In the 17th century these panels were in the Abbey of St Maximin at
.-Luxemburg, and are brietly described and partly illustrated by the Jesuit
Alexander Wiltheim (died c. 1694) in his manuscript work Litcilibtirgensia,
sive Luxemburgum Roman ion, edited and published posthumously from an
18th-century copy by Dr A. Neijen, Lu.xemburif, 1842, nos. 188 — 189, pi. 1, and
p. 197. Also figured by Garrucci, Storia dclP arte cristiatia, vi, pi. 452 ; and
in the Catalogue of the Bateman Heirlooms, London, Sotheby's, 1893, pi. ii.
See also Westwood. Fictile ivories, '73, 28 and 28% p. 49 ; G. Stuhlfauth, Die
altchristliche Elfetibeinplastik, p. 119 (Heft 11 of J. Kicker's Archiiolooisclu
Studien ziwi Christlichen Alterthum luui Mittelalter, Freiburg and Leipsic,
1896); E. Molinier, Histoire generate des arts appliques a P Industrie, Vol. I,
Ivoires, p. 78.

These two panels are closely related to the ivories produced in the 6th
century in the Christian East, but not yet assigneil with certainty to their


particular localities. Westwood remarked their resemblance in style to the
large composite book-cover in the iiiblioth^que Nationale at Paris (Garrucci,
Storia, Vol. vi, pi. 458) which is itself related to the similar book-cover at
Etchmiadzin (J. '^{\-zygo\\s\i\, Bysnntinisc/w Di'tikniiHer.l, 1891, Das Etchmiadzin
Evaitgi-liar)^ to various ivory pyxes, and to the so-called chair of Archbishop
Maximianus at Ravenna (Garrucci, as above, pi. 419 ff.). The Paris book-cover
has both the gospel scenes which ornament the upper parts of these two panels,
and so have two of the pyxes (Garrucci, pi. 438, 4 and 5) ; the chair has the
woman at the well (Garrucci, pi. 419, 3) ; and in several other ivories the
commoner subject of the healing of the paralytic occurs. The statuesque
figures on the front of the chair are of the same family as the Evangelists upon
our panels, but the nearest parallels to these are to be found on a diptych of
the same oriental origin, one leaf of which, now in the Brussels Museum, was
formerly in the Spitzer Collection (Za Collection Spitzer, Vol. I, Paris, 1890,
Ivoires, pi. i ; Gazette Archcologiqiie^ Vol. xiv, 1889, pi. xxii ; Molinier, h'oires,
p. 55 ; J. Destrde, M usees Royaux des arts decoratifs et industriels. Catalogue
des ivoires^ Brussels, 1902, no. i, pp. i — 6), the other in the treasury of the
Cathedral of Tongres (Reusens, Elements d' archcologie Chretienne, Aix-la-
Chapelle, 1885, Vol. i, p. 194, fig. 195 ; Rohault de Fleury, La Messe, Vol. vi,
pi. 437 ; J. Helbig, La sculpture au pays de Liege, 1890, p. 13 ; C. de Roddaz,
Vart ancien a V exposition nationale Beige, Brussels, 1882, p. 34 ; Molinier,
as above, p. 55). Here St Peter and St Paul are represented in a very
similar manner, and wear the same open-fronted shoes, which are also to
be seen in the frescoes of Bawit in Egypt, dating from about the sixth
century (J. Clddat, Mem. de Vlnstitut fratti^ais d'' archcologie orientate, xil,
1904, pis. xxi, xxvii, xxxv). The composite book-cover from Murano now at
Ravenna (Garrucci, pi. 456), though its scene of the healing of the paralytic is
closely related from the iconographical point of view, appears to be stylistically
more remote than the ivories already mentioned, though Stuhlfauth {Altchrist-
liche Elfenbeinplastik, p. 121) is of the contrary opinion : on this point the
judgment of Westwood must still command assent, though there seems no
reason to follow him in suggesting the seventh century as a possible date, for
the characteristics of the work are in no way inconsistent with the art of the
sixth. Stuhlfauth's " school of Monza," to which he would assign our panels,
with the Ravenna book-cover and most of the pyxes, is now generally considered
to have only an imaginary existence ; and all the ivories which he connected
with it are held to have been really produced in the Christian East. They stand
in fact on the same footing as the other carvings already mentioned, though
some of them may have originated in a different centre. The evidence which
assigns all these ivories, however grouped, to oriental Christian art, is sufficiently
conclusive : it is supported by divergences from the Roman or Italian style, by
iconographical resemblances to mosaics, mural paintings, and manuscripts of
oriental origin or inspiration, by the use of ornamental motives native in Syria
and Egypt, and by such facts as the discovery of the characteristic Etchmiadzin
gospel-cover at Etchmiadzin, a place where it is not likely to have been imported


from tlic West. Hut precise classification within the oriental group is a
matter of much uncertainty. Thus iconographical details native to Syria-
Palestine appear on ivories which for other reasons should be connected with
Egypt. The artistic relations between these two provinces were, however, so
close about the si.\th century tliat the process of discrimination must still be
conjectural, especially in cases where the survival of a common Hellenistic
sentiment influenced the treatment of figure subjects. The streams of pilgrims
passing in and out of the Holy Land brought ideas with them and carried
others away ; the constant commercial intercourse between Alexandria, Antioch,
Ephesus and Constantinople with each other, with the western Mediterranean
ports, and with the inland regions behind them, tended to a culture of which
the leaven was Greek and the mass Asiatic.

We conclude that these panels were probably made in the sixth century in
some metropolis of the Christian East under the influence of that persistent
late-Hellenistic art which still preserved even down to the sixth century
traditions of the greater Hellenic sculpture. Recent researches have made it
probable that many large ivory diptychs and panels of the period between the
fourth and seventh centuries are related to certain sarcophagi probably made in
Antioch or Southern Anatolia, and the reliefs upon these sarcophagi in their
turn have affinities with Greek sculpture of a far earlier period. (See Strzygowski,
Journal of Hellenic Studies^ 1907, P- 99-)

The type of Evangelist holding a book inscribed with a cross goes back to
a type of prophet known to the Jewish art of Syria and Egypt before the
beginning of our era and is found very early in the mural paintings of the
catacombs (J. Wilpert, Die Malereien der Katakomber Rams, pis. xciv, cliii).
The prophets in the illustrated fifth-century world-chronicle on papyrus now in
St Petersburg are similar in appearance (Z?^;//{'.f(://rz/?6'« der k. Wiener Akademie
der Wissenschaften^ phil. hist. Klasse, Vol. i, 1904, p. 149). The curious large
ears characteristic of the figures on the front of the episcopal chair at Ravenna
and of that on one of the early panels at Berlin {Konigliche Museen, Beschrei-
bung der Bildzuerke, Elfenbeinbihhoerke^ 1902, pi. ii) are repeated in the early
art of Christian Egypt (Catalogue of the Cairo Museum, Koptische Kunst by
J. Strzygowski, pp. 243 fif.).

34. Panel. Christ enthroned, within an oval laurel wreath
suggesting a glory : in the spandrels between the wreath and the
carved border of acanthus leaves are the symbols of the Evangelists.
Our Lord is youthful and beardless, with full cheeks and long curly
hair falling upon his shoulders ; his nimbus contains a cross upon
a fluted background. He is seated upon a draped throne with a
long bolster-shaped cushion but no back, holding an open book in
his left hand, and raising his right in the Latin gesture of benedic-
tion : he wears tunic and pallium, and liis feet are bare. The


symbols of the Evangelists, which are necessarily of small size, are
similar to those commonly found in work of the period, but that of
St Matthew is represented as seated at a desk, and writing in a

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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 9 of 14)