12
12
French, Limoges, 1210-1220
BOOK COVER WITH THE CRUCIFIXION
Estimation
50 00070 000
Lot. Vendu 93,750 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
12
French, Limoges, 1210-1220
BOOK COVER WITH THE CRUCIFIXION
Estimation
50 00070 000
Lot. Vendu 93,750 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art

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Londres

French, Limoges, 1210-1220
BOOK COVER WITH THE CRUCIFIXION
gilt and champlevé enamelled copper, on a modern velvet covered wood stand
plaque: 24 by 11.3cm., 9½ by 4½in.
stand: 26.2 by 15.2 by 11cm., 10¼ by 6 by 4 3/8 in.
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Provenance

Jose Graells, Barcelona, 1967
European noble collection

Bibliographie

M.-M. Gauthier, É. Antione, and D. Gaborit-Chopin (eds.), Corpus des émaux méridionaux. Tome II. L’apogée 1190-1215, Paris, 2011, no. VC 8

Description

This large central plaque from a book cover was last seen in the collection of Jose Graells in Barcelona in 1967 when it was recorded for the archive of Marie-Madeleine Gauthier (op.cit.). Originally the plaque would have had a raised metalwork border (usually with champlevé enamel decoration itself) and would have been mounted on a wooden board. Only a handful of book covers of this type have survived with their books intact, often in medieval monasteries such as that at St.-Gallen (see CEM, op.cit., no. VA 7). They tend to have the Crucifixion at the front and Christ in Majesty on the reverse. The workshops in Limoges first created book covers around 1185-1190. Because of their durability, and the efficient manner in which Limoges enamels could be produced and transported, the demand for these covers shot up throughout Europe in the early decades of the 13th century, meaning that about ten times as many from this later period survive.

Plaques with the Crucifixion mostly follow the present composition: a blue background is divided in four quarters by the cross with Christ at its centre, angels fill the upper two registers and the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist, standing atop mounds that invoke Golgotha, fill the lower, the arison Adam or his skull lay at the base of the cross. The upper and lower edges tend to be decorated with waves, whilst the background is adorned with bands of colour or rosettes. The Virgin, Saint John, the risen Adam, and the angels are engraved and gilt rather than enamelled and usually enlivened by appliques which so often repeat the same model that they are likely to have been struck like coins. 

Of the 149 plaques with the Crucifixion recorded in the two volumes of the Corpus des émaux méridionaux, less than half have a full-length applique of Christ instead of an engraved body surmounted with an applique of just the head. Even though Adam features regularly, the fine detail of him lifting the convincingly rendered three-dimensional lid of his coffin under the suppedaneum appears only twice: on the plaque formerly in the Collection Aldao and that in the Church of San Vicente in Cardona (CEM, op.cit., nos. VC 62 and VB 9). Equally rare is the diagonal decoration on Adam’s coffin, five-tiered mounds consisting of flame-shapes on which the Virgin and Saint John stand, and the unframed clouds from which the angels emerge. Otherwise the appliques that represent Christ and the heads of the other figures are of superior quality and in an excellent state of preservation. The dark blue fields have retained a particularly rich cobalt shade.

RELATED LITERATURE
M.-M. Gauthier, É. Antione, and D. Gaborit-Chopin (eds.), Corpus des émaux méridionaux. Tome II. L’apogée 1190-1215, Paris, 2011, pp. 207-211, nos. VB 9 and VC 62

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art

|
Londres