L12230

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Lot 9
  • 9

German, Cologne, around 1180

Estimate
10,000 - 15,000 GBP
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Description

  • Plaquette in the form of a Nimbus
  • champlevé enamelled copper
  • German, Cologne, around 1180

Provenance

Engelbert-Marie, 9th Duke of Arenberg, Brussels;
Ernst Kofler and Marthe Truniger, Lucerne, before 1964 to 1971;
Edmund de Unger, London;
his sale, Sotheby's New York, The Keir Collection of Medieval Works of Art, 20 November 1997, lot 9

Exhibited

Zurich, Kunsthaus, E and M Kofler-Truniger Collection, 1964, no. 840;
Kansas City, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Medieval enamels and sculptures from the Keir Collection, 1983, no. 10

Literature

Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern, exhib. cat. Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, 1964, p. 93, no. 840;
H. Schnitzler, P. Bloch and C. Ratton, Email, Goldschmiede- und Metallarbeiten. Europäisches Mittelalter, Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern, Lucerne/ Stuttgart, 1965, vol. II, E20, pl. 34;
M. Stokstad, Medieval enamels and sculptures from the Keir Collection, exhib. cat. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, 1983, no. 10

Condition

Overall the condition of the plaque is good. There is some minor wear and dirt to the surface consistent with age including a few minor nicks to the edges. There are a few minor losses to the enamel, particularly around the hole in the centre.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

The majority of the Romanesque enamels in this private collection are from the Meuse region of the Low Countries and the Rhineland in Germany, but the group also incorporates the better-known enamels from Limoges (lots 21, 24, 29). Whereas the workshops of Limoges tended to manufacture entire objects out of champlevé enamel on copper, Mosan and Rhenish workshops preferred to produce small-scale plaques which were subsequently applied as merely one decorative element among many to the surface of larger objects (see lot 10). Although such objects are still to be found in museums and church treasuries, many enamels have survived simply as individual plaques. Enamels from this region are generally regarded as among the rarest examples of medieval craftsmanship.

Enamel is a vitrious substance, usually lead-soda or lead-potash glass with or without opacifiers and colourants, which fuses to a metal surface under heat. Although several different enamelling techniques exist, the one most commonly used between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries was the champlevé technique in which the powdered enamel was poured into grooves engraved on the metal surface, heated and then polished down to the same level as the surrounding metal. The majority of the enamels from this private collection employ this technique. In two lots this process is combined with an alternative technique called cloisonné, in which the enamel is poured into compartments formed by metal bands on the surface of the object (lots 10, 18). Basse-taille is the third technique, in which translucent enamel is applied over reliefs of gold and silver so that the colour of enamel is strongest where the relief is most deeply cut.