The present work depicts the 'Bibliothèque Monumentale du Vatican', which houses 400 handwritten translations of the Papal Bull on the Immaculate Conception issued in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. The Bull proclaims that Mary, the mother of Christ, was conceived without sin and her conception was thus immaculate.
This monumental bookcase - over 6m. long- was built by Christofle & Co. in Paris between 1874 and 1878 and was exhibited at the International Exhibition of Paris in 1878. It was then presented to Pope Pius IX and placed in the Vatican where it is still on display today, located before the Sistine Chapel itself. The painter Charles Lameire was responsible for the large upper frieze, representing the nations of the world in a triumphant procession with the Church at its head.