A LIMOGES GILT COPPER AND ENAMEL BOOK COVER, depicting the Crucifixion [Limoges, c.1200]
This book cover, depicting Christ on the cross with the Virgin on his right and John the Evangelist on his left, is an important and rare example of the work of the early Limoges enamellers.
Limoges enamel bookcovers of the late 12th and early 13th century, intended for liturgical use, followed a conventional pattern. The front, as in the present case, would have an image of the Crucifixion, while the back would depict Christ in Majesty.
(1) The plaque can be stylistically linked to a small group of book covers produced in Limoges c.1200, including one at the Musée-Château de Villevêque (E. Antoine, D. Gaborit-Chopin, M.-M. Gauthier, Corpus des Emaux méridionaux, II, L'Apogée, 1190-1215, Paris, 2011, VB, no 37, pp.222-23 and VC, no 3) and, in particular, another at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Acc. no 17.190.785; see also A. Pératé, Collections Georges Hoentschel: Émaux du XIIe au XVe siècle, Paris, 1911, no 53, fig. XXX). (2) SIMON GOLDSCHMIDT (d. 1924); sale at Drouot, Paris, 27 May 1937, lot 50. (3) MAURICE BURRUS.
M.-M. Gauthier, Emaux Méridionaux - Catalogue international de l'Oeuvre de Limoges, I, l'Epoque Romane, Paris, 1987, cats. 162-165, pp. 155-157, pls. CLVI-CLVII, figs. 553-554.
M.-M. Gauthier and G. François, Medieval Enamels - Masterpieces from the Kier Collection, London, 1981, p. 15, no 6, pl. 6.
Paris, New York, Musée du Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, L'oeuvre de Limoges, Emaux limousins du Moyen-Age, 23 Oct. 1995 - 22 Jan. 1996 and 4 March - 16 June 1996, B. Drake Boehm and E. Taburet-Delahaye, p. 280, no 88.
M.-A. Carlier, Art médieval: exposition à l'occasion du centenaire de Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris, 2008, ill. 10, pp. 49-52.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
240 x 120 mm. Christ on the cross with the Virgin and John the Evangelist and two angels between the hand of God above; Adam resurrected below (light wear and some loss of gilding).