Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
Museum du Rijksmuseum d'Amsterdam
British Museum
British Museum

Christ en majesté Daté de 1185

Museum Hermitage Saint-Pétersbourg
Museum Hermitage Saint-Pétersbourg

Part of a Book-Cover with the Crucifixion France, Limoges. First quarter of the 13th century Wood, copper, enamel, glass and rock crystal; forged, chased, carved, engraved, filigreed, champleve enamel, with gilding. 31.7x19.1 cm.

Museum Hermitage Saint-Pétersbourg
Museum Hermitage Saint-Pétersbourg

Part of a Book-Cover with the Crucifixion France, Limoges. 13th century Wood, copper and enamel; cast, stamped, engraved, with champleve enamel and gilding. 31.2x18 cm.

Metropolitan de New York Museum
Metropolitan de New York Museum

The earliest known textual reference to the famous enamels produced in the city of Limoges during the twelfth through fourteenth centuries concerns a book cover seen in the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris in the 1160s and intended for an English abbot. Though this book cover seems not to have survived, it might have borne some similarity to the one seen here.

Crucifixionaris, musee de Cluny
Crucifixionaris, musee de Cluny

Crucifixionaris, Museum of Cluny, Museum of Cluny, Crucifixion, Limoges, first quarter of XIII century. Champlevé enamelled, gilded on a wooden board, pearls, cabochons.

Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre

Louvre Museum Upper plate of a liturgical manuscript book cover; crucifixion, Limoges, end of XII century, champlevé enamel, copper. H. 24 cm, W. 11,2 cm ( loss of enamel and wear and tear) Collection, France. Two upper cover plates showing important similarities and both representing a dogmatic Crucifixion with Adam arising, 1180-1190, Limoges, workshop of the “Court of Aquitaine”, kept in Saint Petersburg, in the Hermitage Museum and in New York .

Crucifixionaris, musee de Cluny
Crucifixionaris, musee de Cluny

Crucifixionaris, Museum of Cluny, Museum of Cluny, Crucifixion, Limoges, first quarter of XIII century. Champlevé enamelled, gilded on a wooden board, pearls, cabochons.

Book Cover plates
Book Cover plates
Musée British Museum
Musée British Museum

Daté de 1210 Crucifixion

plat reliure 3.JPG
plat reliure 3.JPG
Book cover plate - Museum of Lille
Book cover plate - Museum of Lille

The composition of the plate is still a story. Christ, without a crown, faints, his head leaning, and his eyes half close. His body falters following the “bizantine curvature” and his hair floating in long locks on his shoulders. The position of the Virgin holding her sorrow while squeezing her wrist with the other hand follows the bizantine tradition.

Christ en Majesté Metropolitan
Christ en Majesté Metropolitan

CHRIST IN MAJESTY, Museum of Cluny Paris, Museum of Cluny. Book cover plate, Christ in Majesty, Limoges, first quarter of XIII century. Champlevé copper, enamelled and gilded on wooden boards, pearls and cabochons.

Livre d'heures - Louvre
Livre d'heures - Louvre
Angleterre
Angleterre

Enamelled book cover plates

Liturgical book covers had decorated plates. They serve both as protection and status “ornamentation” of the manuscript. Books are indeed, throughout the Middle Ages, undeniable wealth, part of the inventories of the treasures of the great Abbeys or Cathedrals.

 

Some of these “covers” are preserved, but most often detached from the original manuscript, in order to be sold. With their extensive production, towards the end of XII century, enamel workshops of Limoges did not miss the opportunity to create some pieces that are well-preserved today.

 

These book cover plates comprise of a central rectangular enamel plate, surrounded by a bevelled band, often made of embossed metal, and by a frame made of enamelled plates fitted to each other. The central plate, protected by its grooved position, is decorated with embossed “appliqué” images. The plates come in a pair, and feature, one of the Crucifixion, the other of Christ in majesty.

 

Liturgical books were generally provided with rich book covers consisting of two boards decorated with ivory or goldsmithery plates. The numerous book cover plates made by Limousin goldsmiths seem to have mostly decorated Evangeliaria, of  which the upper plate traditionally depicts the Crucified Christ and the lower plate, Christ in majesty. The crucified Christ is often surrounded by the Virgin and Saint John, the arms of the cross are topped by the sun’s or the moon’s embodiment or, sometimes, by two images of angels.

 

The depiction of Adam, rising from his tomb, sometimes scaled down to a mere skull, is positioned at the bottom of the Cross, so as to allude to the resurrection of the dead. Christ in Majesty, enthroned on the rainbow according to the Revelation, generally enclosed in a mandorla with symbols of the four Apostles. The style of book cover  plates follows general fashion trends of the Limousin enamels at the end of XII century and during the XIII century.

 

 

(Source - Les émaux de Limoges au Moyen Age / Dossier de l'Art)

XIII century enamelled book cover plates from Limoges. Church of Saint-Nectaire