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Home > Auctions > 2nd June 2020 > Medieval Limoges Processional Cross

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LOT 0594

GBP (£) 60,000 - 80,000
EUR (€) 67,390 - 89,860
USD ($) 75,590 - 100,790

£54,000 (EUR 60,654; USD 68,035) (+bp*)

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Medieval Limoges Processional Cross

12th-13th century AD

A copper-alloy processional cross comprising: tapering socket with fluted bulb and flared upper; cross with wooden core, painted with rosettes on the exposed lateral edges; obverse a bronze cross potent with hatched surface, reserved quatrefoils and other motifs, four applied champlevé enamelled bronze figural mounts of ecclesiastical robed figures, cells with inset cabochon gemstones including carnelian, rock crystal, opal and others, central Corpus Christi crowned with arms extended, knee-length loincloth; reverse with T-shaped enamelled panel to the end of each arm representing the Evangelists: lion, ox, eagle, man; the field semée of rosettes with enamelled appliqués, central roundel with enamelled bust of Christ holding a book in his left hand, right hand raised in benediction; mounted on a custom-made medieval oak pyramidal base. 5.16 kg total, 78.5cm including base (20 3/4"). Very fine condition, some restoration. An extremely rare museum-quality example.

Condition report [Click to show]

Property of a Suffolk lady; previously on the European art market in the 1990s; formerly in a Dutch collection formed in the early 1970s; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.157231-10045.
See Walters Art Gallery, Painted Enamels of Limoges, Baltimore, 1968; Campbell, M., An Introduction to Medieval Enamels, London, 1983; Toman, R., Romanesque Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Cologne, 1997; Stratford, N., Catalogue of Medieval Enamels in the British Museum. Vol. II - Northern Romanesque Enamel, London, 1993.
The cross is an exceptional example of Romanesque art combining champlevé enamel appliqués - flat panels with geometric ornament - and the more famous figural pieces with heads modelled in the round and the garments formed as flat polychrome panels. The symbols of the four evangelists are a recurrent them in Romanesque art, often depicted in a decorative field with applied jewels in cells (e.g. Toman p.368-9) as on the present piece. The production facility at Limoges which was responsible for so many examples of 12th century champlevé enamel fell into disuse for about a century.