About This Artwork

French, Limoges

Reliquary Casket, About 1200

Gilt copper, champlevé enamel over wood core
15.6 x 13.3 x 6.8 cm (6 1/8 x 5 1/4 x 2 11/16 in.)

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1943.72

This reliquary casket, with its vibrantly colored enamel fields, is typical of the objects created at the prolific workshops in and around Limoges, France, in the Middle Ages. By the end of the 12th century, opus lemovicense (Limoges work) had gained an international reputation, and documentary sources indicate that ornamentation with enamel was considered as precious as that with gemstones. Six figures of saints appear on the front panels of the casket, while a single saint is shown standing on each end panel. This decidedly nonspecific iconography would have made the casket appropriate for any number of churches and allowed it to house the relics of virtually any saint.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, Enamel: An Historic Survey to the Present Day, March 16, 1954 - June 21, 1954.

Art Institute of Chicago, Medieval Decorative Arts from Chicago Collections, October 2, 1985-January 5, 1986, no cat.

Publication History

Art Instiute of Chicago, "Report for the Year 1943" in Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 38, 3 (1944), pp. 17 and 148, ill.

Oswald Goetz, "Medieval Enamels and Metalwork in the Buckingham Collection," Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 38, 7 (1944), p. 110.

Meyric. R. Rogers and Oswald Goetz, Handbook to the Lucy Maud Buckingham Medieval Collection, (Chicago, 1945), p. 67, no. 35, pl. 34.

Spencer Moseley, Pauline Johnson, and Hazel Koenig, Crafts Design: An Illustrated Guide (Belmont, California, 1964), pp. 389, 391, ill.

Christina Nielsen, ed. Devotion and Splendor: Medieval Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Studies 30, 2 (2004), pp. 15, 40, 92, no. 20, ill.

Corpus des émaux méridionaux, vol. 2, L'Apogée, 1190-1215, Marie-Madeleine Gauthier, Élisabeth Antoine, and Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, eds. (Paris, 2011), I E 4, no. 6 on CD-ROM (entry by C[hristina] N[ielsen]).

Ownership History

Harry Fuld (d. 1932), Frankfurt, before 1932 [see Bloch 1992]; by descent to his widow, Lucie Mayer-Fuld (née Cajzago), Berlin and later New York, 1932-1942 [according to incoming shipping receipt in curatorial file]; sold through Raphael Stora, New York, to the Art Institute for $4,000, 1942 [according to incoming shipping receipt, mentioned above] .

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