Collection online

reliquary / casket

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Chasse; copper alloy; gilded; enamelled; engraved; repoussé; house-shaped with gabled roof and four cubic feet; cresting along ridge with key-hole perforations; front body: murder of Thomas Becket: archbishop, two knights and hand of God: reserved figures with applied heads; enamelled background decorated with rosettes; front lid: medallion with Becket emerging from cloud flanked by two angels; similar background; each side with standing saint holding scroll: reserved figures on enamelled background with two horizontal bands and rosettes; back: engraved crosses on enamelled background.


  • Date

    • 1210 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 160 millimetres
    • Width: 142 millimetres
    • Depth: 68.5 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This is one of a large group of reliquaries produced in the Limoges workshops after the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. Caudron (see below), has identified 45 reliquaries depicting this subject. See also the panel from a casket (reg. no. 1907, 5-25, 3) and the casket on loan from the British Rail Superannuation Fund in the Department. For a full discussion of representations of Thomas Becket, see Borenius. PSH 26.11.91
    Bibliography: Caudron 1977 pp.9-33; Borenius 1932 pp. 87, 89, 91. pl. xxxvi, fig.2


  • Bibliography

    • Gauthier 1987 bibliographic details
    • Bagnoli, Klein, Mann & Robinson 2011 no. 99, p. 187 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc10/sC

  • Exhibition history

    2011 23 June-9 Oct, London, BM, 'Treasures of Heaven'
    2011 13 Feb-8 May, Baltimore, Walters Museum of Art, 'Treasures of Heaven'
    2010-2011 17 Oct-6 Jan, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art, 'Treasures of Heaven'
    1995 6 Aug-12 Nov, Germany, Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Heinrich der Löwe und seine Zeit: Herrschaft und Repräsentation der Welfen 1125-1235

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: MCM4805

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help