- Museum number
Champlevé enamel plaque depicting Saints James and Jude, as authors of Epistles, seated beneath arches.
The massive plaque of virtually pure copper is rectangular but with a double-arched top, the right arch slightly higher than the left. The edges are original and gilded, the profile of the top arched edges being rounded, the others flat. The plaque is bowed in the centre and more than 1 mm thick. Clumsily soldered to the back is a brass handle, a later addition to turn the plaque into a pax. Front: Eight original pinholes for attachment to a wooden core, three on each side through small reserved gilded areas in the side columns, two in the centre at the top (between the arches) and bottom (below the central column). The two Apostles are fully enamelled, except for their heads, hands and feet; they are seated on cushions on rectangular thrones, facing inwards towards each other. St James on the left has a writing desk on his knees and is holding the quill and knife of a scribe, while a long scroll descends from his writing desk downwards across the central column into the right field. On it the inscription in two lines reads: IACOBVSDEI/ D(OMI)NIN(OST)RI N(OST)RIIH(S)VXPISERVVS (except that the nostri is repeated, these are more or less exactly the opening words of the Epistle of St James: 'James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ'). The line-drawing of James' hair and beard, the diamond pattern of his collar, his scroll and its inscription, the cushion and a row of arches which acts as his footstool are all filled with opaque red enamel, whereas his face is drawn in deep blue enamel, contrasting with his red hair and beard. He is dressed in a long tunic of yellow, shaded with zones of pale green and bordered with white, while his overmantle is of mid-blue shaded with zones of deep blue within a border of white or white/pale blue. His writing desk is decorated with a row of small arches which alternate deep blue with turquoise, and has an upper and lower edge of white/yellow/pale green. His halo is turquoise within purple within mauve within white. The background and the throne are reserved and gilded, with an engraved overall crisscross pattern of lozenges: each lozenge is studded with a tiny circle in its centre and there is a prick-mark at the junction between each lozenge. St Jude on the right holds an open book on his knees, to which his left hand is pointing. The book is inscribed IVDA/ S/ IHC/ SVSE/ XPIV/ VS . R, the inscription to be read in part across from one page to the other, in part down the left page followed
by down the right page, the letters not exactly in the correct order, but undoubtedly the opening words of the Epistle of St Jude: Judas, Iesu Christi servus ('Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ'). The drawing of Jude's head, hair and features is here all filled with deep blue enamel, but red is again used for the inscription and the decorated collar. He wears a long mid-blue tunic shaded with deep blue and edged with white, and an overmantle of pale mauve shaded with deep purple and again edged with white. His halo is deep blue within deep green within pale green within white. The background and throne have the same engraved lozenge pattern. The framing architecture consists of two round-headed arches, the left one deep green/pale green/white, the right one purple/deep blue/white; the arches are supported by columns decorated with speckled enamel, fired from granules of white, turquoise, blue, green, yellow and red, and the ground beneath the two Apostles is also filled with the same speckled enamel. The capitals and bases are trapeze-shaped with a rectangular block above or below; they are decorated with either the same speckled enamel or combinations of white/purple, white/mid-blue/deep blue, white/purple/turquoise, white/turquoise/green. Two small oval fields between the central column, its capital and its base have a deep blue dot surrounded by white. There are losses of enamel in the bottom right corner, on the central column and on the right-hand arch. The palette is: off-white, yellow (2.5Y 6/6-5Y 6/6), pale green (5GY 5/4-5/6), deep green (2.5G 3/4-4/4), turquoise (10BG 4/4), pale blue (5PB 5/4-4/4), mid-blue (5PB 3/4), deep blue (7.5PB 2/6), pale mauve (5RP 3/1), purple (5RP 2/2-3/2), opaque red (10R 3/6).
- Production date
Height: 134 millimetres (left arch)
Height: 136 millimetres (right arch)
Weight: 312.60 grammes
Width: 103 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Stratford 1993
Composition of the alloys: (XRF analysis, British Museum Research Laboratory)
(plaque) 99% Cu,
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013 28 Nov - present, Norwich Castle Museum, Norman Connections LT loan
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired in 1850 for £11-10s. from the dealer John Webb of Old Bond Street, following the sale of the collection of George Isaacs in November 1850. No previous history known.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number