Cover of the Book of Epistles made of silver, with the draperies and the attributes of all the applied figures are silver-gilt. Certain other details, like the wings of the angels, the crown (above the Madonna's head) and the twisted-rope mouldings on the four roundels (at the corners) are also silver-gilt. In the central niche, the standing figure of the Madonna holds the Christ Child, with both hands, almost horizontally across her body. The Child is not gilded, except for the curls of hair, and is depicted kicking with the right foot. The Madonna wears a gilded circlet above her forehead, and her long, flowing golden hair falls to her waist outside the heavy mantle which is held on either side by two attendant standing angels, their large wings open and rising to form a protective frame to the Madonna and Child. The gilded crown suspended above the Madonna's head is held by two small angels, apparently 'floating' in the air with hair blown back and wings outstretched, while their long robes seem tossed up behind their heels. Immediately above these two angels, the elaborate openwork tracery of the pseudo-architectural canopy begins its restless and convoluted design that soars upwards, ending in two pinnacles in the centre and, on either side, a twisted barley-sugar column with foliated capital on which is seated a tiny gilded angel with large, fully opened wings. The exuberance of the openwork tracery of the central canopy is repeated on either side where the late Gothic architectural tracery above the two smaller niches contains wilfully curving pinnacles almost forming semi-circles on either side of the central vertical pinnacle. In the right-hand niche, St Helena holds aloft the gilt True Cross with both hands; her head-dress and veil, like her face and hands, are not gilded but the crown on her head is silver-gilt; she stands on the hexagonal top of a richly foliated capital with a hexagonal column-shaft disappearing below. In the left-hand niche, the standing figure of a bishop, most recently identified as St Martin, wearing a gilded bishop's mitre and holding a large gilt crosier in his left hand, gives help to the beggar, who kneels at his feet and overlaps the hexagonal top of the foliated capital. The four roundels have raised circular frames with twisted-cable and gilded mouldings, and each contains an applied relief depicting one of the Four Fathers of the Church (St Ambrose, St Augustine, St Gregory and St Jerome) seated at his desk with an open book resting on it; the pages are silver and marked with lines of script. Again, the hands and faces of the Four Fathers of the Church are not gilded - nor is the plain, burnished background of each roundel - but the drapery and the rest of the furnishings of each scene are gilt, except for the glass of the sandglass (bottom left roundel). Each relief is cut away at the top of the scene so that the head and shoulders of the figure and the top of the furniture are not only silhouetted against the silver background but stand away from the background, thus creating a greater three-dimensional effect. Immediately beneath the slightly projecting silver-gilt ledge on which the Madonna stands is a plain silver corbel and, below, an applied ornamental bracket of scrolling foliate design with two shields: (i) per fess sable and argent; (ii) gules, a letter A or. The silver ground plate of the book-cover is engraved with bold architectural tracery that complements the applied openwork tracery but is otherwise left plain and burnished, though the central niche contains two empty, narrow, subsidiary niches (behind the attendant angels).

Museum number

WB.87

Description

Full: Front

Cover of the Book of Epistles made of silver, with the draperies and the attributes of all the applied figures are silver-gilt. Certain other details, like the wings of the angels, the crown (above the Madonna's head) and the twisted-rope mouldings on the four roundels (at the corners) are also silver-gilt. In the central niche, the standing figure of the Madonna holds the Christ Child, with both hands, almost horizontally across her body. The Child is not gilded, except for the curls of hair, and is depicted kicking with the right foot. The Madonna wears a gilded circlet above her forehead, and her long, flowing golden hair falls to her waist outside the heavy mantle which is held on either side by two attendant standing angels, their large wings open and rising to form a protective frame to the Madonna and Child. The gilded crown suspended above the Madonna's head is held by two small angels, apparently 'floating' in the air with hair blown back and wings outstretched, while their long robes seem tossed up behind their heels. Immediately above these two angels, the elaborate openwork tracery of the pseudo-architectural canopy begins its restless and convoluted design that soars upwards, ending in two pinnacles in the centre and, on either side, a twisted barley-sugar column with foliated capital on which is seated a tiny gilded angel with large, fully opened wings. The exuberance of the openwork tracery of the central canopy is repeated on either side where the late Gothic architectural tracery above the two smaller niches contains wilfully curving pinnacles almost forming semi-circles on either side of the central vertical pinnacle. In the right-hand niche, St Helena holds aloft the gilt True Cross with both hands; her head-dress and veil, like her face and hands, are not gilded but the crown on her head is silver-gilt; she stands on the hexagonal top of a richly foliated capital with a hexagonal column-shaft disappearing below. In the left-hand niche, the standing figure of a bishop, most recently identified as St Martin, wearing a gilded bishop's mitre and holding a large gilt crosier in his left hand, gives help to the beggar, who kneels at his feet and overlaps the hexagonal top of the foliated capital. The four roundels have raised circular frames with twisted-cable and gilded mouldings, and each contains an applied relief depicting one of the Four Fathers of the Church (St Ambrose, St Augustine, St Gregory and St Jerome) seated at his desk with an open book resting on it; the pages are silver and marked with lines of script. Again, the hands and faces of the Four Fathers of the Church are not gilded - nor is the plain, burnished background of each roundel - but the drapery and the rest of the furnishings of each scene are gilt, except for the glass of the sandglass (bottom left roundel). Each relief is cut away at the top of the scene so that the head and shoulders of the figure and the top of the furniture are not only silhouetted against the silver background but stand away from the background, thus creating a greater three-dimensional effect. Immediately beneath the slightly projecting silver-gilt ledge on which the Madonna stands is a plain silver corbel and, below, an applied ornamental bracket of scrolling foliate design with two shields: (i) per fess sable and argent; (ii) gules, a letter A or. The silver ground plate of the book-cover is engraved with bold architectural tracery that complements the applied openwork tracery but is otherwise left plain and burnished, though the central niche contains two empty, narrow, subsidiary niches (behind the attendant angels).

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  • Cover of the Book of Epistles made of silver, with the draperies and the attributes of all the applied figures are silver-gilt. Certain other details, like the wings of the angels, the crown (above the Madonna's head) and the twisted-rope mouldings on the four roundels (at the corners) are also silver-gilt. In the central niche, the standing figure of the Madonna holds the Christ Child, with both hands, almost horizontally across her body. The Child is not gilded, except for the curls of hair, and is depicted kicking with the right foot. The Madonna wears a gilded circlet above her forehead, and her long, flowing golden hair falls to her waist outside the heavy mantle which is held on either side by two attendant standing angels, their large wings open and rising to form a protective frame to the Madonna and Child. The gilded crown suspended above the Madonna's head is held by two small angels, apparently 'floating' in the air with hair blown back and wings outstretched, while their long robes seem tossed up behind their heels. Immediately above these two angels, the elaborate openwork tracery of the pseudo-architectural canopy begins its restless and convoluted design that soars upwards, ending in two pinnacles in the centre and, on either side, a twisted barley-sugar column with foliated capital on which is seated a tiny gilded angel with large, fully opened wings. The exuberance of the openwork tracery of the central canopy is repeated on either side where the late Gothic architectural tracery above the two smaller niches contains wilfully curving pinnacles almost forming semi-circles on either side of the central vertical pinnacle. In the right-hand niche, St Helena holds aloft the gilt True Cross with both hands; her head-dress and veil, like her face and hands, are not gilded but the crown on her head is silver-gilt; she stands on the hexagonal top of a richly foliated capital with a hexagonal column-shaft disappearing below. In the left-hand niche, the standing figure of a bishop, most recently identified as St Martin, wearing a gilded bishop's mitre and holding a large gilt crosier in his left hand, gives help to the beggar, who kneels at his feet and overlaps the hexagonal top of the foliated capital. The four roundels have raised circular frames with twisted-cable and gilded mouldings, and each contains an applied relief depicting one of the Four Fathers of the Church (St Ambrose, St Augustine, St Gregory and St Jerome) seated at his desk with an open book resting on it; the pages are silver and marked with lines of script. Again, the hands and faces of the Four Fathers of the Church are not gilded - nor is the plain, burnished background of each roundel - but the drapery and the rest of the furnishings of each scene are gilt, except for the glass of the sandglass (bottom left roundel). Each relief is cut away at the top of the scene so that the head and shoulders of the figure and the top of the furniture are not only silhouetted against the silver background but stand away from the background, thus creating a greater three-dimensional effect. Immediately beneath the slightly projecting silver-gilt ledge on which the Madonna stands is a plain silver corbel and, below, an applied ornamental bracket of scrolling foliate design with two shields: (i) per fess sable and argent; (ii) gules, a letter A or. The silver ground plate of the book-cover is engraved with bold architectural tracery that complements the applied openwork tracery but is otherwise left plain and burnished, though the central niche contains two empty, narrow, subsidiary niches (behind the attendant angels).

    Full: Front

  • Cover of the Book of Epistles made of silver, with the draperies and the attributes of all the applied figures are silver-gilt. Certain other details, like the wings of the angels, the crown (above the Madonna's head) and the twisted-rope mouldings on the

    Full: Front