Reliquary Pendant with Queen Margaret of Sicily Blessed by Bishop Reginald of Bath
Made in Canterbury, England
Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 1/4 x 1/4 in. (5 x 3.1 x 0.7 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1961
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
The engraved Latin inscription on the back identifies the subject: “Bishop Reginald of Bath hands this over to Queen Margaret of Sicily.” The inscription on the front lists the relics once contained under a crystal: “Of the blood of Saint Thomas martyr. Of his vestments stained with his blood: of the cloak, the belt, the hood, the shoe, the shirt.” The bishop probably presented this pendant to the queen on the occasion of her son’s marriage in 1177 to the daughter of Henry II. The king had instigated the murder of his former friend and chancellor, Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, on December 29, 1170.
Inscription: (on narrow border of front around opening for relics) (inner ring) DE SANGUINE S[AN]C[T]I. THOME.M[ARTY-RIS.DE VESTIBU[S] SUIS SANGUINE SUO TINCTIS (outer ring) DE PELLICIA. DE CILITIO. DE CUCULLA. DE CALCIAMENTO. ET CAMISIA; (translation: Part of the blood of St. Thomas Martyr. Parts of the vestments stained with his blood: the cloak, the belt, the hood, the shoe, the shirt).
(on back around border beginning under suspension ring): ISTUD REGINE MARGARETE SICULOR[UM] TRA[N]SMITTIT PRESUL RAINAUD[US] BATONIOR[UM]; (translated: This thing was transmitted to Queen Margaret of Sicily by bishop Rainaud Batoniorum).
Piero Tozzi Galleries Inc., New York (sold 1963)
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