Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Reliquary Pendant with Queen Margaret of Sicily Blessed by Bishop Reginald of Bath

Date:
1174–77
Geography:
Made in Canterbury, England
Culture:
British
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 1/4 x 1/4 in. (5 x 3.1 x 0.7 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1961
Accession Number:
63.160
Not on view
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)
Hoving, Thomas. "The Thread of Patronage: The Medieval Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters." Apollo 82, no. 43 (September 1965). pp. 182-83, fig. 5, ill. p. 179.

Hoving, Thomas. "A Newly Discovered Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket." Gesta 4 (Spring 1965). pp. 28-30, fig. 2, 3.

Newton, Peter A. "Some New Material for the Study of the Iconography of St. Thomas Becket." In Thomas Becket: Actes du colloque international de Sédières, 19-24 août 1973. Paris: Beauchesne, 1975. pp. 260–62, ill.

Bertelli, Carlo, ed. "Da Bury St. Edmunds alle croci italiane." In Il Re dei Confessori: dalla croce dei Cloisters alle croci italiane. Venice: Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, 1984. pp. 97-99, fig. 46.

Zarnecki, George, Janet Holt, and Tristram Holland, ed. English Romanesque Art, 1066-1200. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984. no. 303, p. 283.

Barlow, Frank. Thomas Becket. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. fig. 40.

Netzer, Nancy, and Virginia Reinburg, ed. Memory and the Middle Ages. Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College Museum of Art, 1995. no. 17, p. 102.

Reinburg, Virginia. "Remembering the Saints." In Memory and the Middle Ages, edited by Nancy Netzer, and Virginia Reinburg. Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College Museum of Art, 1995. no. 17, pp. 24–25.

Bagnoli, Martina, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann, and James Robinson, ed. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe. Cleveland, Baltimore, and London: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2010. no. 98, pp. 186–187.

Booms, Dirk, and Peter Higgs, ed. Sicily: Culture and Conquest. London: British Museum, 2016. pp. 240–43, fig. 193.



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