Book Cover Plaque with Christ in Majesty

Date: ca. 1185–1210

Geography: Made in Limoges, France

Culture: French

Medium: Copper (plaque): engraved, scraped, stippled, and gilt; (appliqués): repoussé, engraved, chased, and gilt; champlevé enamel: blue-black, dark, medium, and light blue; green, yellow, red, brownish red, and white, blue-black glass inset eyes.

Dimensions: Overall: 10 3/4 x 5 9/16 x 11/16 in. (27.3 x 14.2 x 1.7 cm)

Classification: Enamels-Champlevé

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.757


The earliest known textual reference to the famous enamels produced in the city of Limoges during the twelfth through fourteenth centuries concerns a book cover seen in the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris in the 1160s and intended for an English abbot. Though this book cover seems not to have survived, it might have borne some similarity to the one seen here. Plaques showing Christ in majesty surrounded by symbols of the evangelists, usually paired with a plaque showing the Crucifixion, were produced in large numbers by Limoges enamelers. The variety of textures and patterns created through the masterful engraving and stippling of the five appliqué figures make this a particularly noteworthy example of a product for which Limoges artists were widely recognized and admired.