Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Seal Matrix with Abbot William of Gross St. Martin and Saint Martin

before 1152
Made in Cologne, Germany
Walrus ivory
Overall: 2 11/16 x 2 3/16 x 3/8 in. (6.9 x 5.5 x 0.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Affixing a wax seal to documents both authenticates and secures the document and also identifies the author or sender. According to the inscription, this rare ivory seal matrix, seen here with a wax impression from it, was made for Abbot William (“William, by the grace of God, Abbot of St. Martin”) of the powerful Benedictine abbey in Cologne. Pictured on the reverse is the abbey’s patron, Saint Martin.
Inscription: Inscribed: obverse (in border) + WILLEHELMVS.DEI GRA.ABB.SCI>MARTINI; reverse SANCTVS MARTINVS.
Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York
Ausstellung der kunstgewerblichen Alterthümer in Düsseldorf 1880: Gewerbe-Ausstellung für Rheinland, Westfalen und benachbarte Bezirke in Verbindung mit einer Allgemeinen Deutschen Kunst-Ausstellung und einer Ausstellung kunstgewerblicher Alterthümer. Düsseldorf: s.n., 1880. no. 1030, pp. 257–58.

Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Ivoires, orfèvrerie religieuse, pierres. Vol. 2. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 12, fig. XII.

Breck, Joseph. "Pre-Gothic Ivories in the Pierpont Morgan Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 15, no. 1 (January 1920). p. 15.

Goldschmidt, Adolph. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der romanischen Zeit, XI.-XIII. Jahrhundert. Vol. 4. Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1926. no. 58, p. 19, pl. XIV.

St. Clair, Archer, and Elizabeth Parker McLachlan, ed. The Carver's Art: Medieval Sculpture in Ivory, Bone, and Horn. New Brunswick, N.J.: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, 1989. no. 49, pp. 89–90.

Zuchold, Gerd H. Der 'Klosterhof' des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin: Volume 2, Katalog der von Prinz Karl von Preussen im 'Klosterhof' aufbewahrten Kunstwerke. Bauwerke und Kunstdenkmäler von Berlin, Beiheft, Vol. 21. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993. no. 117, p. 139.

Cherry, John. "Seal Matrices of Ivory and Bone: A Bad Idea?." In A Reservoir of Ideas: Essays in Honour of Paul Williamson, edited by Glyn Davies, and Eleanor Townsend. ohLondon: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2017. p. 118, fig. 2.

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