Art/ Collection/ Art Object

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)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1961
Accession Number:
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)
London. British Museum. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," June 23, 2011–October 9, 2011.

Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty Museum. "Canterbury Glass and the St. Albans Psalter: Treasures from Church and Cloister," September 30, 2013–February 2, 2014.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Winchester Bible: A Masterpiece of Medieval Art in Context," December 8, 2014–March 8, 2015.

London. British Museum. "Sicily: Culture and Conquest," April 21, 2016–August 14, 2016.

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

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.

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.

Koopmans, Rachel M. "Between the Limousin and the Holy Land: Prisoners, Performance, and the Portal of San Leonardo at Siponto." Gesta 54, no. 1 (Spring 2015). pp. 52–53, fig. 16.

Koopmans, Rachel M. "Visions, Reliquaries, and the Image of 'Becket’s Shrine' in the Miracle Windows of Canterbury Cathedral." Gesta 54, no. 1 (Spring 2015). pp. 52, 53, fig. 16.

Tammen, Silke. "Bild und Heil am Körper: Reliquiaranhänger." In Kanon Kunstgeschichte. Einführung in Werke, Methoden und Epochen: Volume 1, Mittelalter, edited by Kristin Marek, and Martin Schulz. Berlin: Wilhelm Fink, 2015. pp. 305–6, fig. 4.

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

Related Objects

Double-Sided Ivory Liturgical Comb with Scenes of Henry II and Thomas Becket

Artist: Date: ca. 1200–1210
Accession Number: 1988.279
Date: ca. 1200–1210 Medium: Ivory Accession: 1988.279 On view in:Gallery 304

Pilgrim's Badge of the Shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury

Artist: Date: 1350–1400
Accession Number: 2001.310
Date: 1350–1400 Medium: Cast tin-lead alloy Accession: 2001.310 On view in:Gallery 304

Reliquary Casket with Scenes from the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket

Artist: Date: ca. 1173–80
Accession Number: 17.190.520
Date: ca. 1173–80 Medium: Gilded silver with niello and a glass cabochon set over a tinted foil Accession: 17.190.520 On view in:Gallery 304

Bird-Shaped Brooch

Artist: Date: 500–550
Accession Number: 17.191.19
Date: 500–550 Medium: Silver with gilding and garnets; no spring/pin extant Accession: 17.191.19 On view in:Gallery 301

Miniature Square-Headed Brooch

Artist: Date: first half 6th century
Accession Number: 17.191.49
Date: first half 6th century Medium: Silver-gilt, niello, inlays lost Accession: 17.191.49 On view in:Gallery 301