Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Reliquary Chasse

Made in Canterbury, England
Copper; shaped, engraved, chased, and gilded; feet cast
Overall: 7 x 10 x 4 1/2in. (17.8 x 25.4 x 11.4cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1980
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
Incised on the panels of this chasse is a series of bust-length figures within medallions. Represented on one lid panel is Christ flanked by Saints Peter and Paul, and on the other, the Virgin flanked by Saints Ursula and Cordula. On the front panel are Saints Elphege and Thomas Becket (both with martyrs’ palms), Dunstan, and Anselm, all canonized archbishops of Canterbury. On the back panel are Saints Blaise and Augustine. The end panels depict sainted English kings Edmund and Edward the Confessor. The choice of saints suggests that the chasse was made for Christ Church, Canterbury, a foundation rich in relics and, therefore, a full calendar of feast days. The saints represented here were mentioned in the early thirteenth-century calendar, or their relics were listed in the early fourteenth-century inventory. When the original gilding was intact, the medallions were more legible.
Inscription: Inscribed ends:

[Various] (Edward the Confessor, 1042-1066)
[Various] (Edmund, King of East Anglia, 840-870)

Inscribed Back panel:

[Various] (Saint Blaise or Blasius, a relic of whom was at Canterbury)
[Various] (Saint Augustine, the first archbishop, 597-605)

Inscribed Front panel:
[Various] (Saint Elphege, martyr, the 28th archbishop, 1005-1012)
[Various] (Saint Thomas Becket, martyr, the 39th archbishop, 1162-1170)
[Various] (Saint Dunstan, the 24th archbishop, 960-988)
[Various] (Saint Anselm, the 35th archbishop, 1093-1109)

Inscribed Front of the lid:
[Various] (Peter)
[Various] (Alpha and Omega) [upside down]
[Various] (Paul)

Inscribed Back of the lid:
[Various] (Saint Ursula, martyr, a 5th-century Briton)
[Various] (Saint Mary)
[Various] (Saint Cordula, martyr, a 5th-century Briton)
Sammuel James Whawell 1857–1926 ; Robert Haynes ; David Black & Sons ; Mr. and Mrs. John Hunt, Drumleck Baily, Co. Dublin, Ireland
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Winchester Bible: A Masterpiece of Medieval Art in Context," December 8, 2014–March 8, 2015.

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