These delicately patterned enamels once formed part of a large shrine (perhaps as much as six feet long) to contain the precious remains of Christian saints. The rectangular plaques would have been set horizontally or vertically as border decoration; the medallion served as a decorative halo for a statuette of a saint. The lavish attention given to these small elements is a testament to the importance of the commission and to the skill of the goldsmith.
When such shrines were restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries, original plaques were sometimes replaced with modern copies in impeccable condition, and originals like these were sold to collectors.
Karl Ferdinand Friedrich von Nagler, Berlin (until 1835) ; Königliche Kunstkammer, Berlin(1835–76) ; Schloßmuseum, Berlin(1876–sold ca. 1929/1937; inv. no. 4242) ; [ J. Rosenbaum, Frankfurt (from 1929/1937)] ; [ Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York (sold 1941)] ; [ Joseph Brummer, New York (1941–d. 1947)] ; Joseph Brummer Collection sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York (May 14, 1949, part of lot 707) ; [ Germain Seligman, New York (until d. 1978)] ; [ Artemis S. A. Luxembourg(from 1979) ; Private Collection, Antwerp ; Christie's, London(December 6, 1988, lot 35) ; [ Albrecht Neuhaus Kunsthandel, Würzburg (from 1988)] ; Georg Schoop ; [ Blumka Gallery, New York (sold 2008)]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Thirty-Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 139 (2009). p. 28.