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The Crucifixion with the Virgin, St John and two Angels: M.34-1904

An image of Plaque

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Object information


The Crucifixion with the Virgin, St John and two Angels


uncertain (Workshop)


Copper plaque, champlevé, enamelled, engraved, and gilt, the figures with applied chased heads in relief

Copper plaque, champlevé, and enamelled in three shades of blue, green, yellow, and red, engraved, and gilt. The relief figure of Christ, and the heads of the Virgin and St John are repoussé and applied. The plaque is rectangular and very slightly convex, with one attachment hole in each corner and two on each side.


History note: Purchased in Milan by Frank McClean

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 23 cm
Width: 10.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


13th Century
Circa 1200 CE - 1300 CE


This plaque belongs to a stylistic group made at Limoges over a period of some twenty years about 1200. It once formed the central panel of a book cover, possibly an evangelistary. The figure of Christ and the heads of the Virgin Mary, St John and the two witnessing angels overhead are embossed and chased in low relief and attached to the slightly convex surface of the plaque by studs. At top centre, the nimbed hand of God descends from a cloud over the titulus, IHS/XPS, an abbreviation for Jesus Christ in Greek, and the skull of Adam is shown on the Cross below Christ's feet. This refers to the legend that the Cross was erected on the burial place of Adam, also the belief that through the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, humankind might be redeemed from sin, and gain eternal life. Through this iconography the book cover proclaimed the message of the text within, and provided a focus for meditation on the transitry nature of earthly life.

School or Style

Romanesque Medieval

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration: composed of enamel ( dark blue, pale blue, green, yellow, and red) gold Plaque: composed of copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: IHS/XPS
  • Location: On label on upper part of Cross
  • Method of creation: In gold reserved in blue champlevé enamel ground
  • Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.34-1904
Primary reference Number: 131084
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 26 January 2021 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Plaque" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-07-23 16:02:50

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=|title=Plaque|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-07-23 16:02:50|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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