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The Egyptians adoring Joseph in Pharaoh's Chariot or The Triumph of Joseph: M.114-1961

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Object information

Titles

The Egyptians adoring Joseph in Pharaoh's Chariot or The Triumph of Joseph

Maker(s)

Court dit Vigier, Jean I (Maker)
Court dit Vigier, Jean II (Maker)
Possibly Court, Jean de (Maker)

Description

Copper, enamelled in polychrome and gilded with the Triumph of Joseph'; reverse enamelled en grisaille and gilded with masks, strapwork and arabesques, and initialled "I.C"

Circular copper plate with slightly raised edge, narrow rim, and shallow well with curved sides. The plate has a black ground. The central design is enamelled over a white ground in translucent blue, turquoise, green, yellow, and mulberry enamels over silver foils, and opaque white, flesh-pink and black highlighted with gold. The cavetto has a black ground painted in gold. The rim has a black ground except for the foiled areas and the flesh areas which have a white preparation. The edge is white. The reverse is enamelled in grisaille with dark salmon-pink on a black ground painted in gold The underside of the rim has a black ground painted in gold.
The central design shows Joseph riding in Pharaoh's Chariot known as The Triumph of Joseph. Joseph, is seated a chariot on the right, with a crowd of Egyptians in front of him. In the background there are three buildings: on the right, a circular domed building with Corinthian columns round its circumference; in the middle, a smaller low building with a sloping roof, and on the left, a rectangular building with a triangular gable and arcaded lower storey. "G.XLI" is inscribed in gold on the sky. The sides are decorated with gold foliated scrolls between horizontal bands. On the rim are two different female masks wearing fabric headdresses, and two different crowned male masks, separated by vases flanked by pairs of tritons with tablets over their curly tails, with sprays of gold foliage in the spaces.
The reverse is enamelled en grisaille. In the centre there is a white flowerhead comprising a rosette, a broad circle and twelve petals, Around this are two dark salmon-pink masks without hair and two with hair, with drapery issuing from their mouths, confined by broad strapwork and fruit on stems. The black ground is decorated with gold arabesques, and on the rim, thee is a wreath of gold leaves and berries between gold bands. The mark "I.C." is painted in black on a white circle surrounding the central rosette.

Notes

History note: Perhaps Thomas Hope; Henry Thomas Hope; Mrs H.T. Hope; her daughter Henrietta Adele Hope, 6th Duchess of Newcastle; her son, Henry Pelham Archibald Douglas Pelham-Clinton, 7th Duke of Newcastle Christie’s, 7 July 1921, Catalogue of fine old English silver-gilt plate, Limoges enamels, old Italian majolica and porcelain, the property of his grace the Duke of Newcastle, and removed from Clumber, Worksop, p. 19, lot 110, illustrated; sold for £780. George A. Lockett; sold Christie’s, 12 June 1942, The Choice Collection of objects of Art and Furniture formed by the late George A. Lockett, Esq., p. 22, lot 203, illustrated; Mallett & Sons, London; L.C.G. Clarke, MA, Cambridge from September 1942.

Legal notes

Louis.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 19.9 cm
Height: 2.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1960) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray

Dating

Late 16th or early 17th century
Henry III of France
Henry IV of France
Circa 1564 CE - 1610 1610 CE

Note

The Biblical story of Joseph told in Genesis, was a common theme for the decoration of domestic objects in France in the second half of the 16th century. Limoges enamellers decorated caskets, ewers, dishes, and small plates with Joseph scenes. Although no complete sets are known, this plate was probably one of a set of twelve each decorated with a different event in the story, beginning when Joseph was already the slave of Potifar in Egypt, and extending from his rejection of the enticements of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39.7) to his reconciliation with his brothers (Genesis 45.14-16). Ten of the scenes were closely based on Bernard Salomon's woodcut illustrations to Claude Paradin’s 'Quadrins historiques de la Bible', first published by Jean de Tournes in Lyon in 1553. An augmented edition appeared in 1555, reprinted in 1558 and 1560, and another augmented edition in 1583. Each page had the biblical reference at the top, a woodcut, and an explanatory verse below. Another work of the same type, Guillaume Guéroult’s 'Figures de la Bible illustrées de huictains francoys . . . (Guillaume Roville), Lyons, 1564 (2nd edn, 1565), with illustrations by Pierre Eskrich was used for the 7th and 10th plates in the series, and the 12th has aspects from the woodcuts in both publications. These books can be viewed online in the Gallica website of the Bibliothèque nationale.

The mark ‘I•C’ seems likely to have been a workshop mark used succesively by Jehan or Jean Court dit Vigier I (d. 1592) and his son, Jean Court dit Vigier II (b. c.1575-d. between 1631-5). The issue is complicated by the presence of another Jehan/Jean de Court who witnessed the latter's wedding in 1598, and was therefore probably a relative, and of another enameller, Jehan/Jean Court dit Vigier le jeune who married in 1613, and died between 1627-31, but seems unlikely to have been the decorator of the Joseph Plates. (See Documentation, Beyssi-Cassan, 2006)

This plate is decorated with the fifth scene in the sequence.The Triumph of Joseph, described in Genesis, Chapter 41, 43: ‘And he [Pharaoh] made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt’. The Biblical reference ‘.G.XLI’ is given above the scene which was copied from a woodcut illustration entitled ‘GENESE XLI’ by Bernard Salomon in Claude Paradin, 'Quadrins Historique de la Bible', Lyon, 1553 or a later edition., . (The 1558 edn is in the Cambridge University Library Keynes, E.3.4, and in the Fitzwilliam Museum Dept. of MSS and Printed Books). At least two more plates are known decorated with this subject, one with a blue ground, in the Musée du Louvre (see Documentation, Baratte, 2000), and one with a manganese-black ground which descended in the family of Lionel de Rothschild (1808-79) and was sold by Sotheby's London in 2003 (see Documentation).

School or Style

Renaissance Mannerism

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Foils: composed of silver ( probably) Decoration: composed of enamel ( translucent blue, turquoise, green, yellow, and mulberry; flesh pink, opaque white, grey and black) gold

Materials used in production

Copper

Techniques used in production

Raising (metal forming process) : Copper, enamelled in polychrome and grisaille, and gilded. The design in the well is outlined in black and executed in translucent blue, turquoise, green, yellow, and mulberry enamels over silver foils, and flesh pink, opaque white, grey and black enamels over a white preparation, highlighted with gold. The cavetto has a black ground painted in gold. The rim has a black ground except for the foiled areas and the flesh areas which have a white preparation. The edge is white. The reverse is enamelled in grisaille with dark salmon-pink, on a black ground painted in gold The underside of the rim has a black ground painted in gold.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: I•C
  • Location: On strapwork on the back
  • Method of creation: Painted in black enamel
  • Initial

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.114-1961
Primary reference Number: 139825
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 27 January 2021 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Plate" Web page available at: https://collection.beta.fitz.ms/id/object/139825 Accessed: 2021-12-06 08:50:25

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=https://collection.beta.fitz.ms/id/object/139825|title=Plate|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-12-06 08:50:25|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa37/M_114_1961_1_200801_mfj22_dc2.jpg" alt="The Egyptians adoring Joseph in Pharaoh's Chariot or The Triumph of Joseph" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">The Egyptians adoring Joseph in Pharaoh's Chariot or The Triumph of Joseph</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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