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Crucifixion with St James and St Catherine of Alexandria: M.43-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Crucifixion with St James and St Catherine of Alexandria


Maker: Unknown




Copper, decorated in translucent and opaque enamels, partly over foils. The Crucifixion in the centre panel with St James on the left wing and St Catherine on the right wing, enclosed in a wooden frame with folding wings

Three copper plaques, almost flat, and partly foiled in silver, enamelled in translucent royal blue, two shades of green, and mulberry, and opaque flesh, red, white, and black,and gilded. On the centre plaque Christ hangs on a gilded Cross with the word INRI on a titulus above his head. He wears a crown of thorns, and a loin cloth, and blood streams from a wound in his right side. The Virgin Mary stands on the left with her hands extended, wearing a green veil, a royal blue gown over a green skirt, and a purple cloak. St John stands on the right with his hands clasped in prayer. He has long blonde hair and wears a blue gown with green sleeves, and a purple cloak. The cloudy blue sky is scattered with small groups of gold rays, and on the right is a white crescent moon enclosing a profile face. The lower background is uneven dark green.

The Saints on the two wings each stand on a green tiled floor beneath an ogee arch supported by diagonally fluted columns with a shallow apse behind them. Above the arches there are circular medallions, reserved in a black ground, that on the left wing occupied by a bearded man in profile to right wearing a turquoise helmet, and that on the right by a a clean-shaven man three-quarters to left wearing a green helmet. On the left wing St James is depicted as a pilgrim holding a staff in his right hand and an open book in his left. He is bearded, and barefooted, and wears a green hat, blue gown, and a dark bluish-green cloak. On the other wing St Catherine holds the hilt of a sword in her right hand, and an open book in her left. She wears a gold crown, a purple gown over a dark blue petticoat, and a royal blue cloak. The outlines of the costume, the architectural features, and medallions are gilded, and there are gold foliated scrolls in the spaces around the medallions.


History note: Propert Collection (?)

Legal notes

Frank McClean bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 18.9 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Paris ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, second half#
Circa 1850 CE - 1900 CE


Although in the style of Limoges Renaissance painted enamels, this triptych was made in the 19th century, possibly in Paris, or Limoges. The triptych was excluded from Dalton’s catalogue, presumably on the grounds that it was a pastiche. The Saints on the wings were probably inspired by the images on the wings of the famous triptych which bears on the right wing, the inscription MONVAERNI or MONVAEPNI on St Catherine’s sword, and in the 19th century was successively in the Didier-Petit, Odiot, and Cottreau collections in Paris. It is now in the Taft Museum, Cincinnati (See Documentation, Verdier, 1995). Her other attribute, a wheel, and her persecutor the Emperor Maxentius, which are shown on the triptych wing have been omitted. This image of St Catherine also occurs on a plaque in the Wallace Collection (IIIF 239, see Documentation, Higgott, 2011), and on the right wing of a triptych in the Frick Collection (see Documentation, Verdier and Focarino, 1977 ).

An almost identical triptych is in the Museo Diocesano Francesco Gonzaga at Mantua (see Documentation, Venturi, 2010), and another was sold by Christie's in London on 4 July, 2000, lot 37.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( translucent royal blue, two shades of green, and mulberry, and opaque flesh, red, white, and black) gold
Frame composed of wood
Plaques composed of silver foil copper
Side Plaques Height 10.8 cm Width 3.5 cm
Centre Plaque Height 10.8 cm Width 7.1 cm
Closed Width 11 cm
Open Width 21.2 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.43-1904
Primary reference Number: 156429
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 15 August 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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