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Panel: M.12-1904

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Object information


  • An Archbishop among his Choir

Rectangular ivory panel. A large figure of a bishop or archbishop stands under a scalloped or shell niche facing the spectator with his right hand raised. On a desk to his left, held at the top in his left hand, is an open book inscribed in Latin 'Ad te levavi animam meam’ (‘Unto thee I have raised my soul’). Above, five deacons stand beneath a similar niche. Before him, three on his right and three on his left and one facing him, stand the canons, those at the sides with their mouths open about to chant. At the top and bottom is a crenalated wall and a pair of towers with round-headed windows. A finely carved border of acanthus frames the scene.

Discovered by Frédéric Spitzer at Schaffausen; Frédéric Spitzer Collection, Paris; sold, Paris, Chevallier, 18th April 1893, Objets d'art et de haute curiosité, Antiques, du Moyen-age and de la Renaissance, Composant l'importante et precieuse Collection Spitzer, catalogue p. 10, lot 45.

Named entities

  • Panel
  • Panel from a book cover

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

  • Method of acquisition: Bequeathed
  • Dates: 1904




The narrow rectangular format of this panel was derived from late Roman consular diptychs: hinged writing tablets showing the consul performing his duties which he presented to his supporters and friends on entering office. Its date and origin are uncertain, but recent scholarship indicates that it was probably made in the late tenth century, in Lotharingia, the area of modern Lorraine. The bishop or archbishop is about to celebrate Mass with five deacons behind him and in front of him, seven canons singing. The book on the desk is inscribed in Latin with the introit to the Roman Mass for the first Sunday in Advent, beginning 'Ad te levavi animam mean' (Unto thee, I raise my soul), sung as the celebrant processed into the church. His right hand is raised, not in blessing, but to indicate that he is ready to begin the service. The panel probably adorned the cover of a liturgical book such as a gradual, a choir book used in the Mass. Another ivory panel, probably carved in the same workshop, shows the celebrant standing in front of the altar at a later point in the service (Liebieghaus Museum, Frankfurt am Main). See the latest works in 'Documentation' for the most recent interpretations and dating of the panel.

Measurements and weight

  • Depth: 1.2 cm
  • Depth: 1/2 in
  • Height: 33.7 cm
  • Height: 13 1/4 in
  • Width: 11.4 cm
  • Width: 4 1/2 in

Agents depicted

Subjects depicted

Materials used in production

Techniques used in production

Associated department: Applied Arts

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Audit data

  • Created: Saturday 6 August 2011
  • Updated: Tuesday 23 February 2021
  • Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021
  • Data source: Adlib

Associated institutions

How to cite this record

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Panel" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-05-12 16:34:12

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

{{cite web|url=|title=Panel|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-05-12 16:34:12|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Machine readable data

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