Four Ornamental Colonnettes

German (Cologne)
about 1185
Maker Unidentified

Object Place: Europe, Cologne, Germany


Overall: 24.9 x 3.2 x 3.2 cm (9 13/16 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper (shafts); gilding on brass (capitals and bases)

On View

I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)





Separate capitals, shafts, and bases with assembly marks. Capitals and bases are cast, chased and gilded. Shafts are hammered, champlevé, curved, enameled, and gilded. Enamel colors are lapis blue, light blue, turquoise, yellow, and white. The gilt-brass ajouré capitals, open in back, show an eagle with spread wings on three sides. Eagles and abaci are chased with geometric patterns. Bases are a simple baluster type. Colonnette (a) has alternating bands of lapis-blue borders containing turquoise lozenges with yellow quatrefoils and small turquoise squares with gilded quatrefoils against a light-blue ground. Colonnette (b) has a lapis-blue trellis around turquoise lozenges and white quatrefoils. On colonette (c), a spiral pattern of lapis-blue lozenges with white quatrefoils alternates with white lozenges filled with lapis-blue quatrefoils. The trellis consists of alternating turquoise, lapis-blue trellis enclosing white lozenges with lapis-blue quatrefoils. When purchased, the colonnettes were displayed on a neo-Gothic wooden shrine


About 1185, possibly the shrine of Saints Mauritius and Innocentius, Saint Servatius, Siegburg, Germany (original commission?) [see note 1]. 1968, the Duchess of Mecklenburg (probably Barbara Irene Adelheid Viktoria Elisabeth Bathildis, Princess of Prussia, b. 1920 - d. 1994), Burg Rheinstein, near Bingen, Germany [see note 2]; 1968, sold by the Duchess of Mecklenburg, through Eberhard Schenk zu Schweinsberg, Wiesbaden, to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 11, 1968)

[1] See Nancy Netzer and Hanns Swarzenski, Catalogue of Medieval Objects: Enamels and Glass (Boston: MFA, 1986), pp. 66-67, cat. no. 16. It is not certain that these colonettes came from the shrine, although their design elements are similar. At least four colonettes on the original shrine were replaced around 1902, when Paul Beumers of Düsseldorf restored it.

[2] Eberhard Schenk zu Schweinsberg is said to have discovered the colonettes, adorning a Neo-Gothic wooden box, in the cellar of the Burg Rheinstein. The Duchess of Mecklenburg may have inherited the pieces from the Hohenzollern family collection; Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Hohenzollern, King of Prussia (b. 1796 - d. 1861), for example, was a known collector of similar objects in the 19th century.

Credit Line

Edwin E. Jack Fund