Pair of Ornamental Plaques
German (Rhineland or Meuse)
last quarter of 12th century
Maker Unidentified artist
Object Place: Europe, Rhineland/Meuse, Germany, North Germany
6.8 x 2.2 cm (2 11/16 x 7/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper
Not On View
Rectangular plaques beaded on the long sides; two pinholes on each. Hammered, tooled, champlevé, enameled, and gilded. Enamel colors are lapis blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red, and white in single and mixed fields of up to three colors. Within a lapis-blue border on three sides, lozenges composed of two strands (one turquoise and white and the other lapis blue and white) contain lapis-blue rosettes with white edges and blue centers. Triangular spaces are filled with demi-rosettes in green with yellow edges and red centers. On the reverse of (a) is a zigzag design (possibly chisel trials or assembly marks).
Possibly Paul Garnier, Paris [see note 1]. By 1935, Henri Garnier, Neuilly and Lille, France [see note 2]; 1943, reported missing from Garnier's collection [see note 3]. 1950, with F. A. Drey, London; 1950, sold by Drey to the MFA for $1800 [see note 4]. (Accession Date: March 9, 1950)
 According to a letter from Francis A. Drey to Hanns Swarzenski of the MFA (February 3, 1950). This information has not been substantiated, and whether the Henri Garnier collection was intended is not known. When they were acquired in 1950, three enamels (MFA accession nos. 50.820, 50.821a-b) were housed in the frame of an ivory plaque, MFA accession no. 50.819.
 This was lent from the Garnier collection to the "Exposition de Notre-Dame des Ardents et du Calvaire d'Arras dans l'Art et le Folklore," Chapelle des Religieuses Franciscaines, Arras, June 16-August 1, 1935, cat. no. 157.
 At the time of its accession, the ivory plaque (in its frame) was known to have come from the Garnier collection and exhibited at Arras in 1935. However, the MFA was unaware at this time that Henri Garnier reported that it had been stolen from his collection in 1943, as published in the Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot (February 9, 1944). In a letter to the MFA of December 31, 1965, Mr. Garnier stated that it had been stolen from him during World War II (the exact circumstances of the loss are unclear from the information he provided). By November, 1966, the MFA and Mr. Garnier arrived at a financial settlement, by which ownership of the ivory and enamels was assigned fully to the MFA (letter from MFA director Perry Rathbone to Henri Garnier, November 3, 1966).
 MFA accession nos. 50.819, 50.820, and 50.821a-b were purchased together.
William E. Nickerson Fund