Eucharistic Dove

French (Limoges)
first half of the 13th century
Made at Limoges (France)

Object Place: Europe, Limoges, France


Overall: 17.7 x 22 x 8.5cm (6 15/16 x 8 11/16 x 3 3/8in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper

On View

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





The dove is constructed of two sides soldered together and reinforced with rivets (see radiograph, fig.8, Swarzenski and Netzer, 1986). The tail consisting of an upper enameled plaque and a lower gilded and engraved one, is soldered and riveted to the body. The enameled and engraved wings, which cross over the tail, are attached with rivets. Under the hinged right forewing is an oval receptacle for the host (H: 50mm; W: 66mm; D: 49mm) constructed from one curved piece of gilded copper soldered to a base plate. The blue glass eyes are attached to a rivet; the beak of cast brass is the end of a rivet extending to the back of the head; and the legs of solid copper serve as rivets attaching the feet and circular enameled base to the body. Enamel colors are lapis blue, red, green, yellow, and light blue. Plumage is simulated by engraving done on the gilt body after the bird was assembled. The wings and tail are enameled with linear and scale patterns and inset with turquoise and dark-blue stones on punched diagonal bands. The circular lapis-blue base has a central enameled rosette surrounded by thin rinceaux ending alternately in reserved and enameled trefoil leaves.


Campe collection (perhaps Julius Campe, Hamburg?) [see note 1]. By 1913, Léonce Alexandre Rosenberg (b. 1877 - d. 1947), Paris; June 12, 1924, Rosenberg sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 59. 1946, Octave Pincot, Paris; November 25, 1946, Pincot sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 47. 1949, Arthur Goldschmidt, London; sold by Goldschmidt to Raphael Stora, New York (stock no. 1108); 1949, sold by Stora to the MFA for $6000. (Accession Date: October 13, 1949)

[1] See the "Exposition d'objets d'art du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance" (Paris, Jacques Seligmann, 1913), pp. 109-110, cat. no. 210, which discusses a comparable object. The catalogue entry mentions a Eucharistic dove formerly in the Campe collection, which at that time was with Mr. Rosenberg; presumably this refers to the MFA object.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund