Reliquary with Enthroned Christ (Obverse) and Virgin and Child (Reverse)

English or Lower Saxon
mid-12th century
Maker Unidentified

Object Place: Europe, England or Lower Saxony


Overall: 6 x 6 x 0.6cm (2 3/8 x 2 3/8 x 1/4in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper

Not On View





Quadrilobed container with an opening and two holes at the top, probably for an attachment loop. The front, showing an enthroned Christ, was hammered, engraved, and gilded. The very damaged back plaque, depicting a Madonna and Child, was hammered, champlevé, engraved, enameled, and gilded. A single strip of copper soldered to the plaques forms the sides.
With an open book in his left hand and his right hand raised in benediction, the long-haired and bearded Christ sits on a backless throne with a crosshatched cushion. The ground is diapered with the central circle marked in reserve. On the back, within a central circle, the half-length Virgin in reserve holds the Child in her left arm and a flowering rod in her right hand. To judge from the remaining traces of enamel, the Virgin’s halo and the ground within the circle were lapis blue. Christ’s halo and the lobes of the quatrefoil were white.


Possibly Charles Crodel (b. 1894 - d. 1973), Halle, Germany [see note 1]. Until 1953, Dr. Philip Nelson (b. 1872 - d. 1953), Liverpool; February 1, 1955, Philip Nelson and others sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 93, to Mrs. Hunt (probably Putzel Hunt) [see note 2]; probably sold by Mrs. Hunt to John Hewett (b. 1919 - d. 1994), London; February 9, 1955, sold by Hewett to Herbert Bier, London; 1955, sold by Bier to the MFA for $84. (Accession Date: September 15, 1955)

[1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file. [2] According to the list of buyers' names published by Sotheby's. John and his wife Putzel Hunt were friends and associates of John Hewett in London.

Credit Line

Harriet Otis Cruft Fund