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Ciborium: M.25 & A-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown (Possibly)




Copper, enamelled and gilt

Copper, raised, enamelled in dark blue, dark green, dark red, and white enamels, and gilded with gold leaf; brass finial. The ciborium stands on a stepped and domed circular foot rising into a lobed stem supporting a separately made depressed globular knop with lobes above and below the equator, above which is a rounded calyx with everted petals on which the bowl rests. The deep rounded bowl is lobed round its lower part and has a gilt-copper rim. The domed cover has swirling gadroons on the top, and in the centre a finial in the form of a cross. The ground of both parts is blue with a dark green border round the foot, and dark green petals on the calyx. The blue areas are decorated in gold with palmettes, flower heads and fleurs-de-lys.The lobes on the foot, knop, and cover, and the gadroons on the bowl are white; with stylized flower and foliage ornament in gold with red and blue highlights on the lobed and gadrooned areas. Round the edge of the foot there is a continuous spray of foliage, a row of scallops and a row of flowerheads all in gold.


History note: Florence where bought in 1857 by C. Redfern; W. Bateman and T. Bateman, Lomberdale House, Youlgrave, Derbyshire; sold Sotheby, Wilkson & Hodge, 14 April 1893, The Bateman Heirlooms. Catalogue of the First Portion of the Valuable and Important Collection of Works of Art & Antiquity, formed by the late W. Bateman, Esq., & T. Bateman, Esq. Of Lomberdale House, Youlgrave, Co. Derby, p. 6, lot 22; sold to Frank McClean for £61.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 33.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


Late 15th-early 16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1500


A ciborium is a liturgical vessel in which the consecrated Host (bread or wafers) for the Eucharist is kept

Enamels of this type have been attributed to Venice since at least the 1850s, but recent comparisons of scientific analyses of Venetian glass and the enamels indicates that this is unlikely. Possible alternatives are elsewhere in the Veneto, Florence or elsewhere in Tuscany, see Documentation Warren (2019), Verità, et al (2018) Barbe et al (2019)

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( dark blue, dark green, dark red, and white) gold
Finial composed of brass (alloy) ( probably)
Cup And Cover composed of copper
Bowl Diameter 14.9 cm
Foot Diameter 15.8 cm

Techniques used in production

Raising : Copper, raised, enamelled in dark blue, dark green, dark red, and white, and gilded

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: circular paper label

  • Text: N.1.187/Cup & Cover of/Venetian Enamel/of the 15 or 16 century/Bought at Florence/by C. Redfern 1857/of extreme Value/& Importance/T.B.
  • Location: On underside of foot
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in faded black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.25 & A-1904
Primary reference Number: 119204
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 10 September 2019 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Ciborium" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-06 07:29:45

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{{cite web|url= |title=Ciborium |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-06 07:29:45|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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