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Gemellion: M.11-1921

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 32 (Rothschild)


Workshop: Unknown




Copper and champlevé enamel

Copper, raised, engraved, champlevé and enamelled. The shallow circular bowl has a narrow rim, and a spout on the left side. In the centre there is a circular medallion enclosing a man on horseback with a hawk on his wrist and scrolling foliage reserved in a blue enamel ground, framed by a continuous zigzag line reserved in a turquoise band. On the sides there are four white overlapping semi-circular petal outlines each enclosing two figures, a man playing a musical instrument and a woman dancing, except for the outline at the top in which the woman is doing a handstand. In each of the spandrels is a coat-of-arms (two, repeated) flanked by scrolling foliage reserved in a turquoise ground. On the back is a rosette engraved on the base with eight petals at the centre, and nineteen godrons to the edge.


History note: Félix Doistau; sold Hotel Drouot, 22-25 November 1909, Catalogue des objets D'art et de haute curiosité, émaux champlevés, ivories . . . . le tout dépendant des Collections de M. Félix Doistau, lot 114; purchased in Rome by the Right Hon. F. Leverton Harris

Legal notes

Given by the Rt. Hon. F. Leverton-Harris

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 22.6 cm
Height: 3.7 cm
Width: 23.6 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1921) by Harris, Frederick Leverton


13th Century, first half
Circa 1217 CE - 1249 CE


Gemellions (from the Latin, gemellus, a twin) were basins used in pairs for hand washing. Water was poured from a spouted bowl onto the hands held over the other bowl. This was an important preparation for eating as forks were not used at meals. This bowl bears the arms of Hugh X de Lusignan, comte de la Marche (d. 1249), who in 1217 mar¬ried Isabelle, or Elisabeth, only daugh¬ter of Aymar I, comte d’Ang¬oul¬eme (d. 1218) and Alix de Courte¬nai (d. c. 1245). But the basin does not bear the arms of Angouleme. See Documentation, Marquet de Vasselot, 1952.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel

Materials used in production

Copper alloy

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.11-1921
Primary reference Number: 139823
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 26 January 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Gemellion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-12 22:53:09

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