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Frame for a Triptych: M.40-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Frame for a Triptych


Maker: Unknown




Silver frame, partly gilt, with two engraved and enamelled trefoil-shaped plaques in the side wings, backed by red velvet, wood and painted metal plaques.

When closed the frame is of five-sided gable shape with two hinged wings on one side, which open out to reveal a central traceried window with two trefoil-headed arches, under a quatrefoil in a circle, flanked by wings with single trefoil-headed arches with a smaller enamelled trefoil in a circle above. The frame is of silver, with gilt tracery inside, and on the exterior within the each section of the frame, a wooden backing covered by metal plaques painted pinkish-red, red, green, and white, and lined on the interior with red velvet. The two trefoil plaques are of silver engraved, and enamelled in translucent dark blue, green, and probably mulberry. The trefoil on the left is decorated with a beardless saint holding a palm in his right hand and probably, a large book. There may be another smaller figure or an unidentifiable object on the right. The trefoil on the right is decorated with a bearded saint holding a book in his left hand and raising his right in benediction. The metal cover within the silver frame has a pinkish-red ground overlaid by a darker red trellis with white spots at regular intervals, enclosing a green cross with foliated terminals. On the back the decoration does not come up to the edge, and there is a row of closely spaced pinholes along all the edges. On the left wing when closed there is a silver stud 4 cm up from the bottom, and on the other wing, a mark where another was situated.


History note: Hollingworth Magniac (1786-1867), Colworth, Bedfordshire; Charles Magniac; sold Christie’s, 2,4-8 and 11-15 July 1892, Catalogue of the renowned collection of works of art chiefly formed by the late Hollingworth Magniac, Esq. (known as the Colworth Collection), Day 4, p. 93, lot 337, sold to Frank McClean for £7.17.6.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

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


14th Century
Circa 1300 CE - 1400 CE Circa 1800 CE - 1900 CE


In the Magniac Collection Catalogue the frame was dated to the 15th century, but Dalton considered it to be 14th century, and French. Dalton (1912) considered that the painted outer cover was modern, and the velvet lining is obviously so.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Metal Backing composed of paint ( dull pinkish-red, darker red, green, and white)
Lining composed of velvet ( red)
Trefoil composed of enamel ( translucent blue, green, mulberry)
Back composed of wood copper alloy
Frame composed of gold silver
At Centre Height 18.7 cm
Closed Width 10.6 cm
Open Width 21 cm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: mainly illegible

  • Text: large script g followed by a or o and one or two more letters
  • Location: On front right wing when closed
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: Circular white paper label printed in black with MAGNIAC/ COLLECTION in a circle between concentric circles and in the middle hand-written in faded black ink’‘337’

  • Text: MAGNIAC/ COLLECTION in a circle enclosing 337
  • Location: On the back of the central plaque in lower left corner
  • Method of creation: Printed in black and hand-written in faded black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: printed in black : 'BEQUEATHED BY FRANK McCLEAN/M.A.: F.R.S: F.R.A.S: of Trinity College/November MDCCCCIV’. Hand-written above in faded black ink ‘Dalton no. 62’ and below ‘M40 1904’
  • Location: At bottom of the back of the central plaque
  • Method of creation: Printed in black and hand-written in faded black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.40-1904
Primary reference Number: 156426
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 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) "Frame for a Triptych" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-20 13:15:14

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