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The Annunciation: M.42-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Annunciation


Maker: Court, Suzanne de




Copper plaque decorated with polychrome enamels and gilding. The Virgin is seated at a table on the right with a canopied bed in the background, and a vase of lilies in the foreground. The Archangel Gabriel holding a stem of lilies swoops down in from the left. Gilt-metal frame

Rectangular, slightly convex copper plaque with arched top, enamelled over a white preparation or silver (probably) foils in translucent blue, turquoise, yellow, pale red, dark red, mulberry, purple, and brown, and in black, and white, and gilded. The Virgin’s garments and those of the Archangel and his wings, the vase, the flowers in it and those lying on the table are foiled. The outlines are drawn in black on the white preparation or on the foils. The flesh is tinted by a thin wash of pink with clusters of fine pale red lines. The counter-enamel is concealed by the frame. The Virgin is seated on a yellow bench with her feet on a footstool beside a brown table covered by a turquoise cloth on which lie an open book, and scattered flowers. She wears a dark red mantle over a blue dress with turquoise sleeves. She holds open the book with her right hand and has raised her left to her breast. Behind her there is a brown four-poster bed with turquoise valance and cover. A blue two-handled vase containing four lilies, a purple four-petalled flower,two small blue flowers, and a turquoise flower, stands to the left on the purple tiled floor, which has two brown edged steps in the foreground. The Archangel Gabriel swoops down from turquoise clouds on the left. His right arm is raised in salutation, and he holds a stem with three lilies in his left hand. He has blue and turquoise wings and wears a crimson tunic over a blue gown with a yellow sash. Below is a wall with an arched window and a door, and in the distance beyond the bed, a building with a doorway and window, all in purple. Gold is used to define the edges of the furniture, table cover, and bed hangings, the vase and its handles, the stylized floral and other motifs on the tiles, the edges and shading on the Virgin’s dress and halo, Gabriel’s wings and sash, and the rays of light on the clouds. The plaque is mounted in a arched rectangular gilt metal frame with toothed outer frame on the front, and closed back with a vertically hinged support.


History note: Hollingworth Magniac, Colworth, Bedfordshire; his son, 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), 5th Day, 7 July, p. 138, lot 519A, sold for £64.1.0 to Frank McClean, Tunbridge Wells.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 12.9 cm
Width: 9.9 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century, Early#
Henri IV
Production date: circa AD 1600


Dalton (see Documentation) described this Annunciation as in the style of Jean Limosin, but Marquet de Vasselot, in April 1909, attributed it to Suzanne de Court about 1600. The style, but not the iconography, does seem close to a richly-coloured rectangular plaque of the Annunciation signed ‘SVSANNE. COVRT F•’. at Waddesdon Manor, and an unsigned oval plaque in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore.

Suzanne Court (she used an s rather than a z in her name) is the only known female Limoges enameller of this period. No biographical details have been found for her, but a reference in the parish register of Saint-Pierre-de Queyroix which may refer to her is the baptism on 29 November 1598 of a son Jean born to Suzanne Vigier, wife of a goldsmith, Jean Le Masit, whose godfather was Jean Vigier. Over forty enamels initialled or signed by her have been recorded. She signed most frequently with her initials, S.C. and at others SVSANNE COVRT, SVSANNE COVRT F., SVSANNE DE COVRT, OR SVSANNE DE COVRT F.

The Annunciation is described in St Luke's Gospel, verses 26-28. The Angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to tell her that she has found favour with God, and will bear a son, who will be named Jesus. The lilies in Gabriel's hand, and in the vase beside her, are symbols of her purity.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( translucent blue, turquoise, yellow, pale red, dark red, mulberry, purple, and brown, and in opaqueblack, and white) silver foil gold

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.42-1904
Primary reference Number: 156428
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 11 August 2016 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

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) "The Annunciation" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-03 10:47:57

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