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St Eleonore: M.47-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


St Eleonore


Maker: Nouailher, Jean-Baptiste I




Rectangular copper plaque painted in enamels and gilded. St Eleonor holding a palm, in an oval medallion titled below in two panels 'SAINTE' 'ELEONOR'; raised white foliage reserved in a black ground in the spandrels

Rectangular copper plaque with slightly waisted sides and a hole at top centre and at bottom centre, enamelled in blue, green, yellow, pink, flesh- pink, orange-red, stone, brown, black, and white, and gilded. The counter-enamel is cloudy dark brownish-black.
An oval medallion with a white border encloses a full-length seated figure of St Eleonor holding a green palm in her left hand, and resting her right hand on her breast. She has black and red jewels in her hair, and wears a red long-sleeved dress highlighted in pink, a white collar with red stripes, and a brooch at centre front, and a blue ermine-lined cloak sem\'e9 with gold fleurs-de-lys. To her left there is a chest covered by a white cloth decorated with fleur-de-lys, on which rests a crown and sceptre. Behind her is a stone-coloured wall and a black background. The black spandrels outside the frame are decorated in raised white with stylized foliage. Two narrow white panels at the bottom of the plaque are inscribed in black,'SAINTE ELEONOR'. Signed on the reverse in gold: 'B.TE. OVAILHER./ EMAILIEVR/A. LIMOGES' followed by a flourish.


History note: Edwin H. Lawrence, FSA (1819-91); sold Christie’s, 4-6 May 1892, second day, first part of lot 168; Frank McClean, MA, FRS (1837–1904); bequeathed by him.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, Mid
Louis XV
Circa 1730 CE - 1760 CE


St Eléonore (Eleanor) daughter of count Raimondo-Berengar V of Provence, and sister-in-law of St Louis,was married to Henry III of England in 1236. She was a devoted and ambitious mother, and a loyal supporter of her husband during the political troubles of the 1250s and 60s. Henry died in 1272 but it was not until 1286 that Eleonor took the veil at Amesbury Priory in Wiltshire, a daughter house of Fontevrault in France. She died at Amesbury on 24 June 1291, and was buried there. Her heart was taken to London to be buried in the church of the Fransiscans, the order which she particularly favoured, and had provided her spiritual advisers. Her acts of piety including the founding of a Dominican priory at Guildford, and benefactions to the hospital of St Katharine by the Tower, and the Cistercian nunnery of Tarrant in Dorset. Her granddaughter Beatrice, who took the veil at Amesbury shortly before she did, later became Abbess of Fontevrault. The cult of St Eleonore developed unofficially and she has not been canonized.

The plaque was probably enamelled by Jean-Baptiste Nouailher I, son of Pierre Nouailher the elder and Anne Faulte, who was baptised in the Parish of Saint-Pierre en Saint-Etienne, on 26 May 1697 and died in 1775, rather than his nephew Jean-Baptiste Nouailher II (baptised 1732-1804). Both lived in the rue Manigne in Limoges, although the latter’s address on his death was near the Fontaine des Barres. When signing his work Jean-Baptiste Nouailher I dropped his first Christian name and wrote his second in full or abbreviated to Bte or BTE. Both enamellers used very dark purplish-brown counter-enamel.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( blue, green, yellow, pink, flesh- pink, orange-red, stone, brown, black, and white) gold
Plaque composed of copper
Centre Height 11.2 cm Width 8.1 cm
Left Edge Height 11.6 cm
Top Width 9 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: SAINTE.’ ‘ELEONOR.
  • Location: On front of plaque at the bottom
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: B.TE. NOVAILHER./EMAILIEVR/A. LIMOGES’ followed by a flourish
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Signature
  • Text: PN and P /Sl
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.47-1904
Primary reference Number: 156433
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 10 November 2020 Last processed: Friday 1 March 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "St Eleonore" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-29 19:15:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=St Eleonore |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-29 19:15:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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