Skip to main content

St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar: M.48-1904

An image of Plaque

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage

Titles

St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar

Maker(s)

Maker: Nouailher, Pierre II (Probably)

Entities

Categories

Description

Rectangular copper plaque painted in polychrome enamels and gilded. St Elizabeth giving alms to a beggar, titled below 'SANCTA.ELISABETHA'; white relief foliage and gold foliage on a black ground in the spandrels.

Rectangular, slightly convex copper plaque with a small hole at top centre and at bottom centre, and an inward curve to the left side, enamelled in blue, green, pink, red, brown, mulberry, grey, black, and white, and gilded. The counter-enamel is clear but appears uneven dark red. An oval medallion with a white and gold frame encloses a three-quarter length figure of St Elisabeth giving alms to a beggar. The Saint has a gold crown which forms part of her halo. Her dark brown hair has a centre parting and is ornamented on her left side with three rows of white pearls. Over a pleated mulberry dress, she wears a dark blue cloak with a green lining, and an ermine collar. The folds of the fabric are highlighted by small gold dashes. In her left hand she holds a gold sceptre terminating in a fleur-de-lys, and with her right is about to place a coin into the hat of a beggar approaching from her right. Only the upper part of his body is shown. His right arm is outstretched holding his hat, and his left hand is close to his chest. He wears a mulberry tunic, and a white and red cloth wound round his head. Behind him is a column and a green curtain. Both figures have red fingernails and shading on their hands. The spandrels outside the frame have a black ground decorated with gold foliage, and white foliage in relief. Across the bottom of the plaque is a narrow white label inscribed in black ‘: SANCTA • ELISABETHA’. On the back in black, ‘P. Novailher/esmaillieur/A Limoges’

Notes

History note: Not lot 247 in the Magniac Collection sale as stated by Dalton, 1912. Edwin H. Lawrence, FSA (1819-91); Christie’s, 4-6 May 1892, 2nd day, second part of lot 168; Frank McClean, MA, FRS (1837–1904) ; bequeathed by him

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 10.4 cm
Width: 8.5 cm

Relative size of this object

8.5 cm10.4 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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

Dating

Late 17th-early 18th Century
Circa 1690 CE - 1720 CE

Note

By 1728 there were only four master enamellers working in Limoges. This plaque was probably made by Pierre II Nouailher (1665-after 1743), rather than Pierre I Nouaillier (c. 1657-1717). Pierre II, his younger brother, was mentioned in local documents in 1737, 1739 and 1743. The format and style of this plaque is similar to others with portraits of Christ, the Virgin, or Saints attributed to Pierre II Nouailher. His treatment of the facial features, and the halos with wavy rays alternating with groups of shorter straight rays was distinctive, and can be seen on many other plaques. The quality is inferior to enamels attributed to Pierre I Nouailher, such as the bowl of a cup signed in capitals P. NOVALHER. ESMAILLEIVR’ in the Walters Art Gallery, or three two-handled cups in the Louvre. See Documentation, Verdier, 1964 and Baratte, 2000

Relief decoration usually in white with gilding on a black ground came into use in the 17th century and continued into the 18th. It is most commonly found in the spandrels of plaques, and is also found on two-handled bowls, candlesticks, ewers, and purse plaques.

St Elizabeth of Hungary was born in 1207, traditionally at Sàrospatak. At the age of fourteen she married Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia with whom she lived happily until he embarked on the Sixth Crusade, and died at Otranto in Italy in 1227. Elizabeth refused to remarry, and moved to Marburg, where she may have become a tertiary of the Fransiscan order. She founded a hospital, and continued the charitable good works for which she had become famous during her marriage. She died in 1531, and was canonized in 1235 by Gregory IX. Her bones were translated to the church of St Elizabeth at Marburg, which became a pilgrimage centre. In 1539 the Lutheran Landgrave Philip of Hesse had her bones removed to an unknown situation to prevent superstitious practices.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( blue, green, pink, red, brown, mulberry, grey, black, and white) gold
Plaque composed of copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: SANCTA.ELISABETHA
  • Location: On front of plaque at bottom
  • Method of creation: Painted in black enamel
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: P. Novailher/esmaillieur/A Limoges
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Painted in black enamel
  • Type: Signature
  • Text: Pi ?/S/1/ [1 raised over horizontal line]
  • Location: On back near the top
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.48-1904
Primary reference Number: 156434
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 10 November 2020 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/156434 Accessed: 2022-09-25 18:30:00

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/156434 |title=St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-09-25 18:30:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/api/v1/objects/object-156434

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa20/M_48_1904_20_281_29.jpg"
        alt="St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">St Elizabeth giving Alms to a Beggar</figcaption>
    </figure>
</div>
    

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...