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The Lord's Prayer V: A Preacher giving a Sermon: M.49C-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Lord's Prayer V: A Preacher giving a Sermon


Maker: Nouailher, Colin (Probably)
Designer: Holbein, Hans, the younger (After)
Printmaker: Monogrammist C V B (After)




Rectangular copper plaque enamelled en grisaille with a little pink and red, on a black ground, and gilded. A preacher in a canopied pulpit addresses a congregation. In the background a man and woman dine in front of a house. Below is an inscription ‘DONNE NOVSAVIOVR DHVY•NOS/TRE PAIN COTIDIAN’ (Give us today our daily bread). One of a set with M.49A, B & D-F-1904

Rectangular convex copper plaque with a small hole in each corner, enamelled in grisaille technique in opaque white with enlevage with a little pink, and one spot of red on a black ground, and gilded. The counter enamel is clear, and unevenly applied with thick blobs at the top and left side. On the left, a preacher stands in a canopied pulpit inscribed 'VERI/TAS' on its side. He addresses a congregation of women seated in the middle, and men standing on the right. A woman seated on the right holds a closed book. Another in the middle holds an infant on her lap, and another with her back to the pulpit has a cloak draped around her. A partly shown figure behind them has a red jewel in his turban-like cap. Only two of the men are shown in detail. Both wear square hats and long gowns. In the background there are columns and a man and woman dining at a table in front of a house. The man offers a cup to the woman. The sky is powdered with gold, and there are four gold plants in the foreground. A white panel running across the bottom of the plaque is inscribed in black with gilding over it 'DONNE NOVSAVIOVR DHVY\bullet NOS/TRE PAIN COTIDIAN' (Give us today our daily bread). A gold line runs round the scene and the inscription. The reverse is inscribed in black with the Roman numeral 'V'.
The plaque is set in an ill-fitting, rectangular, gilt-metal frame with repeating formal leaf border. The plaque is held into the frame by four bent over pins attached to the cardinal points on the reverse.


History note: Uncertain; possibly Robert Napier, West Shandon, Dunbartonshire by 1865; sold Christie’s, 5 June, 1877, one of six plaques in lot 2594; sold to Stettiner. Or, although smaller, G.H. Morland; sold Christie's, 10 May 1866, one of six plaques in gilt-metal frames in lot 437. An unidentified French sale in which the six plaques formed lot 289. An unidentified Italian owner or dealer before or after the sale. Frank McClean, MA, FRS (1837-1904), Tunbridge Wells; bequeathed by him.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France
  • Basel ⪼ Switzerland

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Mid
Circa 1540 CE - 1550 CE


This plaque was originally the fifth of a set of eight illustrating the Lord's Prayer of which six are in the Fitzwilliam (M.49A-F-1904). The first plaque shows Christ instructing his disciples how to pray (Matthew, VI, 6-7), and the others have scenes associated with the petitions of the Lord's Prayer which follows (Matthew, VI, 8-13). The words are written in French at the bottom of each plaque. This plaque illustrates the line 'Give us our daily bread' (Matthew, VI, 11). At least seven more plaques are known illustrating this line, see Documentation The literal interpretation of the petition is represented by a couple taking a meal in the background, but the significant message of the scene is that the congregation should feed their minds and souls on the spiritual food of the Word of God expounded by the preacher. The viewers would probably have familiar with Jesus words to to Satan during his Temptation in the Wilderness, that 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God' (Matthew IV:4), and with his words after the Feeding of the Five Thousand, 'I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believes in me shall never thirst' (John VI: 35). The scenes in this Lord's Prayer series were inspired by a set of metalcuts by the Basel monogrammist C.V. after Holbein which appeared in Desiderio Erasmus's 'Precatio dominica in septem portiones' (The Lord's Prayer in seven parts), published by both Johann Froben and Johannes Bebel successively in Basle in 1524. The work was first published without illustrations in 1523, and was rapidly translated into modern languages. The illustrations in the Froben and Bebel editions have the inscriptions in Latin, but a set of eight prints issued separately a little later with inscriptions in French, signed CV, is in the British Museum (1904.0206, 64,1-8;) and seven of the set (no. 4 is missing) are in the Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris (EA 25c in fol., p. 57). While the iconography of all the plaques by Colin Nouailler was derived from these metalcuts, their details differ considerably, in some scenes more than others. See Documentation. The preacher on the plaques, who unlike the one in Precatio domenica ..., wears a biretta, seems likely to have been influenced by the woodcut for the Preacher in Holbein's 'The Dance of Death', published in Lyon in 1538. The iconography of this plaque differs greatly from the Holbein version, which presents an orthodox view of this line as a petition for everyday food together with the spiritual bread of the Eucharist and the Word of God. Possibly significantly the enameller omitted a priest administering the Eucharist in the middle of the metalcut scene. The word 'VERITAS' (Truth) on the side of the pulpit is not present in the print, nor on the other plaques of this subect. It may refer to the Latin text of St John's Gospel 17: 17, in which Christ, while praying to God for his disciples before his arrest asked 'Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth'. Its presence can also be related to Erasmus's text in' Precatio dominica . . .', where he wrote in Latin 'Your Son is the truth, and the truth of the gospel is the bread that he left us for spiritual nourishment.' The presence of the word VERITAS therefore suggests that the patron or enameller was familiar with Erasmus' text as well as the illustrations. Two plaques from this Lord's Prayer series in the Louvre were attributed to Colin Nouailher by Alfred Darcel (1867) and his attribution was upheld by J.J. Marquet de Vasselot (1919-20) and Sophie Baratte (2000). This attribution was confirmed for plaques in the same style by the presence of the initials CN below the title on a plaque from the Lord’s Prayer decorated with the 'Deliver us from Evil' scene, acquired by the Musée de l’Évêché, (now the Musée des Beaux-Arts), Limoges, in 2007 (2007.5.2) with another plaque of the 'Give us our daily bread' scene (2007.5.1). Sets of plaques illustrating the Lord's Prayer were also executed by at two more Limoges enamellers: one signing himself KIP or KI; and the other probably Jean II or III Pénicaud. Their sets include some scenes which differ completely from the Holbein/CV prints, and their text follows the French of the prints in the British Museum.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( white, pink, red, and black) gold
Frame composed of gilt-metal Height 13 cm Width 10.5 cm
Plaque composed of copper Height 12.1 cm Width 9.7 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Painted in black and gold
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: Roman five

  • Text: V
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Number

Inscription present: almost square label with two serrated edges, and blue printed beaded border; text underlined as far as the H

  • Text: 3) 4899 sei/T000/N000/H 10 di una/venduta separato ...’.
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.49C-1904
Primary reference Number: 156437
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Sunday 3 March 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 5 March 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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