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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)




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 en grisaille with a little pink, and one spot of red on a black ground, and gilded. Clear, unevenly applied counter-enamel, 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•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 number ‘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, part of lot 2594; sold to Stettiner. 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

Acquisition and important dates

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


Mid 16th century
Circa 1540 CE - 1550 CE


Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: Plaque depicting The Lord’s Prayer: ‘Give us today our daily bread’ This plaque depicts the fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Give us today our daily bread’. This was interpreted from early Christianity as referring to three types of bread: (1) real bread for the body’s physical nourishment; (2) the Word of God as revealed through the Scriptures for the soul’s nourishment; and (3) the sacramental bread consumed at the Eucharist, also essential for the soul. Nouailher’s image shows a preacher delivering the Word of God to a large crowd, while a couple dines in the background, illustrating the giving of both heavenly and earthly bread. Colin Nouailher (1514–after 1574) Limoges, France, c.1540–50, after Hans Holbein the Younger’s image in Erasmus, Precatio dominica in septem portiones (The Lord’s Prayer in seven parts), Basel, 1524.

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', 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 was derived from these prints, the 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 hat, may also have been influenced by the woodcut for the Preacher in Holbein's The Dance of Death, published in Lyon in 1538. This plaque differs from the examples in the Louvre and at Limoges in having the word VERITAS on the pulpit.

The series was 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 is confirmed 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, Limoges, in 2007 (2007.5.2) with another plaque of the 'Give us our daily bread' scene (2007.5.1). Plaques illustrating the Lord's Prayer were also executed by other Limoges enamellers.

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 lines 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 four more plaques are known illustrating this line, see Documentation

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

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: Wednesday 25 November 2020 Last processed: Saturday 31 December 2022

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 Lord's Prayer V: A Preacher giving a Sermon" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-06 07:19:32

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