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The Lord's Prayer VI: Christ freeing the Prisoners: M.49D-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Lord's Prayer VI: Christ freeing the Prisoners


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




Rectangular copper plaque enamelled en grisailled with a little pink on a black ground, and gilded. Christ visiting the prisoners. Inscribed below T•NO9•PAIDONE•.NOZ• FFESES• AINSY/ E• NOVS• PARDONOS•A. CEVLX•/Q/ NOVS• ONT• OFFENSE’ (And pardon our offences as we pardon them that offend us). One of a set wth M.49A-C, E & F-1904

Rectangular convex copper plaque with a hole in each corner, enamelled en grisaille with a little flesh pink on a black ground, and gilded. Clear counter-enamel unevenly applied with blobs in the top right quarter, and on the lower edge. A large red area of copper in that quarter. Two prisoners are seated side by side in front of a wall in which there is a barred arched window. Thier legs and arms are in stocks Christ enters from a doorway on the right. He has a gold aurole, and is bearded, long-haired, and bare-footed. He wears a long gown with a cloak over it. His arms are held out towards the prisoners. A gaoler with his back to the viewer, is unlocking the prisoner on the left. The gaoler wears a cap with a feather in it, a tunic, trunk hose and shoes. The edges of Christ’s robes and the gaoler’s clothes are outlined in gold. A white panel running across the bottom of the panel, is inscribed in black with gold over it, T•NO9•PAIDONE•.NOZ• FFESES• AINSY/ E• NOVS• PARDONOS•A. CEVLX• Q/NOVS•ONT•OFFENSE’ (And pardon our offences as we pardon them that offend us). A gold line runs round the scene and the inscription. The reverse is inscribed in black with the number ‘VI’. ADD line over Q and N and O in PARDONOS
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), Rusthall House, near Tunbridge Wells.

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 1530 CE - 1560 CE


This plaque was originally the sixth of a set of eight representing 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', and the others, have scenes associated with the lines of the Lord's Prayer. The words are written below in French. This plaque, the sixth in the sequence, represents the line ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us’ (Matthew VI, 12). The subject, 'Christ delivering prisoners from captivity' is a reference to the words 'to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them sit in darkness out of the prison house' in Isaiah, 42.6-7. Three more plaques decorated with this subject have been recorded, see Documentation. The scenes illustrating the lines of the prayer in 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 probably 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). Possibly they were intended to be used in a French illustrated edition which was never published. While the iconography of all the plaques was derived from these prints, the details of the figures and settings differ, in some scenes more than others. Two plaques enamelled in the same style 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 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 Musée des Beaux-Arts), Limoges, in 2007 (2007.5.2) with another plaque of the 'Give us our daily bread' scene (2007.5.1). Lord's Prayer plaques were also executed probably by Jean II or III Pénicaud, and an enameller who signed 'KIP' or' KI'. These are in very different styles from the Nouailher plaques and include some scenes which were not based on the Holbein/CV illustrations.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( white, pink, and black) gold
Plaque composed of copper Height 12 cm Width 9.6 cm
Frame Height 13 cm Width 10.6 cm

Inscription or legends present

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

Inscription present: Roman six

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

Inscription present: almost square label with serrated edges, printed in blue with a beaded border; text underlined as far as di

  • Text: 4899 s(4/T000/N000/A10/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.49D-1904
Primary reference Number: 156438
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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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Lord's Prayer VI: Christ freeing the Prisoners" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-18 01:57:49

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