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The Last Supper: M.52-1904

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Last Supper


Enameller: Reymond, Pierre




Copper enamelled in grisaille and brown on a black ground, and gilded. Christ and the twelve apostles are seated at a round table in a polygonal room. Signed '•P•R•’ and dated ‘154Z’ in the right top corner.

Rectangular, slightly convex copper plaque with incurved edge on the reverse. Copper, enamelled en grisaille and brown on a black ground and gilded. The drawing is in black with enlevage. The reverse has clear counter-enamel with a red veined appearance, much of the central area covered by a black subsance.
The Last Supper is taking place in a polygonal room. It has a brick wall in the middle, two oval windows on either side with a cornice above, and a chandelier in the middle. The twelve disciples are seated round a table with Christ below the chandelier. Two on each side sit with their backs to the viewer on wooden benches with carved scrolling foliage on the sides. The end of one is carved with a reclining putto, and the other with two struggling men. One of the men on the right holds a money bag identifying him as Judas. The floor tiles are decorated alternatively with a heraldic lion and a floral motif on a white ground. Gold is used for Christ’s halo, the string on the money bag, and for a narrow gold line running round the edge of the scene The black border has been painted white. Signed '•P•R•’ and dated ‘154Z’ in brownish-black in the right top corner


History note: Hollingworth Magniac, Colworth, Bedfordshire; his son,Charles Magniac (1827–91); sold Christie’s, 2 ,4-8 and 11-15 July 1892 ,Catalogue of the renowned collection of works of art chiefly formed by the late Hollingworth Magniac Esq. (known as the Colworth Collection, 3rd day, July 5, lot 230, sold for £27.6.0 to Frank McClean, Tonbridge Wells.

Legal notes

Frank McClean Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 14.9 cm
Width: 12.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, second quarter#
Production date: dated AD 1542


This devotional plaque shows The Last Supper which is described in three of the Gospels - Matthew 26, 20-30; Mark 14, 17-26, and Luke 22,14-38 - and is briefly mentioned in St John 13, 1-3. It was Jesus’ final meal before he was crucified, when he commanded his disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of him. The ritual re- enactment of this holy meal – the Eucharist or Holy Communion – became the central act of Christian worship, when the body and blood of Christ (in the form of bread and wine) were consumed for spiritual nourishment. During the Reformation the interpretation of Jesus' words was one of major sources of contention between Catholics and Protestants. The plaque would probably have formed part of a framed series depicting the Passion of Christ which traditionally began with Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and ended with his Entombment, but was frequently continued to his Resurrection, or Ascension. Very few groups of grisaille Passion plaques have survived together, so it is not possible to say whether this was part of a large series forming an altar piece for a church, or a smaller group for private devotions. Although clearly influenced by Albrecht Dürer's 'Last Supper in his series of woodcuts known as the 'Small Passion' executed in 1509-10, neither the majority of the figures, nor the setting are the same. The young St John is depicted on the viewer's right of Christ, and not leaning across in front of him as if falling asleep, a chandelier, and a tiled floor have been inserted, and a large flagon has been omitted. Pierre Reymond's earliest enamels were made in the 1530s, and his workshop was to become one of the most prolific in Limoges in the third quarter of the century. Of his grisaille Passion plaques dating from after 1540, the largest group is of six plaques in the Detroit Institute of Arts, all initialled ‘·P·R·’ or ‘P·R’ and three dated ‘1542’, derived from prints by Dürer, Schongauer, Schäufelein, and possibly Monogrammist AG (inv. nos. 21.171-21.176). Although the Fitzwilliam's plaque is a little less high, it is possible that it was once part of the same group. A plaque of the 'Arrest of Christ', also initialled ‘·P·R·’ and dated ‘1542’, in an American private collection, also seems likely to have been from the same series. However, it is also possible that Reymond produced more than one series of Passion plaques in 1542.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( brown, black and white) gold
Plaque composed of copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: •P•R•
  • Location: On front top right corner
  • Method of creation: Painted in brownish-black
  • Type: Maker's mark
  • Text: 154Z
  • Location: On front top right corner
  • Method of creation: Painted in brownish-black
  • Type: Date

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.52-1904
Primary reference Number: 156441
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Sunday 3 March 2024 Last processed: Sunday 3 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) "The Last Supper" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-16 11:39:48

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