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The Last Supper: M.3-1954

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Last Supper


Enameller: Ydieux, Martial (Probably)
Printmaker: Dürer, Albrecht (After)




Rectangular copper plaque enamelled en grisaille with the Last Supper, signed M.D. with a dot inside the D.

Rectangular, almost flat, copper plaque, enamelled in grisaille and with a little pale pink enamel on a black ground, and gilded. The ground appears very dark brownish-mulberry on the outer edges, The reverse has clear unevenly applied counter- enamel tinged with brownish-mulberry.
A white fringed canopy runs across the top beneath which Christ and the twelve disciples are seated round a table on which are five manchets of bread, an animal on oval dish, a knife, a roll, and beaker. Two of the disciples seated on a bench on the left have their backs to the viewer, as does another on the right, whose moneybag identifies him as Judas. Behind him in the foreground is a ovoid ewer with a scroll handle. Behind Christ there is a black hanging scatted with gold dots and edged by gold lines. Gold is also used for Christ’s aureole and the halos of the disciples. Initialled in gold beside the ewer in the right foreground ‘.M.D .’ with an I inside the D.


History note: Andrew Fountaine III (1770–1835); Andrew Fountaine IV (1808–73); Christie’s, 16 June, 1884, and following days, Catalogue of the Celebrated Fountaine Collection of Majolica, Henri II. Ware, Palissy Ware, Nevers Ware, Limoges Enamels . . . Removed from Narford Hall, Norfolk, second day, p. 34, lot 259; Martin Colnaghi (£97.13.0 with lot 260). Stephenson Clarke (1824-91), Croydon Lodge, West Sussex; his daughter, Mrs Dendy Marshall (née Adela Rose Clarke (1872/73–1955), Wondersh, near Guildford, Surrey.

Legal notes

Given by Mrs Dendy Marshall

Measurements and weight

Height: 15.5 cm
Width: 12.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1954-10-21) by Marshall, Dendy, Mrs


16th Century, third quarter#
Circa 1550 - 1570


This plaque would have formed part of a 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 the Resurrection, or Ascension. The Last Supper, Christ’s final Passover meal with his disciples at which he instituted the Eucharist or Holy Communion, 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. The source of the design was 'The Last Supper' in Albrecht Dürer’s thirty-seven woodcuts known as the Small Passion, executed in 1509¬-10, and published in book form with a Latin text in Nuremberg in1511. The enameller followed the print closely, including the prominent hatching, but exchanged a sturdy flagon in the right foreground for an elegant pseudo-classical ewer, and omitted a small covered pot on the table. The plaque was probably part of series of Passion plaques, which, depending on its numbers, could have been framed as an altarpiece, as some polychrome Passion plaques were, or as a smaller triptych or panel for devotional use. However, no large groups of grisaille Passion plaques have survived from this period in their original frame.The most extensive group attributed to Martial Ydeux comprises ten larger plaques in the Louvre, three of which are signed in the same way as this one. The enameller, Martial Ydeux (active from the late 1540s to about 1570) was one of the finest exponents of the grisaille technique, who seems to have worked mainly on plaques. His best work is extraordinarily refined and expressive, with soft gradations of grey to white on a manganese-black ground producing painterly sfumato effects. Other signed plaques, including this one, have more obvious hatching and cross-hatching in the manner of an engraving, executed by enlevage with a needle through the pale upper layer to reveal the darker toned enamel below. Similar differences in execution are present between the Louvre’s plaques of 'Christ washing St Peter’s Feet' and the' Nailing of Christ to the Cross' both initialled MD enclosing I.(Inv. OA 4004 and OA 970).

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( white, dark mulberry-brown appearing black, pale pink; clear counter enamel)
Plaque composed of copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: .M.D .’ (dot inside D)
  • Location: On front to left of ewer in right foreground
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Initials

Inscription present: small square paper label printed with a ‘6’.

  • Text: 6
  • Location: On the back
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Label
  • Text: 'af 'and '6'
  • Location: On back on either side of the paper label
  • Method of creation: Scratched
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.3-1954
Primary reference Number: 156457
Old object number: af 6
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 5 March 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 5 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: 2024-06-15 08:30:06

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