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Christ Driving the Moneylenders from the Temple: M.4-1954

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Christ Driving the Moneylenders from the Temple


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




Copper, enamelled in grisaille with Christ driving the Moneylenders from the Temple, and gilded. Signed ‘M.D.’ with a dot inside the D.

Rectangular very convex copper plaque, enamelled in grisaille and with pale pink on a black ground, and gilded. The black appears dark mulberry-brown round the edges. The technique of enlevage was used to model the figures. The reverse has cloudy, and bubbly translucent counter-enamel with many pin holes of different sizes, and red oxidization spots.
The action takes place inside the temple. On the left is a doorway with a horizontal architrave, and on the right, an archway with a circular window above it. To left of centre there is a row of receding cylindrical columns and to the right on the wall, a sconce with a lighted candle. Christ stands in front of the columns, whielding a twisted rope in his right hand to drive the money lenders away. His back is turned to the viewer and he looks down towards a money lender who lies on his back on the ground at his feet, with an upturned stool table, a bag of money and a heap of gold coins beside him. Two men flee towards the arch on the right, in which are three other men, and a priest who is looking towards the action. On the left is an upturned stool, a man holding a sacrificial sheep, and three partly visible figures, one a woman, standing beside the doorway. Above the circular window there is a tabella ansata bearing the initials ‘M.D.’ with a dot inside the D. The gilding is restricted to the heap of coins, Christ’s aureole, the candle flame, and a line round the edge of the scene.


History note: Andrew Fountaine III (1770-1835); Andrew Fountaine IV (1808-1873) ; 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 260; M. Colnaghi (£97.13.0 with lot 259). Stephenson Clarke (1824-91), Croydon Lodge, Surrey; his daughter, Mrs Dendy Marshall (née Adela Rose Clarke, 1872/3–1955).

Legal notes

Given by Mrs Dendy Marshall

Measurements and weight

Depth: 1.3 cm
Height: 15.3 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 - 1575


The event depicted, Christ driving the Money-changers from the Temple, is described in the Gospel of St John 2, 13-16. On arriving at Jerusalem before the Passover, Jesus entered the temple and found it full of money changers and vendors of sacrificial animals. Incensed, he made a scourge and drove them out, upsetting their tables and money, and saying to the dove sellers “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” 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 plaques, also signed, have more obvious hatching and cross-hatching in the manner of an engraving, executed by enlevage through the pale upper layer to reveal the darker toned enamel below, as on the Fitzwilliam's M.3-1954, where it is particularly pronounced. This scene was enamelled after one of the thirty-seven woodcuts in the series known as the 'Small Passion' by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), executed between 1509 and publication in book form in 1511, or a copy after it. The subject is not one which would stand alone well, and the plaque is therefore likely to have been part of a Passion group, which, depending on its numbers, could have been framed as an altarpiece, as 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 the Fitzwilliam's plaque, M.3-1954: ‘M·D·’ with I inside the D. There are several Passion plaques by Ydeux of about the same size as the Fitzwilliam's, including 'Christ washing St Peter’s Feet' (Louvre OA 4004), and 'Christ before Pilate' in the British Museum (Inv. 1913,1220.75), which could be from the same set, and can be seen on these museums' websites.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

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

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Rectangular label printed with ‘7’ in black

  • Text: 7
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: af (the label) 7

  • Text: af 7
  • Location: On back flanking the label
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.4-1954
Primary reference Number: 156458
Old object number: af 7
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) "Christ Driving the Moneylenders from the Temple" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-14 21:05:16

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