by Michael Riddick
While the relationship between plaquettes and other media have been thoroughly studied, less explored is their rarer influence on French enamels, especially upon artists like Jean II Pénicaud and his contemporary, the Master K.I.P. That the two enamelers both show evidence of using plaquettes as source material could bring credence to Alfred Darcel’s early suggestion that Master K.I.P. was a pupil active in Pénicaud II’s workshop.1
The great majority of painted Limoges enamel compositions were initially dependent upon prints from the Rhineland, Germany, France and Flemish territories. By the mid-16th century, the wide diffusion of prints throughout Europe provided ample references for enamelers who either borrowed from them directly or mixed-and-matched source material to realize their designs.
Borrowing from prints was a practice both enamelers and plaquette-makers shared in common. In Northern Europe this is especially evident where Northern plaquette-makers based their reliefs on the same prints used also by enamelers. Examples include productions based upon Dürer’s Passion series2 or the works of Bernard Salomon.3
The intersecting influence of prints on both enamels and Italian plaquettes can also be observed. One example is Marcantonio Raimondi’s Quos Ego (after Raphael) (Fig. 01), reproduced variably by Limoges enamelers (Fig. 02) and also known by a celebrated plaquette version of the same subject cast after a carved rock crystal by Giovanni Bernardi da Castelbolognese (Fig. 03). Reproductions of the Twelve Caesars, also based on prints by Raimondi, are another example of motifs reproduced by bronze workshops in Italy and copied also by the Limoges enamelers of France (Fig. 04).
While prints were the dominant point-of-reference for enamelers, outliers have been identified such as regional stained-glass designs and paintings.4 Some of the earliest enamels share a relationship with French illuminated manuscripts and prayer books. The small scale of illuminations, and later, of small-sized prints for the enrichment of books, provided logical source material for the enamelers of Limoges whose creations shared an equally intimate scale.
As the popularity of Italian plaquettes made their way across Europe, their similar small-scale and function as objects for setting into paxes, use in private devotion, decoration for furniture, as hat badges and assemblage into groups for the purpose of story-telling, made them suitable source material for the minority of enamels showcased here.
THE DIFFUSION OF ITALIAN PLAQUETTES IN FRANCE
Documentary sources for the arrival of plaquettes in France is limited. The earliest recorded collection of plaquettes in France is preserved in the Bibliothéque Nationale, originally assembled under the auspices of King Louis XIV during the 1660s. Additionally, a contemporaneous cabinet-of-curiosities formed by the erudite monastic, Pére Claude du Molinet at the abbey of Sainte-Geneviéve in Paris, is recorded in 1675 and also includes a collection of plaquettes.5
While the presence of developed plaquette collections can be traced to the third quarter of the 17th century, much earlier indications for the arrival of Italian plaquettes in France is observed by the reproduction of their motifs on French architecture, as they were similarly employed in Italy at an early date.6 Other early observable uses include their feature on book bindings and furniture and slightly later is their integral appearance on bronze mortars, porcelain-ware and enamels.
Political, religious, artistic, academic and trade relationships are the avenues by which plaquettes likely emerged in France. In particular, the French court’s connection to Milan’s Sforza dynasty during the late 15th century and the subsequent French occupation of Milan between 1499–1526 beckons this idea notwithstanding Mantua’s connection to the French court. Mantua’s Marchioness, Isabella d’Este, whose patronage included many noteworthy artists, could have cultivated such exchanges. Isabella was closely connected with makers of plaquettes and medals and her art collection appears to have included them.7 Her uncle, the Duke of Ferrara, Borso d’Este, had commissioned works from the medalist and plaquette-maker Cristoforo de Geremia, as did Isabella.8 She also commissioned works from Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (Antico), also active with the creation of plaquettes.9 Concerning the feature of plaquettes on French mortars, especially in Burgundy, Bertrand Bergbauer suggests Italians traveling to see the Black Madonna at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-du-Puy may have been a passage for their arrival,10 or merchant routes connecting Lyon-to-Dijon which were regularly in-touch with Italian influences.11
One of the earliest possible appearances of an Italian plaquette in France is a blind-stamped impression of the Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels12 on a Lyonese binding of Macrobe published in Florence in 1505.13 The plaquette, probably Ferrarese or Paduan in origin, predates 1486 where it is reproduced on a dated bell at Stenico Castle in Italy.14 The relief’s presence in France is also confirmed by its feature almost a century later on mortars produced by the putatively titled Master of 1603.15
Bergbauer brings attention to a dated baptismal font at the William Morey Hospital Center in Chalon-sur-Saône indicating Italian plaquettes were in possession of bronze mortar producing foundries as early as 1520.16 The dated font in Chalon-sur-Saône reproduces Italian plaquette reliefs of Cupid Dreaming of Human Conquests attributed to the Vicentine Master of 150717 and Moderno’s Allegory of Victory for a sword hilt, a circular relief of Lucretia18 and a plaquette of his Mars and Victory composition.
The motif of Cupid Dreaming also notably appears in the choir of Chartres cathedral, completed in 1529. A testament to the success of this plaquette is not only the survival of more than eighty examples but also its early appearance on the 1539 limewood, walnut and ash memorial chest dedicated to Erasmus and commissioned by his humanist colleague Bonifacius Amerbach in Basel, Switzerland.19
One plaquette showing evidence of a swift diffusion across Europe is that of Abundance and a Satyr, ca. 1505-07, attributed to Francesco Francia or his circle.20 The plaquette occurs in France only a few years after its invention, depicted on a roundel executed ca. 1508-13 in the cloister of St. Martin in Tours. The mutual relationship between the Bolognese court and France during the first decade of the 16th century may account for its quick appearance there.
In rare form, at least one mid-16th century enamel borrows from a probable Bolognese plaquette. A salt cellar attributed to Couly Nouailher (Fig. 05) loosely interprets the Master IO.F.F.’s plaquette of the Judgment of Paris (Fig. 06), arguably his most successful composition and one that still survives in over one-hundred examples. The inverse approach to the composition could suggest the enameler was working from a gesso impression of the plaquette. Interestingly, the relief’s motif is the earliest known Italian plaquette to appear in Renaissance England, reproduced on a carved wood mantel of about 1516 in the Great Parlour of Wingfield House in Ipswich.21
Most noteworthy, however, are the influence of plaquettes reproducing classical gems and the reliefs of Galeazzo Mondella (Moderno), both of whose early presence in France also appear to later influence, on rare occasion, the enamelers of Limoges.
The presence of plaquettes in Limoges was first suggested by Èmile Molinier who commented on the close affinity between Moderno’s plaquette series depicting the Herculean Labors and those of similar feature on the Jubé of the Saint-Étienne cathedral in Limoges,22 realized between 1533-37 under the patronage of Jean de Langeac.23 However, this idea was dismissed when Annie Cloulas-Brousseau observed the stone reliefs of the cathedral borrow instead from 1506 Venetian engravings by Zoan Andrea Valvassore whose prints also influenced Herculean compositions executed by the enameler Pierre Reymond and his workshop.24 The patronage of Jean de Langeac, Bishop of Limoges between 1533-41, known for his edification of talented enamelists as well as architects and sculptors, however, certainly provided a channel through which to introduce Italian influences into the region of Limoges notwithstanding the diplomatic activity of Francis I in Rome and Venice during the 1530s.
AFTER THE ANTIQUE
One of the earlier proponents for the development of the plaquette was their function as esteemed copies of classical and classically-inspired gems cast in the prestigious medium of bronze. These antique-themed plaquettes had their genesis during the 1450’s via Pietro Barbo, later Pope Paul II, whose Roman foundry he established at the Palace of San Marco (modern-day Palazzo Venezia). The foundry served as a means to duplicate bronze copies of his celebrated gem collection, sharing casts with other collectors and dignitaries in Italy and abroad. In Florence a similar practice began taking shape in Bertoldo di Giovanni’s informal academy at the Medici’s San Marco gardens. Although other centers of production are likely, such as Mantua or Padua, the general understanding of plaquette production during the last half of the 15th century centers upon these two loci of production.25
Artists of the early French Renaissance were captivated by Italy’s rediscovery of antiquity and quickly sought to adopt classical Greco-Roman themes in their work. A plaquette’s scale, ease-of-mobility and subject matter made an excellent means for distributing such themes, though certainly far rarer than their parallel paper counterpart in prints. Onr possible early example is the reproduction of a 15th century plaquette featuring a Bust of Paris (Fig. 07), son of Priam, King of the Trojans, and pendant to a plaquette of Helen of Troy,26 which appears on the façade of the Parisan hotel Lallemant de Bourges built between 1495-1518 (Fig. 08). The same motif appears on a late 16th century mortar from the Montagut collection27 and is later appropriated on mortars by the Master of 1603 and his follower, the Master of Provins.28 The plaquette has long been considered a work of North Italian origin though Jeremy Warren most recently suggests it could interestingly be an early instance of a plaquette-medal, conceived ca. 1500, in France.29
A mortar from the Gillet collection, ca. 1580-1620, emanating from the Ile-de-France or Val-de-Loire, reproduces a 15th century plaquette depicting an antique Bust of Cato (Fig. 09). A terracotta mold and cast for this plaquette was also discovered in the excavations of Bernard Palissy’s mid-16th century Parisan porcelain workshop at Tuileries Palace.30 The plaquette was possibly the product of Pietro Barbo’s foundry in Rome,31 and reproduces a lost antique gem thought recorded in Fulvio Orsini’s 16th century Roman collection.32
Other antique-themed plaquettes appearing in France include their integral feature on bronze mortars by the Master of 1603, including reliefs of Ceres and Triptolemus, a Bust of Augustus (or Tiberius), a Bust of a Woman (with a Dragon)33 and a Bust of Minerva,34 the latter whose original gem source is conserved at the Bibliothéque Nationale.35
For an enamel of an Allegory of Virtue and Love (Fig. 10), Jean Pénicaud II borrows the plaquette motifs of a Head of Pan and Bust of a Woman (with a Dragon). The featured legend: N.STAT.V (In medio stat virtus) and AMORIS or “In the Middle Stands Virtue” and “Love,” takes the subject of these two plaquettes and reinvents them as an allegory inspired by the writing of Horace. Pénicaud II’s creative double-portrait appears inspired by antique cameos. Its possible Pénicaud II may have used as reference a two-sided plaquette featuring both reliefs on either side (Fig. 11), of which, at least two examples survive.36 While other incidences of the Head of Pan are not known in France, examples of the Bust of a Woman (with a Dragon) appear on a mortar by the Master of 1603, already cited, and much later on an 18th century Parisan mortar by Claude Bénard at the apothecary of the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte in Troyes.37 It is to be wondered if the Master 1603 may have had in his workshop a double-sided cast of the Bust of a Woman (with a Dragon) and the Bust of Minerva. Alternatively, his fondness for their incorporation on his mortars might suggest his foundry could have been responsible for such two-sided casts. At least two examples of this kind survive in present-day collections.38 Unlike plaquettes probably produced in Rome, this pair are more likely of Florentine origin.39
A plaquette which distinctly appears on Limoges enamels is one commonly identified as a Bust of Pompey. The plaquettes of “Pompey” were cast after a Roman glass cameo now in the Hermitage Museum (Fig. 12). However, Oleg Neverov sensibly identified its subject as a depiction of Emperor Septimius Severus as the bust is unlike classical depictions of Pompey.40 The plaquettes are known by two primary variants of relatively equal diffusion, one portraying only the bust and another featuring the added identification as Pompey. Francesco Rossi aptly observes the original production of plaquettes lacked the identification with Pompey and those featuring the inscription, identifying the subject as Pompey, must be the product of a slightly later, misguided, workshop.41 The added inscription seems to have promulgated this error in understanding the relief’s protagonist, an error carried over also on the enamels which reproduce it.
A mid-16th century oval enamel attributed to John Pénicaud II 42 imitates the plaquette (cover image) while an even more faithful circular example of similar scale, attributed to Pierre Courteys,43 also reproduces the subject (Fig. 13). The connection between the two enamels may raise various questions. Did one enameler copy the work of another or did one own an example of the plaquette and decide to share the model? Or did a singular patron own the plaquette and share it with both enamelers, encouraging their production of such works? While prints were more affluent, that two enamels realized in different workshops survive reproducing what was probably a rare instance of influence, prompts one to inquire how the sharing of models occurred at-that-time.
An even larger enamel depicting Leda (Fig. 14), formerly associated with Leonard Limosin but most recently given to the circle of Pierre Reymond,44 closely emulates a plaquette relief of Diana the Huntress (Fig. 15). The plaquette is possibly a freehand invention after the antique, conceived during the last quarter of the 15th century and widely diffused with many examples present in museum and private collections. Although an antique profile of a woman with a diadem is featured in the well of at least two salt cellars connected with Pierre Reymond,45 they are unlike the plaquette with regard to the styling of the hair and dress whereas the large enamel is clearly inspired by the plaquette. However, the unusual scale of the enamel and its superb condition, along with an ease-of-access to surviving examples of the plaquette, could suggest the possible work of a forger, to be discussed.
The effectiveness of classical gems, both ancient and contemporary to the Renaissance, indicate their lasting impact not only in Italy but farther abroad as the fascination with all things antique gripped Europe from the 15th through 16th centuries. Their continued influence is testimony to their impact, circulation, changing meaning and function over time.
The influence of Moderno’s designs upon the enamel work of Limoges is foreshadowed by their reproduction in Italy. A pax at the Walters Art Museum, reproducing an enamel version of Moderno’s Dead Christ Supported by Mary and John,46 is one example (Fig. 16). The pax is presently given a Venetian attribution to the early 16th century, probably due to the production of enamels in Venice and also due to a known dated silver example of Moderno’s relief set into a pax commissioned by Cardinal Sigismund Gonzaga in 1513.47 However, the design could be older and did receive a great deal of success, being copied and reproduced into the 20th century. A census of all known versions and casts counts more than 300 examples, suggesting it to be Moderno’s most successful design. However, the frame of the Walter’s pax is possibly a very late 15th century Milanese creation. Paxes featuring supporting orbs at their base, flanked by elaborate scrolls and foliates of this type, are more commonly observed on paxes of Milanese origin.48 Another example of the same frame, also inclusive of niello friezes and an armorial set above the entablature, was formerly on the art market,49 featuring the arms of Pope Alexander VI and thus datable to the last decade of the 15th century. It’s possible the enamel could be of Milanese origin, a natural evolution from the specialty work of basse-taille enamelers in that city though a Venetian origin remains possible given similar activity there.50
A pair of 16th century Venetian enameled bowls in blue and white with cold-painted gold additions are also of interest (Fig. 17). Their motifs reproduce two carved gems: A Battle Scene reproducing a ca. 1500 shell cameo formerly in the Orléans collection (Fig. 18)51 and a chalcedony intaglio of Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan, ca. 1500, attributed to Moderno (Fig. 19).52 Of note is the shell cameo which is cited as the inspirational source for several of Moderno’s plaquette reliefs, namely his medal depicting the Battle of Cannae (Fig. 24),53 to be discussed, and is quite probably by his own hand. It is to be wondered if the Venetian enameler responsible for the pair of bowls was witting of Moderno’s creations or possibly knew him through their mutually shared vitreous art of glass-making and bronze-casting.
Identified as a goldsmith in Verona in 1485, and largely active in Northern Italy, Moderno’s work was also influenced by the artists in Isabelle d’Este’s ambit, most notably Andrea Mantegna and Antico. Giorgio Vasari mentions Moderno’s work as a gem engraver alongside other contemporaries like Niccolò Avanzi and their protégé, Matteo del Nassaro.54 Noteworthy is Vasari’s mention of Moderno’s visit to France in which he brought with him the miniature drawings of the painter, Giovan Maria Falconetto.55 Doug Lewis postulates that Moderno’s visit to France may have happened when his pupil, Matteo, was appointed to the royal mint of Francis I, sometime after 1515.56 It is noteworthy the earliest datable appearance of Moderno’s models in France is their feature on the façade of Francis I’s lodges at Château de Blois whose construction was already in-progress in 1519. His designs of Hercules and Antaeus (Fig. 20) and Hercules and Cacus are among its stone reliefs depicting Herculean Labors.57
On other architectural works Moderno’s Mars and Victory was widely diffused, appearing on the first-floor frieze of the Château de Montal, completed around 1527 along with his design of Hercules and Antaeus.58 The Mars and Victory motif also appears on an early 16th century carved panel at the Bishop’s Palace at Mirepoix in Ariege,59 on the church in Fenioux, and on the portal of the Dupré-Latour House in Valence, made ca. 1540.60 The motif also appears on the formerly discussed basin of the baptismal font in Chalon-sur-Saône, dated 1520.
Further examples of Moderno’s Herculean Labors appear at Assier castle, built between 1518-35, on the portal of the church of Lonzac in Charente-Maritime, built around 1524-30, the façade of Saint-Michel in Dijon, built between 1497-1529, on the reliefs of Poillot chapel in Autun, after 1527 (Rolin Museum), on the stairs of the Bâtie d’Urfé, near Montbrison in Loire, built around 1545 and on the roof of the Gros-Horloge astronomical clock in Rouen, carved around 1527.61
Apart from its appearance on the façade of Francis I’s lodges at the Château de Blois, Moderno’s Hercules and Cacus was also known to the region of Orléans at an early date, evinced by its feature on a wooden door, ca. 1520-30, preserved in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Fig. 21). The presence of Moderno’s compositions in that region is indicated later by a 1571 bronze mortar made by Hector Orléans featuring Moderno’s Hercules and Antaeus and Head of Medusa.62
On French furniture a 16th century chest at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris depicts a freehand copy of Moderno’s Standing Hercules and the Nemean Lion63 while a cupboard in the Château de Montreuil-Bellay is decorated with a Virgin and Child surrounded by Angels inspired by Moderno’s relief of the same subject.
In spite of the reasonable presence of Moderno’s reliefs in France few enamels reproduce his work. Notable, however, is his David Triumphant Over Goliath (Fig. 22) reproduced on an enamel by an unidentified master, though possibly Jean Pénicaud II or III (Fig. 23). The earliest appearance of this design in France is indicated by its feature on the 1508-13 cloister of St. Martin in Tours, already discussed. However, the motif is also featured in a medallion on a chimneypiece in the Maison de la Coquille in Orléans.64 Warren observes a reproduction of this plaquette in the prayer book of Matthäus Schwarz indicating its diffusion North of the Alps, in Augsburg, Germany as early as 1521.65 Interestingly, the enamel maker references a rather rare circular variant of Moderno’s composition,66 in which a classical plinth with a figure of Mars is featured on the left and a tree, imitating precious coral, is featured to the right. The enameler has redacted the plinth to a utilitarian feature and has transmuted the coralline tree into a natural version whilst adding a classical battle scene in the distance which borrows features from Raimondi’s engravings of David Beheading Goliath and the Battle between the Romans and Carthaginians, both modeled after designs by Raphael. Regrettably, the enamelist has borrowed Moderno’s motif for its chief subject, excluding also the attendant figure to David, and has overlooked the symbolic genius of Moderno’s design, exemplifying David’s valor through the feature of Mars and the symbol of God’s protective power through the prominent feature of coral, long esteemed as an amulet of divine protection.67
Though less apparent as a source, the central protagonist of Moderno’s well-diffused Battle of Cannae medal of about 1504-05 (Fig. 24) appears to be the inspirational model for the enamel panels on a casket attributed to the Master K.I.P.68 K.I.P. appears to use engravings of cavalry battles by Raimondi to flesh-out his classicized scenes, yet repeats the central figure of Moderno’s medal as a primary feature (Fig. 25). More obvious, however, is the Master K.I.P.’s faithful reproduction of the medal’s motif on a rare vase (Fig. 26) bearing his signature KI, enclosed within a G, to be discussed.69 In a twist of irony, Moderno’s medal was developed as a testament to Italy’s defeat of the French near Cannae in 1503 though this seems to be of no import to the enamelist giving his attention to the antique motif as work material rather than a search for meaning.
Its possible K.I.P. may have depended on medals from other territories as source material as well. There is a particular affinity between his ca. 1537-59 enamel of the Crucifixion (Fig. 27)70 and Hans Reinhart’s 1536 medal featuring the same subject (Fig. 28).
The warrior motif featured on Moderno’s medal depicting the Battle of Cannae derives from the Arch of Constantine while other antique sources have been creatively synthesized by Moderno in his original composition for the medal.71 Lewis cites the previously discussed shell cameo from the Orléans collection (Fig. 18) as being the master source for the Cannae composition and Moderno’s subsequent larger reliefs of a Lion Hunt and Battle Scene. Though the cameo is presently attributed as French, it clearly showcases Moderno’s manner and is quite probably by his own hand, if not, then perhaps realized in France by his pupil Matteo. Of note is the potential influence Moderno may have exercised upon Matteo perhaps observed in works like a remarkable bookmark attributed to him which accompanies Francis I’s Book of Hours (Fig. 29). Its hardstone figure, carved in-the-round, echoes Moderno’s earlier plaquette relief of Saint Sebastian (Fig. 30).
Moderno’s Lion Hunt (Fig. 31) is the subject for perhaps the earliest dated reproduction of a plaquette in enamel from Limoges. It appears reproduced on an enamel bearing the monogram of Léonard Limosin, dated 1539 (Fig. 32).72 As Limosin entered the service of Francis I as court painter in 1530, it is quite probable Moderno’s Lion Hunt relief was known to that court by way of Moderno’s former presence in France or via the long-term presence of his pupil, Matteo.
Moderno’s Lion Hunt also serves as the model for a later enamel, of the same subject, attributed to Jean Pénicaud III (Fig. 33)73 whose pendant plaque featuring Knights in Combat (Fig. 37)74 borrows from Valerio Belli’s Lion Hunt plaquette (Fig. 36), to be discussed.
In league with the appropriation of antique themes in French art, the classically-inspired motifs of Valerio Belli, active in Vicenza and Rome, proved quite appealing to Limoges enamelers. In fact, the presence of Belli’s designs among enamelers showcase the strongest presence of Belli’s influence in France.
Like other plaquette motifs, Belli’s compositions also appear reproduced on French mortars. The Master of 1603 is the first known to reproduce one of Belli’s designs, being a rare bust known only by one example in Berlin.75 It appears on two mortars by the master.76 Belli’s Antique Sacrifice appears on a mortar by the Master IF in the Ramousse collection.77 In that same collection is a mid-17th century mortar attributed the Master of the Crucifixion in Rhone featuring Belli’s Vulcan, Victory and Bacchante.78
Belli’s reliefs are also observed in the ambit of Paris by way of terracotta cast remnants found in Bernard Palissy’s workshop before 1572.79 A freehand copy of Belli’s Judgment of Paris appears on a bronze Parisan case dated 1580 at the Musée national de la Renaissance in Ècouen80 while an aftercast of Belli’s plaquette, of the same subject, appears on a gilt bronze casket lid from the first half of the 17th century in the same museum.
Apart from the diffusion of Belli’s carved rock crystals in the medium of bronze plaquettes, Belli’s 1532 masterpiece of carved crystal, a casket depicting twenty-four individual scenes from the Life of Christ (Fig. 34), resided on French territory as early as 1533. Francis I had received the casket from Pope Clement VII in Marseilles in October of 1533 as a gift celebrating the marriage of his niece, Catherine de’ Medici, to the second son of the king, the future king Henry II. However, access to the casket was probably too exclusive to garner much influence and the success of Belli’s compositions among enamelers probably followed the same pattern of emigration already discussed, though in Limoges, may have specifically arrived by way of Bishop Jean de Langeac’s ties to Rome and Venice during the 1530s81 where Belli’s compositions were probably best known and celebrated.
Of particular influence was Belli’s composition of a Lion Hunt whose original cut-crystal resides in France’s Musée de Beaux Arts in Tours (Fig. 35). Apart from a fair number of surviving plaquette casts (Fig. 36), evidence of its early diffusion outside Italy is noted by the presence of an example in England’s first known collection assembled by Charles I whose 1639 inventory cites ‘upon one peece a half a dozen on horseback with Clubbs and dogs hunting the lyon.’82
Belli’s motif served as reference for a Lion Hunt attributed to Jean Pénicaud III (Fig. 33) whose pendant plaque depicting Knights in Combat, previously discussed (Fig. 37), probably once served as panels for a casket. Similarly, a 1547 enamel in the Petit Palais Museum, attributed to Pierre Reymond, features a Hunting Scene for a casket that is also inspired by Belli’s Lion Hunt plaquette (Fig. 38).83 This again begs the question concerning sources and their reproduction by different workshops. Did the plaquette belong to a patron or were casts affluent enough to penetrate multiple workshops or was a single specimen known and shared across several mutually collaborative workshops?
Bergbauer drew attention to Master K.I.P.’s reproduction (Fig. 39) of Belli’s Antique Roman Sacrifice (Fig. 40), commenting on its sensitivity to the original scale and design of the plaquette casts.84 Belli’s original crystal may have been a lengthwise ovular composition as indicated by a late 18th century engraved white carnelian intaglio at the Victoria & Albert Museum which copies the composition (Fig. 41),85 suggesting the plaquette casts truncate figures once featured to the extreme left-and-right of the scene.
An enamel of The Betrayal of Christ86 is one of a series of seven Passion scenes from the workshop of Jean II Pénicaud (Fig. 42). The series is entirely based upon woodcuts from The Fall and Redemption of Man by Albrecht Altdorfer (after Albrecht Dürer), with the exception of Christ Saying Farewell to His Mother and the present enamel of The Betrayal. The enameler has diverged from using one of the series of woodcuts as a source to opt instead for that of a plaquette: Belli’s composition of The Betrayal of Christ. Belli’s original crystal prototype survives at the Vatican Museums (Fig. 43), probably once forming part of the lost base for a silver and rock crystal cross that is also preserved at the Vatican. The cross was completed for Pope Clement VII in 1525 and the crystal’s design is due to a sketch preserved in Windsor Castle, probably realized by Polidoro da Caravaggio.87 88 The choice use of Belli’s plaquette in lieu of a print testifies to the success of the composition. This same preference is also evident on the workshop production of a series of luxurious caskets executed by Wenzel Jamnitzer and his workshop, ca. 1553-70,89 and featuring a series of silver relief panels following Bernard Salomon’s Passion woodcuts from a printed Bible of 1553, though alternatively featuring a freehand copy of Belli’s Betrayal relief (Fig. 44). Though this choice would appear purely coincidental, Jamnitzer had ties to Limoges that may have influenced him. Jamnitzer’s connection to Limoges is noted by a project he received from Pierre Reymond and his workshop for the preparation of copper forms, ready-for-enameling, for a ewer, set of cups, and footed dishes commissioned by the Nuremberg merchant Leonardt Tucher.90
Descending from the same context is Belli’s composition of Christ Carrying the Cross, whose original crystal is also preserved at the Vatican and is known by a quantity of well diffused plaquette casts. Jean II Pénicaud faithfully copies the composition for a circular enamel now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) (Fig. 45).
Another of Belli’s sufficiently diffused plaquettes is his Adoration of the Shepherds (Fig. 46). An enamel at the Château d’Écouen, attributed to the circle of Jean II Pénicaud, reproduces Belli’s plaquette in striking color (Fig. 47). Interestingly, the Master K.I.P. also reproduces this composition twice: one in circular form (Fig. 48) and another squared (Fig. 49). While the circular version at the MET is signed with his monogram, the square variant adequately displays his style, yet in a more mature and tastefully realized manner. Given his proclivity to employ plaquettes as a point-of-reference for a fair quantity of his enamels, it might be suggested that the enameler himself was a collector of such objects.
THE MASTER K.I.P.
At least one enamel is not without the influence of Belli’s contemporary, Giovanni Bernardi, whose rock crystal intaglio depicting the Battle of Pavia (Fig. 50) was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici, ca. 1531-35, subsequently reproduced as bronze plaquettes (Fig. 51). An early enamel of the subject, set into a later snuff box,91 loosely follows the composition, using Bernardi’s plaquette as a reference (Fig. 52). The work is monogrammed in a white scroll: KIG. The style of this enamel follows remarkably close to Master K.I.P.’s amateur-like delineation of the scene and free style of hatching for shade. Apart from stylistic grounds, the preference for grisaille and dependency on a plaquette as a source model are reasonable indications it is his workmanship notwithstanding the feature of the monogram depicted within a scroll, observed also on a quantity of other autograph works by the artist. The Master’s other identified works alternatively use the monograms KIP, KI, IPK or IP, though a poinçon on the copper reverse of some of his enamels, bearing a lion passant, features the monogram IK.92 The present enamel, borrowing from Bernardi’s Pavia composition, has been overlooked in the oeuvre of Master K.I.P.s creations, probably on account of the monogram it features. However, we may return to his monogrammed vase (Fig. 26) which features a KI enclosed within a G. A similar signature, featuring a “G” enclosing a PI is said to appear on two panels of a casket formerly in the Prince of Beauvau’s collection, featuring five plaques by the same hand, one also independently signed IP.93 In discussing the Louvre vase, Laborde considered the feature of the G as the initial of his Christian name,94 though this was unaccepted by Mitchell who instead suggested it copied the signature of an engraver upon whom the presumed design of the vase motif was based, unaware of the fact that it did not copy a print, but rather a plaquette! The Master K.I.P.’s use of KIG as another of his choice monograms, adequately links the “Pavia enamel” to his similarly autographed creations.
The progressive quality of K.I.P.’s enamels show the work of an inexperienced painter gaining skill through practice. As noted by Mitchell, the dependency on a use of fine lines to delineate forms was more becoming of the hand gestures familiar to a goldsmith while later mature works evince a more painterly approach, making greater use of floating the enamel and working in layers. There have been attempts to link the monogram K.I.P. to Jean I Poillevé, a goldsmith active in Limoges before 1532 and operating into the late 1550s.95 However, no firm links have proven this and it is only assumed he worked in enamel as the craft was long-connected also with that of the goldsmith trade. However, two additional members of the Poillevé family, active as enamelers in the 17th century, are identified as François and Jean II though no works, to the present authors knowledge, have been ascribed to them.
An early idea of Laborde’s is that K.I.P. was an amateur and didn’t practice by profession. This may well be a good suggestion. K.I.P. may have been an erudite patron and collector whose wealth gave him access to practice enameling as a hobby, leveraging the workshops and resources in his immediate vicinity. It may also account for his access to what would have been upper-class collectibles like plaquettes. A love for art may have prompted such a collector to be an artist himself, intent to autograph his works, inspired by the practices of those he admired. This could account for the diverse ways in which he chose to autograph his works. Though the majority of his creations are in grisaille, there is the adventurous personality of an experimental amateur who at-times does employ use of mild color, a love for excessive pomp through cold-painted gilding and even the experimental incorporation of paillons as those observed on at least three examples of his work.96 As K.I.P. has been thought to have worked under the tutelage of Pénicaud II, it could be suggested he experimented with the craft as an amateur in his workshop.97 Such an idea could also explain Pénicaud II’s access to plaquettes as source material, or at minimum, could have inspired the idea to also borrow from plaquettes as reference for some of his designs.98 It is to be wondered also if K.I.P. could have originally begun a relationship with Pénicaud II as a patron of his work. Growing more intimate with the artform until desiring to try his own hand at the craft.
The revived interest in enamels during the 19th century inspired the invention of pastiches and historicist enamels while their slimming availability to collectors and museums entailed the invention of highly convincing forgeries, some made by restorers of the medium like Simon-Émerique Pierrat and his pupil, Alfred André.99 The free dependency of enamels on printed sources made them easy targets for forgers who had access to well diffused Renaissance prints in museums and private collections. As 19th century France was the strongest market for the collecting of plaquettes, they too could at-times serve as iconographic inspiration for forgers. One potential candidate is the Leda enamel, already discussed (Fig. 14). Another candidate reproduces Belli’s Lion Hunt (Fig. 53).100 Its enterprising author may have been keen to observe other enamel references to this subject, as discussed here, as well as its potential association with an artist like K.I.P., known to reproduce plaquettes. Published scholars had already cited his Adoration enamel, after Belli, at the MET, during the late 19th century. It’s maker thus adds the monogram: IP, cold painted in gold below Belli’s signature beneath the exergue. Bernard Descheemaeker’s comments on the unusual thinness of the enamel, the ground being too richly black, the 19th century-like rendering of the character’s faces and the much too prominent signature, suggesting it to be a modern invention.101
Another impressive, though perplexing work, is a pax enamel of the Virgin and Child and Four Saints, formerly in the Cottreau collection (Fig. 54). It features the monogram of Pierre Reymond and is dated 1538, suggestive of one of his earliest works. In this interesting composition, the maker adapts a mythological detail of Dido Enthroned Receiving the Trojans on Raimondi’s print of Quos Ego (after Raphael) (Fig. 01) and converts the scene into a Christianized edition of the Virgin and Child attended by four identified saints. Also unique is the large God the Father set above in the pediment. Though switching the direction in which God faces, the artist appears to borrow this motif from paxes emanating from Spain. The addition of scalloped shells painted into the main scene of the enamel are also probably borrowed from such paxes which often featured a scalloped shell beneath the pediment, displaying either a Virgin and Child or a Crucifixion relief, as observed on mid-16th century paxes emanating from the Ballestros family workshops or those connected with Francisco Becerril. However, challenging is the early date to which this enamel pax is given, particularly as it concerns depictions of God the Father holding the world-orb. Other variants of God the Father were indeed present on arch-topped Spanish paxes during the 1530s, such as those connected with Juan de Orna, or even early Italian paxes, though use of the motif with God the Father and the world-orb is more typical to mid-to-late 16th century Spanish paxes. 1538 would suggest one of the earliest appearances for this kind of motif used on a pax. Further, the clever practice of Christianizing a mythological design would be unique in Reymond’s oeuvre. In consideration also of the near-perfect condition of this enamel, it could suggest a potential forgery.
1 Alfred Darcel (1867): Notice des Emaux et de l’Orfévrerie, impr. de C. de Mourgues frères, Paris, p. 114. Darcel’s contemporaries, Claudius Popelin and Émile Molinier, also generally followed this suggestion.
2 See for example a group of nineteen lead plaquettes depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ based upon Dürer’s designs at the Ashmolean and Berlin Museums. For a recent discussion on these see Jeremy Warren (2014): Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. 3: Plaquettes. Ashmolean Museum Publications, UK, nos. 516-34, pp. 1059-63.
3 For Northern plaquettes reproducing prints after Salomon see J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), no. 486, pp. 1020-21.
4 Ian Wardropper (2015): Limoges Enamels at the Frick Collection. The Frick Collection, NY.
5 The catalog of Pére Claude’s collection was published in 1692, one of the earliest catalogs of plaquettes perhaps with the exception of 16th century entries concerning the content of the Amerbach-Kabinett, inclusive of some plaquettes today preserved in the Historisches Museum of Basel. See Doug Lewis (2008): Collectors of Renaissance Reliefs: Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) and Baron Boissel de Monville (1763-1832). Collecting Sculpture in Early Modern Europe, Studies in the History of Art 70, Symposium Papers XLVII. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., pp. 128-43.
6 In Italy, see for example the Porta della Rana of the Cathedral of Como sculpted by the Rodari brothers before 1507, the façade of the Carthusian monastery in Pavia, the funerary chapel of Bartolomeo Colleoni in Bergamo and the door of Palazzo Stanga in Cremona.
7 Isabella d’Este’s inventory of 1540 includes “medals…ancient and modern, both round and rectangular,” the later assuredly indicating plaquettes. See Marika Leino (2013): Fashion, Devotion and Contemplation. The Status and Functions of Italian Renaissance Plaquettes. Peter Lang, Bern, Switzerland, p. 6.
8 Bertrand Bergbauer in Theirry Crépin-Leblond (dir.) (2009): Château d’Ecouen. Musée national de la Renaissance. Album, Paris, RMN, p. 22.
9 Ann Hersey Allison (1986): Antico’s Medals for the Gonzaga. The Medal, no. 9, pp. 9-13.
10 Bertrand Bergbauer (2012): Les Mortiers Francais en Bronze du XVI au XVIII siécle: production, iconographie et diffusion. Thesis, Université de Picardie Jules Verne. Tome I, p. 30.
11 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 107.
12 Wilhelm von Bode (1904): Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Beschreibung der Bildwerke der Christlichen Epochen, vol. II, Die Italienischen Bronzen. Berlin, Germany, no. 979 (accidentally identified on Plate LIV as no. 980), p. 91. The Berlin example is unfortunately lost since 1945 (private communication, Neville Rowley, November 2019).
13 Located at the Municipal Library of Bourg-en-Bresse.
14 Contrarily, Ernst Bange and Ingrid Weber, unaware of the early cast example on an Italian bell, judge this relief as late 16th century, Augsburg. Bange, probably correctly, suggests the design is probably based upon an engraving of the Madonna on the Crescent by Martin Schongauer from around 1470. See Ingrid Weber (1975): Deutsche, Niederlandische und Franzosische Renaissanceplaketten, 1500-1650. Bruckmann Munchen, Germany, no. 387.2 and Ernst Bange (1923): Die Bildwerke des Deutschen Museums. Die Bildwerke in Bronze und in anderen Metallen. Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, no. 1684.
15 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 109.
16 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome II, p. 317.
17 For the attribution of this plaquette to the Vicentine Master of 1507 rather than eponymous Pseudo-Fra Antonio da Brescia see D. Lewis (2008): op. cit. (note 5).
18 This relief has, at-times, been connected with an anonymous artist influenced by Moderno (see Francesco Rossi : La Collezione Mario Scaglia – Placchette, Vols. I-III. Lubrina Editore, Bergamo, no. V.46) but is probably by Moderno.
19 Erasmus owned an example of Cupid Dreaming of Human Conquests, probably purchased during his only trip to Italy between 1507-09. The example forms part of the collection at the Historisches Museum in Basel. See D. Lewis (2008): op. cit. (note 5).
20 This plaquette was formerly ascribed to Pseudo-Fra Antonio da Brescia but has more recently been suggested by the present author as a work by Francesco Francia or his circle. See Michael Riddick (2018): Three Plaquettes by Francesco Francia or his Circle: proposing an identity for Pseudo-Fra Antonio da Brescia. RenBronze.com.
21 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), p. 822.
22 Musée national de la Renaissance in Ècouen Inv. 11489.
23 Èmile Molinier (1891): L’émaillerie. Librairie Hachette et Company, Paris.
24 Bertrand Bergbauer (2006): Images in Relief. La Collection de Plaquettes du Musee National de la Renaissance. Editions de la Reunion des musees nationaux, Paris, France, pp. 32-34. See for example Pierre Reymond’s Salt Cellars at the Musée national de la Renaissance in Ècouen (Inv. ECL907) or the Louvre (Inv. R265).
25 For a discussion of this see: Francesco Rossi (1989): Le Gemme Antiche e le Origini della Placchetta. Studies in the History of Art. Italian Plaquettes, Vol. 22. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., pp. 55-69 or Doug Lewis (2006): Placchette e rilievi di bronzo nell’età del Mantegna, Mantova e Milano (F. Rossi, ed.) Skira, pp. 3-15.
26 A two-sided plaquette at the British Museum (Inv. 1915,1216.142) and one at the Ashmolean Museum (Inv. WA 1897.CDEF.B865) reproduce both effigies on a single cast “medal.”
27 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome II, no. A1095, p. 513.
28 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 109 and Ollivier Ramousse (2006): Origine de quinze décors utilisés par les fondeurs du Puy-en-Velay: plaquettes et médailles de la Renaissance. Cahiers de la Haute-Loire, p. 119-158.
29 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), no. 483, pp. 1016-17.
30 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 106 and Tome II, no. A2172, p. 753.
31 F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 18), no. I.8, p. 39.
32 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), no. 366, p. 907.
33 This plaquette has traditionally been generically identified as a Bust of an Antique Woman. The generic ascription is due to a quantity of examples lacking the serpent entering the scene from the right. Those plaquettes which do show the serpent are also rather crude in quality, perhaps overlooked often in the literature. The present author suggests the plaquette may possibly represent an effigy of Cleopatra or Isis.
34 For a recent discussion of this plaquette see F. Rossi (2011) op. cit. (note 18), nos. I30-I31.
35 Bibliothéque Nationale Inv. 2315.
36 See F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 18), no. I.3, variant B.
37 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome II, no. A2161, p. 750.
38 See Bargello Inv. 180B and another presently in the Ubertazzi collection, currently no. 13.
39 For the Head of Pan’s proposed Florentine origin see Michael Riddick (2017): Head of Pan: Lorenzo, Michelangelo, Attila and a lost plaquette prototype, RenBronze.com. For the Antique Bust of a Woman see Giuseppe and Fiorenza Vannel-Toderi (1996): Placchette Secoli XV-XVIII, Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Studio per Edizioni Scelte, Firenze, Italy, no. 48, p. 34.
40 Oleg Neverov (1971): Antichnye kamei v sobranii Ėrmitazha. Aurora, p. 93.
41 F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 18), nos. I.11-I.12, pp. 41-43.
42 Louvre Inv. OA4017.
43 Louvre Inv. MR2529.
44 Christie’s auction of European Sculpture & Works of Art, 2 December 2014, Lot 14.
45 See Louvre Inv. R265 and Musée National de la Renaissance Ecouen Inv. ECL907.
46 Walters Art Museum Inv. 44.125.
47 This pax is located at the Museum of the Cathedral in Mantua.
48 Furthering this idea is the rare feature of basse-taille enameling on similar paxes, an art which had its precedence in Milan (see Paola Venturelli : Oro Dai Visconti Agli Sforza: Smalti e Oreficeria Nel Ducato di Milano. Silvana, Milan.). In fact, another close variant of this frame, probably from the same workshop, features a basse-taille Pieta (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Inv. 32.100.293).
49 Formerly with the dealer, Miles Davis, in London, UK.
50 It should perhaps be investigated as to whether the enamel featured on this pax is a later replacement to a lost relief in metal or if it was made contemporaneously with its frame.
51 Hermitage Museum Inv. К-2129. A smaller example, also carved in shell and of lesser fidelity is also in the museum: Inv. К-2128.
52 Hermitage Museum Inv. И-5477
53 Doug Lewis (1989): The Plaquettes of “Moderno” and His Followers. Studies in the History of Art. Italian Plaquettes, Vol. 22. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., pp. 105-41.
54 Giorgio Vasari (1568): Lives of the most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects. Vol. 06 (of 10), Fra Giocondo to Niccolo Soggi. Translated by Gaston du C. De Vere, 1913. Macmillan and co. ld. & the Medici Society, London, pp. 79-80.
55 G. Vasari (1568): op. cit. (note 54), p. 42.
56 D. Lewis (1989): op. cit. (note 53).
57 B. Bergbauer (2006): op. cit. (note 24), p. 28.
58 B. Bergbauer (2006): op. cit. (note 24).
59 Charles Tracy (2005): The Bishop’s Palace at Mirepoix (Ariége) and French Renaissance Oak Panelling in a Scottish House. Antiquaries Journal, no. 85, pp. 176-249, fig. 33.
60 B. Bergbauer (2006): op. cit. (note 24).
61 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 113-14 and B. Bergbauer (2006): op. cit. (note 24), p. 46.
62 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome II, no. A1656, p. 643. There has been hesitation in ascribing the Head of Medusa to Moderno during the last-half of the 20th century, however, this reticence has been amply put-to-rest via Warren’s convincing discussion of the extremely fine cast at the Ashmolean. The relief evinces a reasonable dissemination across Europe by the mid-16th century as it is featured twice on the 1540 bronze coffin plate of Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg now at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin as well (for a discussion see J. Warren : op. cit. [note 2], fig. 313, p. 845).
63 Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris Inv. Pe. 1114.
64 Jules Roussel (1932): La Sculpture Français. Èpoque de la Renaissance, Paris, p. 19.
65 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), no. 296, pp. 766, 840.
66 See examples at the NGA (Inv. 1957.14.286), Victoria & Albert Museum (Inv. 896-1855), the Art, Design & Architecture Museum of Santa Barbara (Inv. 1964.413) and one in the Scaglia Collection (F. Rossi : op. cit. (note 18), no. V.41).
67 For a recent discussion of Moderno’s incorporation of coral as a symbol in his reliefs, see Doug Lewis and Amy Struble (2018): A New Redemptive Symbolism in Moderno’s Plaquettes. The Medal, no. 72, pp. 42-55.
68 Victoria and Albert Museum Inv. C.49-1982.
69 Louvre Inv. MR 2444.
70 Walters Art Museum Inv. 44.13.
71 D. Lewis (1989): op. cit. (note 53).
72 E. Molinier (1891): op. cit. (note 23). Now located at the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków, Poland.
73 Louvre Inv. OA 965.
74 Louvre Inv. OA 964.
75 See Berlin Inv. 7113 or Ernst Bange (1922): Die Bildwerke des Deutschen Museums. Die Bildwerke in Bronze und in anderen Metallen. Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, no. 857, p. 114.
76 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, p. 119. For the mortars see Victoria and Albert Museum Inv. M. 36-1938 or Bergbauer no. A172 and one from the Gillet collection (Bergbauer no. A182).
77 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10).
78 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10).
79 Reliefs after Belli’s rock crystal compositions of Cupid Uniting a Couple and Euterpe. See Jean-Robert Armogathe (1990): Bernard Palissy, mythe et réalité, catalogue d’exposition, Saintes, Musée de l’Échevinage [mai-septembre 1990], Niort, Musée du Donjon [octobre-novembre 1990], Agen, Musée des Beaux-Arts (décembre 1990-janvier 1991], Saintes, Musée de Saintes, 1990., nos. 72-73, p. 70.
80 B. Bergbauer (2010): La France des fondeurs. Art et usages du bronze aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, catalogue d’exposition, Écouen, Musée national de la Renaissance (6 November 2010—28 February 2011), Paris, RMN, no. 53, p. 46.
81 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, pp. 117-18.
82 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), p. 731.
83 Petit Palais Museum Inv. ODUT1261.
84 B. Bergbauer (2012): op. cit. (note 10), Tome I, pp. 117-18.
85 Victoria and Albert Museum Inv. 740-1890.
86 Metropolitan Museum of Art Inv. 41.100.250d.
87 Royal Collection at Windsor Castle Inv. RCIN 990050.
88 J. Warren (2014): op. cit. (note 2), nos. 232-35, pp. 774-76.
89 See examples at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Inv. IV 33) and one at the Lisboa Museu Nacional de Arte Antigua in Portugal.
90 Susan La Niece, Stefan Röhrs, Dora Thornton and Antony Simpson (2009): Limoges painted enamels: evidence for specialist copper-smithing workshops. The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin. Vol. 3, pp. 13-22.
91 Hermitage Museum Inv. Ф-824.
92 H.P. Mitchell (1909): Who was the Limoges Enameller ‘KIP’? Burlington Magazine Vol. 14, No. 71, pp. 278-90.
93 A. Darcel (1861): op. cit. (note 1).
94 M. de Laborde (1852): Notice des émaux exposés dans les galeries du Musée du Louvre, p. 232.
95 Maurice Ardant (1861): Poillevé, émailleurs limousins. Bulletin de la Société Archéologique et Historique du Limousin, XI, p. 60.
96 See two of his enamels at the Walters Art Museum (Inv. 44.305 and Inv. 44.306) and one at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Inv. C.2423-1910).
97 It should be noted the long-upheld similarity between works ascribed to Pénicaud II and Master K.I.P., which led scholars to assume a working relationship between them, could be due to the early misreading of enamels signed with the monogram IP, thought to represent “Iohan Pénicaud.” If the use of the monogram IP belongs only to the artist K.I.P. then certain autograph works still connected with Pénicaud II ought to be reevaluated.
98 Though an adventurous suggestion, Pénicaud II could have collaborated on enamels with the amateur K.I.P., resulting in the use of the IP monogram which could identify both artists simultaneously. The impressive Sibyls Casket at the British Museum (Inv. WB.23) is of such impressive technical realization to suggest an expert hand other than K.I.P.’s may have been involved, yet its signature features the hallmark white scroll identifiable with the Master K.I.P.’s oeuvre. Though a fanciful idea, perhaps a collaborative project could have been a way for Pénicaud II to humor the amateur, giving him an opportunity to be involved in a work intended for the French court of Francis I. However, other enamels bearing only the IP monogram are not entirely suggestive of the quality expected from such collaborative ideas.
99 Hugh Tait and Ian Freestone (2004): Painted enamel patches: a 19th century virtuoso restorer’s technique. Neue Forschungen zum Malere-mail aus Limoges, ed. I. Müsch and H. Stege, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick, pp. 117–122.
100 This enamel was removed from Piasa’s auction sale, 9 December 2016, Lot 55. It provenance can be traced back to former sales via Mes Solanet et Audap auction, 29 October 1993, Lot 115 and Sothebys auction, 9 April 1973, Lot 59.
101 Private communication (December 2016).