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Article

Matthew Woodworth

(b Walsingham, Norfolk; d Ely, Cambs, 1363).

English cleric, architect, and goldsmith. Already an accomplished goldsmith when first recorded as monk of Ely Cathedral in 1314, Walsingham was appointed sub-prior of Ely in 1316, sacrist in 1321, and served as prior from 1341 until his death. As sacrist, Alan of Walsingham was responsible for the building fabric, particularly finances and general repair. He also supervised new construction projects, organized and paid the labour force, and arranged for delivery of materials. During his tenure, Walsingham oversaw the building of a new sacristy (1322–5), the spacious Lady Chapel (1321–49), Prior Crauden’s Chapel (1322–8), guest quarters (1330), and Bishop Hotham’s partly remodelled choir (1338–50). Walsingham’s most ambitious project at Ely was the soaring Octagon and central lantern (1322–49), built to replace the original Romanesque crossing tower after it collapsed in 1322. Surviving Sacrist Rolls hold Alan himself responsible for the Octagon’s design, specifying that he measured out the locations of its eight supports, secured their foundations, and carried the walls up to their full height. Scholarship is divided as to Walsingham’s precise role in the Octagon’s final appearance, but, whether as architect or industrious layman, he brought to completion one of the most innovative and spatially complex structures of the 14th century....

Article

Alchemy  

Laurinda Dixon

Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....

Article

David A. Hinton

Anglo-Saxon jewel made of gold, rock crystal, and enamel (Oxford, Ashmolean), made in the reign of King Alfred (reg 871–99) and found in Somerset in 1693. The crystal is a teardrop-shaped polished, flat slab, with bevelled sides, set in a gold frame. Below the crystal, there is a cloisonné enamel figure of a seated male figure, apparently holding two flowering plants. Behind the enamel is a gold plate, engraved with a different plant. The frame is soldered to a sheet-gold beast’s head, its jaws holding a short tube with a rivet through the end. Soldered to the head and the sloping-sided frame are plain, beaded, and twisted gold wires, and gold granules. Cut into the frame are openwork Old English letters reading AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWRYCAN (‘Alfred ordered me to be made’).

Although no royal title is in the inscription, the Jewel is usually assumed to have been made for Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (...

Article

Emma Packer

(b ?London, c. 1470; d ?London, 1532).

English goldsmith. He was the son of a London goldsmith and was the most successful goldsmith working at the Tudor court; his work bridged the transition between the Gothic and the Renaissance styles. He was an official at the Mint from 1504 to almost the end of his life, his appointment possibly facilitated by his marriage to Elizabeth, granddaughter of Sir Hugh Bryce (d 1496), Court Goldsmith to Henry VIII. In 1524 Amadas became the first working goldsmith to become Master of the Jewel House to Henry VIII, an office he retained until 1532, supplying spangles, wire and ribbons to the court. In the 1520s his orders included a large amount of plate for gifts to foreign ambassadors; he also supplied a number of New Year’s gifts for the court. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was one of Amadas’ most important clients, and Amadas supplied him with a number of lavish objects. Other clients included ...

Article

John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of aquamanilia is associated with Mosan art of the Meuse Valley in northern France, and with Lower Saxony in north-east Germany. The majority of surviving examples are made of a variety of bronze that resembles gold when polished, while nearly all those made of precious metals are known only from church inventories.

Church documents refer to aquamanilia as early as the 5th century, when canon regulations stipulated that on ordination the subdeacon should receive such a vessel. Various documents from the 5th century to the beginning of the 11th sometimes use the term to denote both the ewer and its basin. Sometime after the beginning of the 11th century the term became transferred to a type of vessel, usually in the shape of an animal (e.g. lion, stag, horse; ...

Article

(fl 1324–38).

Italian goldsmith. A native of Antella (near Florence), he had moved to Florence by 16 August 1324, when he was registered in the goldsmiths’ guild. His sole extant autograph work, incorrectly attributed by Vasari to Cione Aretino, is the reliquary bust of St Zenobius (Florence, S Maria del Fiore), which is inscribed: andreas arditi de florentia me fecit. An inventory of the sacristy of S Reparata, compiled in 1418, describes the bust and dates it to 1331. It was restored in 1704 and 1812 and has lost much of its original enamel. The figure’s mitre (detachable) and collar are decorated with quatrefoil plaques of basse-taille (translucent) enamel on silver relief depicting Angels, winged Virtues and Saints. The plaques are among the earliest examples of the use of this technique, of which Andrea appears to have been a leading exponent, by a Florentine goldsmith.

Five other works by Andrea are recorded. The inventory of ...

Article

Malcolm W. Norris

A term used to describe any inscription, figure, shield of arms, or other device engraved for a commemorative purpose in flat sheet brass. It is found as early as 1486 in the will of William Norreys of Ash-next-Sandwich, Kent. Such memorials became established in 13th-century Europe as a very satisfactory form of inlay for a grave slab. They recorded the death and status of the deceased and, particularly important, attracted prayers for the soul in Purgatory. Monumental brasses are therefore usually found in churches.

Brasses were manufactured almost exclusively in north-western and central Europe, although they were exported as far south as Madeira. This form of monument was, as with tomb effigies, initially patronized by the higher clergy, although very occasionally royalty chose to be so represented. Examples are the brasses of Philip and John (destr.), sons of Louis VIII of France, formerly at Notre-Dame, Poissy, of Queen Margaret (...

Article

Manuel Castiñeiras

Gilded copper altar (c. 1150; Stockholm, Stat. Hist. Mus.) from Broddetorp Chuch in Västergötland (Sweden). The Broddetorp Altar is one of the so-called ‘golden altars’ that are characteristic of Romanesque metalwork from the second quarter of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th in Scandinavia. The altars were likely produced in Jutland, the western province that constituted medieval Denmark, and most are preserved in the Nationalmuseum in Copenhagen (e.g. Lisbjerg, Saksild, Tamdrup, Sindbjerg, Ølst, and Odder) or in churches in Jutland (Sahl, Stadil). Sources as well as fragmentary remains indicate that many other churches in Scandinavia were adorned with golden altars.

The Broddetorp Altar, one of the most complete of the golden altars, consists of a frontal, a retable (reredos), and a crucifix. Thin copper sheets were engraved, stamped, and gilded, and then attached to an oak framework. As is found in other altarpieces, the fire gilding was combined with brown varnish (...

Article

John Williams

Sardonyx cup with gold mounts (h. 184 mm, diam. 173 mm; León, Mus.–Bib. Real Colegiata S Isidoro), given by Urraca (c. 1032–1101), the eldest daughter of Ferdinand I, King of Castile-León (reg 1035–65), and sister of Alfonso VI, King of Castile-León (reg 1072–1109), to S Isidoro, León. At Ferdinand’s death, Urraca and her sister Elvira received dominion over the monasteries of the realm for as long as they remained unwed. A chronicle written a decade or so after Urraca’s death goes out of its way to acknowledge her role as donor: ‘All of her life she [Urraca] followed her desire to adorn sacred altars and the vestments of the clergy with gold, silver, and precious stones’.

The high technical level of her gifts may be measured by the chalice. An inscription in beaded gold letters above the foot, in nomine d[omi]ni vrraca fredina[n]di, marks the chalice as the gift of Urraca. The cup and foot of the chalice are made of sardonyx, in shapes consistent with an antique origin, and are joined together by gold mounts to form a Christian liturgical chalice. The cup was lined with gold and has a gold rim richly adorned with pearls, a crystal, and gems held in oval and rectangular settings. An extraordinary addition to this frieze of gems is a white glass paste masculine head recalling the medieval practice of incorporating antique cameos in Christian metalwork. It clearly is not antique, however, and although its long nose and pointed chin seem foreign to the 11th century, the hair on the figure of Ferdinand I on the silver Arca (reliquary) at S Isidoro (...

Article

Lighting fixture suspended from the ceiling, equipped with multiple lamps or candles. The massive, crown-shaped, Romanesque chandeliers, for example that made c. 1166 for Frederick I, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, for the Palatine chapel in Aachen Cathedral, were gradually superseded by a form that emerged in the 15th century in the Low Countries. This type comprises a central moulded shaft, from which 6–36 upward-curving branches radiate, embellished with Gothic ornament and sometimes human, bird or animal figures. These bronze chandeliers were used in public buildings, churches and the houses of the wealthy, as depicted in the Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck (1434; London, N.G.). In the later 15th century the solid shaft was replaced by a traceried niche containing a figure, often a Virgin and child (e.g. Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). Expensive silver versions were less common, but designs exist, for example an early 16th-century Florentine silver, rock-crystal and topaz chandelier (priv. col., see ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

G. Reinheckel

(fl 1129–60).

German metalworker and enameller. A monk in the monastery of St Pantaleon, Cologne, he was one of the principal masters of its important workshop and among the most outstanding German metalworkers of the Romanesque period. His name is engraved as part of an inscription on a small portable altar (ex-Welf treasure; Berlin, Tiergarten, Kstgewmus.), produced c. 1150–60, which reads: eilbertus coloniensis me fecit. The form of the altar follows that commonly found in portable altars of the 10th and 11th centuries. Eilbertus’s achievement was to replace the silver niello decoration customary on altars up to that date, and perfected by Roger of Helmarshausen, with enamel work; and to do so at about the same time as Mosan masters (see Romanesque §VII). He also prepared the ground for the formal convergence in the 13th century of portable altars with larger shrines. The figures decorating the altar are individually characterized with spare lines, and they show the artist’s distinctive use of champlevé enamel with marked ridges separating areas of shaded colour. On the top of the altar the ...

Article

Griffin Murray

Large processional cross (h. 760 mm; Dublin, N. Mus.) made in 1123 to enshrine a relic of the True Cross. It is the most important surviving piece of Irish 12th-century metalwork. Principally consisting of cast copper-alloy plates fixed to a wooden core, it was embellished with gold, silver, niello, glass, enamel, and rock crystal. It was made in a workshop at Roscommon under the patronage of Turlough O’Connor, the Connaught king and the most powerful ruler in Ireland at that time. The master craftsman responsible for it was Máel Ísu, who may also be credited with St Manchan’s shrine (parish church, Boher, Co. Offaly) and the Aghadoe crosier (Dublin, N. Mus., on loan). Its creation may be viewed as part of a concerted effort by O’Connor and the senior ecclesiasts, Muiredach and Domnall O’Duffy, all of whom are named in the cross’s inscription, to gain ecclesiastical autonomy for Connaught from Armagh by establishing ...

Article

A. M. Koldeweij

[de Walcourt]

(b Walcourt, before 1187; d Oignies, c. 1240).

South Netherlandish metalworker. According to the chronicle of Oignies (Mons, Archvs Etat), which gives the details of his birth, he had three brothers who, led by the eldest, Egidius or Gilles de Walcourt, founded the Priory of St Nicolas at Oignies on the banks of the River Sambre, in the diocese of Liège. Hugo worked in precious metals in the Meuse region and the surrounding area until c. 1230, when he retired to the priory, became a lay brother and continued his work in its service. It is presumed that he learnt his craft in the coin foundry at Walcourt, and the tradition that he was apprenticed to Nicholas of Verdun may be based on truth. Classicizing elements in Hugo’s work give way to Gothic, however, and the influence of sculpture at Reims Cathedral can be clearly distinguished; there are also connections with the drawings of Villard de Honnecourt.

Hugo d’Oignies’s three surviving signed pieces of precious metalwork (a book cover, chalice and reliquary; all Namur, Trésor Hugo d’Oignies) were produced for ...

Article

Francis Woodman

(fl 1188; d 1245).

English cleric, sculptor, and possibly metalworker. A native of West Dereham in Norfolk, he has sometimes been identified with Master Elias, steward to Gilbert de Glanville, Bishop of Rochester. He served in the household of Hubert Walter, Bishop of Salisbury and later Archbishop of Canterbury (1193–1205), and he was employed by other bishops in an executive capacity; he also arranged the distribution of the copies of Magna Carta (1215). With Walter of Colchester (d 1248) he organized the translation of the remains of St Thomas Becket to the new shrine at Canterbury Cathedral in 1220, apparently making and setting up the shrine itself. He was ‘director of the new fabric’ of Salisbury Cathedral (of which he was a canon) from its foundation in 1220 until his death. He built a house for himself in the Close at Salisbury (Leadenhall; destr. 1915). In 1233...

Article

G. Kreytenberg

(fl 1300–34).

Italian sculptor and goldsmith. He is documented in Siena, Massa Marittima, and Messina. He was the son of Goro di Guccio Ciuti (d before 1311), a Florentine sculptor who, with Lapo and Donato, assistants of Nicola Pisano, was granted citizenship in Siena in 1271. Goro di Guccio Ciuti’s sons Neri and Ambrogio, of whom nothing further is known, followed in their father’s footsteps, as did Goro.

Goro’s earliest works are probably the monumental busts on the interior of the north portal of the main façade of the cathedral in Siena, dating from around 1300. One of the two lions on the interior of the main portal also dates from around this time. Goro must have made the sculptural figures, chased in silver, on the shepherd’s staff in the Museo Capitolare in Città di Castello during the first decade of the 14th century. He probably made a statue of a ...

Article

Barbara Drake Boehm

(fl Siena, 1322–8).

Italian goldsmith. He was the most important goldsmith in Siena in the first half of the 14th century after Guccio di Mannaia, to whom he may possibly have been apprenticed. Despite the fact that many contemporary Sienese translucent enamels have been attributed to Tondino, there is supporting evidence for only three objects. A chalice (London, BM) bears his name and that of an associate, Andrea Riguardi, on its knop. A paten representing the Resurrection in S Domenico, Perugia, is cited in the church’s inventory of 1458 as the mate to a chalice also signed by the two artists. A second paten representing St James with a Pilgrim (Perugia, G.N. Umbria), found in 1954 under the choir-stalls of the church (with the Resurrection paten), probably corresponds to a second paten mentioned in the inventory of 1458, which is also linked to a chalice signed by the two men; conflicting evidence in an earlier inventory of ...

Article

(fl c. 1286–1317).

Italian goldsmith. His earliest documented work dates from 1286, when together with his brother Tallino he made a chalice, identified by Gai (1988) with the chalice of S Atto (Pistoia, Mus. Dioc.), for the Opera di S Jacopo; he was paid 48 lire for this work on 29 April 1286. The following year the Opera di S Jacopo commissioned a silver retable, decorated with high reliefs of the Virgin and Child Enthroned and the Twelve Apostles, for the altar of S Jacopo in Pistoia Cathedral. This retable was restored in March–April 1293 and again in 1314. In 1316 it was enlarged, and the added silver antependium was signed andrea di jacopo d’ognabene, although it is unclear whether Andrea was the author of both the antependium and the earlier retable. Most scholars consider the two parts to be stylistically distinct and thus by two different artists. Ragghianti, however, gave the authorship of both parts to another goldsmith, whom he identified as the ...

Article

[Malnaia; Malnaggia; Manaie; Mannaie]

(fl 1288–1318).

Italian goldsmith. One of the most important goldsmiths of the period, he is first documented on 5 July 1292 in a payment for a seal, in which he is referred to as ‘Guccio Mannaie aurifici’. A further three payments for seals are recorded on 1 January 1294, 4 September 1298, and 7 July 1318. In 1311 he enrolled in the Sienese goldsmiths’ guild. His only signed work is the chalice (silver gilt and translucent enamel; h. 220 mm; Assisi, Tesoro Mus. Basilica S Francesco) made in 1288–92 for Pope Nicholas IV and donated to S Francesco, Assisi. The stem is inscribed guccius manaie de senis fecit and niccho[l]aus papa quartus. The chalice is first described in an inventory of 1370 and is mentioned in successive inventories: that of 1430 refers to a paten (lost) decorated with an enamel of the Last Supper. The chalice is the earliest dated example of ...

Article

(da Firenze)

(fl 1358–71).

Italian goldsmith. Trained in the workshop of the Florentine goldsmith Francesco di Niccolò, he matriculated in the goldsmiths’ guild, the Arte della Seta, in 1358. In 1361 Francesco was commissioned to execute nine narrative reliefs of episodes from the Old Testament for the antependium of the silver altar of S Jacopo in Pistoia (for further discussion of the altar see Andrea di Jacopo d’Ognabene). Documents of 13 April 1363 and 30 June 1364 indicate that Leonardo assisted with this work, which was completed in 1364. The relief panels were originally to the left of the scenes on the main face of the antependium, to which they relate chronologically and iconographically: the altarpiece was dismantled in 1381, and the two lateral faces were transposed. Francesco was the principal author of the reliefs, but in the last two panels depicting the Birth of the Virgin and Betrothal of the Virgin a different hand has been identified, possibly that of Leonardo (Gai). On ...