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Title: Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages - A Description of Mediaeval Workmanship in Several of the Departments of Applied Art, Together with Some Account of Special Artisans in the Early Renaissance
Author: Addison, Julia de Wolf Gibbs, 1866-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A Description of Mediaeval Workmanship in Several of the Departments
of Applied Art, Together with Some Account of Special Artisans in
the Early Renaissance



Author of "The Art of the Pitti Palace," "The Art of the National
Gallery," "Classic Myths in Art," etc.



The very general and keen interest in the revival of arts and crafts
in America is a sign full of promise and pleasure to those who
are working among the so-called minor arts. One reads at every
turn how greatly Ruskin and Morris have influenced handicraft: how
much these men and their co-workers have modified the appearance
of our streets and houses, our materials, textiles, utensils, and
all other useful things in which it is possible to shock or to
please the æsthetic taste, without otherwise affecting the value
of these articles for their destined purposes.

In this connection it is interesting to look into the past, particularly
to those centuries known as the Middle Ages, in which the handicrafts
flourished in special perfection, and to see for ourselves how
these crafts were pursued, and exactly what these arts really were.
Many people talk learnedly of the delightful revival of the arts
and crafts without having a very definite idea of the original
processes which are being restored to popular favour. William Morris
himself, although a great modern spirit, and reformer, felt the
necessity of a basis of historic knowledge in all workers. "I do
not think," he says, "that any man but one of the highest genius
could do anything in these days without much study of ancient art,
and even he would be much hindered if he lacked it." It is but
turning to the original sources, then, to examine the progress
of mediæval artistic crafts, and those sources are usually to be
found preserved for our edification in enormous volumes of plates,
inaccessible to most readers, and seldom with the kind of information
which the average person would enjoy. There are very few books
dealing with the arts and crafts of the olden time, which are adapted
to inform those who have no intention of practising such arts,
and yet who wish to understand and appreciate the examples which
they see in numerous museums or exhibitions, and in travelling
abroad. There are many of the arts and crafts which come under
the daily observation of the tourist, which make no impression
upon him and have no message for him, simply because he has never
considered the subject of their origin and construction. After
one has once studied the subject of historic carving, metal work,
embroidery, tapestry, or illumination, one can never fail to look
upon these things with intelligent interest and vastly increased

Until the middle of the nineteenth century art had been regarded
as a luxury for the rich dilettante,--the people heard little of
it, and thought less. The utensils and furniture of the middle class
were fashioned only with a view to utility; there was a popular belief
that beautiful things were expensive, and the thrifty housekeeper who
had no money to put into bric-à-brac never thought of such things as
an artistic lamp shade or a well-coloured sofa cushion. Decorative
art is well defined by Mr. Russell Sturgis: "Fine art applied to the
making beautiful or interesting that which is made for utilitarian

Many people have an impression that the more ornate an article
is, the more work has been lavished upon it. There never was a
more erroneous idea. The diligent polish in order to secure nice
plain surfaces, or the neat fitting of parts together, is infinitely
more difficult than adding a florid casting to conceal clumsy
workmanship. Of course certain forms of elaboration involve great
pains and labour; but the mere fact that a piece of work is decorated
does not show that it has cost any more in time and execution than if
it were plain,--frequently many hours have been saved by the device
of covering up defects with cheap ornament. How often one finds that
a simple chair with a plain back costs more than one which is
apparently elaborately carved! The reason is, that the plain one had
to be made out of a decent piece of wood, while the ornate one was
turned out of a poor piece, and then stamped with a pattern in order
to attract the attention from the inferior material of which it was
composed. The softer and poorer the wood, the deeper it was possible
to stamp it at a single blow. The same principle applies to
much work in metal. Flimsy bits of silverware stamped with cheap
designs of flowers or fruits are attached to surfaces badly finished,
while the work involved in making such a piece of plate with a
plain surface would increase its cost three or four times.

A craft may easily be practised without art, and still serve its
purpose; the alliance of the two is a means of giving pleasure
as well as serving utility. But it is a mistake to suppose that
because a design is artistic, its technical rendering is any the
less important. Frequently curious articles are palmed off on us,
and designated as "Arts and Crafts" ornaments, in which neither
art nor craft plays its full share. Art does not consist only in
original, unusual, or unfamiliar designs; craft does not mean hammering
silver so that the hammer marks shall show; the best art is that
which produces designs of grace and appropriateness, whether they
are strikingly new or not, and the best craftsman is so skilful
that he is able to go beyond the hammer marks, so to speak, and
to produce with the hammer a surface as smooth as, and far more
perfect than, that produced by an emery and burnisher. Some people
think that "Arts and Crafts" means a combination which allows of
poor work being concealed under a mask of æsthetic effect. Labour
should not go forth blindly without art, and art should not proceed
simply for the attainment of beauty without utility,--in other
words, there should be an alliance between labour and art.

One principle for which craftsmen should stand is
a respect for their own tools: a frank recognition of the methods
and implements employed in constructing any article. If the article
in question is a chair, and is really put together by means of
sockets and pegs, let these constructive necessities appear, and do
not try to disguise the means by which the result is to be attained.
Make the requisite feature a beauty instead of a disgrace.

It is amusing to see a New England farmer build a fence. He begins
with good cedar posts,--fine, thick, solid logs, which are at least
genuine, and handsome so far as a cedar post is capable of being
handsome. You think, "Ah, that will be a good unobjectionable fence."
But, behold, as soon as the posts are in position, he carefully lays
a flat plank vertically in front of each, so that the passer-by
may fancy that he has performed the feat of making a fence of flat
laths, thus going out of his way to conceal the one positive and
good-looking feature in his fence. He seems to have some furtive
dread of admitting that he has used the real article!

A bolt is to be affixed to a modern door. Instead of being applied
with a plate of iron or brass, in itself a decorative feature on
a blank space like that of the surface of a door, the carpenter
cuts a piece of wood out of the edge of the door, sinks the bolt
out of sight, so that nothing shall appear to view but a tiny
meaningless brass handle, and considers that he has performed a very
neat job. Compare this method with that of a mediæval locksmith,
and the result with his great iron bolt, and if you can not appreciate
the difference, both in principle and result, I should recommend a
course of historic art study until you are convinced. On the other
hand, it is not necessary to carry your artistry so far that you
build a fence of nothing but cedar logs touching one another, or that
you cover your entire door with a meander of wrought iron which
culminates in a small bolt. Enthusiastic followers of the Arts and
Crafts movement often go to morbid extremes. _Recognition_ of
material and method does not connote a _display_ of method and
material out of proportion to the demands of the article to be
constructed. As in other forms of culture, balance and sanity are
necessary, in order to produce a satisfactory result.

But when a craftsman is possessed of an æsthetic instinct and faculty,
he merits the congratulations offered to the students of Birmingham by
William Morris, when he told them that they were among the happiest
people in all civilization--"persons whose necessary daily work is
inseparable from their greatest pleasure."

A mediæval artist was usually a craftsman as well. He was not content
with furnishing designs alone, and then handing them over to men
whose hands were trained to their execution, but he took his own
designs and carried them out. Thus, the designer adapted his drawing
to the demands of his material and the craftsman was necessarily in
sympathy with the design since it was his own. The result was a harmony
of intention and execution which is often lacking when two men of
differing tastes produce one object. Lübke sums up the talents of
a mediæval artist as follows: "A painter could produce panels with
coats of arms for the military men of noble birth, and devotional
panels with an image of a saint or a conventionalized scene from
Scripture for that noble's wife. With the same brush and on a larger
panel he could produce a larger sacred picture for the convent
round the corner, and with finer pencil and more delicate touch
he could paint the vellum leaves of a missal;" and so on. If an
artistic earthenware platter was to be made, the painter turned
to his potter's wheel and to his kiln. If a filigree coronet was
wanted, he took up his tools for metal and jewelry work.

Redgrave lays down an excellent maxim for general guidance to designers
in arts other than legitimate picture making. He says: "The picture
must be independent of the material, the thought alone should govern
it; whereas in decoration the material must be one of the suggestors
of the thought, its use must govern the design." This shows the
difference between decoration and pictorial art.

One hears a great deal of the "conventional" in modern art talk. Just
what this means, few people who have the word in their vocabularies
really know. As Professor Moore defined it once, it does not apply
to an arbitrary theoretical system at all, but is instinctive. It
means obedience to the limits under which the artist works. The
really greatest art craftsmen of all have been those who have
recognized the limitations of the material which they employed. Some
of the cleverest have been beguiled by the fascination of overcoming
obstacles, into trying to make iron do the things appropriate only
to wood, or to force cast bronze into the similitude of a picture,
or to discount all the credit due to a fine piece of embroidery by
trying to make it appear like a painting. But these are the exotics;
they are the craftsmen who have been led astray by a false impulse,
who respect difficulty more than appropriateness, war rather than
peace! No elaborate and tortured piece of Cellini's work can compare
with the dignified glory of the Pala d'Oro; Ghiberti's gates in
Florence, though a marvellous _tour de force_, are not so satisfying
as the great corona candelabrum of Hildesheim. As a rule, we shall
find that mediæval craftsmen were better artists than those of the
Renaissance, for with facility in the use of material, comes always
the temptation to make it imitate some other material, thus losing
its individuality by a contortion which may be curious and interesting,
but out of place. We all enjoy seeing acrobats on the stage, but it
would be painful to see them curling in and out of our drawing-room

The true spirit which the Arts and Crafts is trying to inculcate
was found in Florence when the great artists turned their attention
to the manipulation of objects of daily use, Benvenuto Cellini being
willing to make salt-cellars, and Sansovino to work on inkstands, and
Donatello on picture frames, while Pollajuolo made candlesticks.
The more our leading artists realize the need of their attention
in the minor arts, the more nearly shall we attain to a genuine
alliance between the arts and the crafts.

To sum up the effect of this harmony between art and craft in the
Middle Ages, the Abbé Texier has said: "In those days art and
manufactures were blended and identified; art gained by this affinity
great practical facility, and manufacture much original beauty."
And then the value to the artist is almost incalculable. To spend
one's life in getting means on which to live is a waste of all
enjoyment. To use one's life as one goes along--to live every day
with pleasure in congenial occupation--that is the only thing worth
while. The life of a craftsman is a constant daily fulfilment of
the final ideal of the man who spends all his time and strength
in acquiring wealth so that some time (and he may never live to
see the day) he may be able to control his time and to use it as
pleases him. There is stored up capital represented in the life
of a man whose work is a recreation, and expressive of his own

In a book of this size it is not possible to treat of every art
or craft which engaged the skill of the mediæval workers. But at
some future time I hope to make a separate study of the ceramics,
glass in its various forms, the arts of engraving and printing, and
some of the many others which have added so much to the pleasure
and beauty of the civilized world.


      I.  Gold and Silver
     II.  Jewelry and Precious Stones
    III.  Enamel
     IV.  Other Metals
      V.  Tapestry
     VI.  Embroideries
    VII.  Sculpture in Stone (France and Italy)
   VIII.  Sculpture in Stone (England and Germany)
     IX.  Carving in Wood and Ivory
      X.  Inlay and Mosaic
     XI.  Illumination of Books


Examples of Ecclesiastical Metal Work
Crown of Charlemagne
Bernward's Cross and Candlesticks, Hildesheim
Bernward's Chalice, Hildesheim
Corona at Hildesheim. (detail)
Reliquary at Orvieto
Apostle spoons
Ivory Knife Handles, with Portraits of Queen Elizabeth and James I. Englis
The "Milkmaid Cup"
Saxon Brooch
The Tara Brooch
Shrine of the Bell of St. Patrick
The Treasure of Guerrazzar
Hebrew Ring
Crystal Flagons, St. Mark's, Venice
Sardonyx Cup, 11th Century, Venice
German Enamel, 13th Century
Enamelled Gold Book Cover, Siena
Detail; Shrine of the Three Kings, Cologne
Finiguerra's Pax, Florence
Italian Enamelled Crozier, 14th Century
Wrought Iron Hinge, Frankfort
Biscornette's Doors at Paris
Wrought Iron from the Bargello, Florence
Moorish Keys, Seville
Armour. Showing Mail Developing into Plate
Damascened Helmet
Moorish Sword
Enamelled Suit of Armour
Brunelleschi's Competitive Panel
Ghiberti's Competitive Panel
Font at Hildesheim, 12th Century
Portrait Statuette of Peter Vischer
A Copper "Curfew"
Sanctuary Knocker, Durham Cathedral
Anglo-Saxon Crucifix of Lead
Detail, Bayeux Tapestry
Flemish Tapestry, "The Prodigal Son"
Tapestry, Representing Paris in the 15th Century
Embroidery on Canvas, 16th Century, South Kensington Museum
Detail of the Syon Cope
Dalmatic of Charlemagne
Embroidery, 15th Century, Cologne
Carved Capital from Ravenna
Pulpit of Nicola Pisano, Pisa
Tomb of the Son of St. Louis, St. Denis
Carvings around Choir Ambulatory, Chartres
Grotesque from Oxford, Popularly Known as "The Backbiter"
The "Beverly minstrels"
St. Lorenz Church, Nuremberg, Showing Adam Kraft's Pyx, and the Hanging
  Medallion by Veit Stoss
Relief by Adam Kraft
Carved Box--wood Pyx, 14th Century
Miserere Stall; An Artisan at Work
Miserere Stall, Ely; Noah and the Dove
Miserere Stall; the Fate of the Ale-wife
Ivory Tabernacle, Ravenna
The Nativity; Ivory Carving
Pastoral Staff; Ivory, German, 12th Century
Ivory Mirror Case; Early 14th Century
Ivory Mirror Case, 1340
Chessman from Lewis
Marble Inlay from Lucca
Detail of Pavement, Baptistery, Florence
Detail of Pavement, Siena; "Fortune," by Pinturicchio
Ambo at Ravello; Specimen of Cosmati Mosaic
Mosaic from Ravenna; Theodora and Her Suite, 16th Century
Mosaic in Bas-relief, Naples
A Scribe at Work; 12th Century Manuscript
Detail from the Durham Book
Ivy Pattern, from a 14th Century French Manuscript
Mediæval Illumination
Caricature of a Bishop
Illumination by Gherart David of Bruges, 1498; St. Barbara
Choral Book, Siena
Detail from an Italian Choral Book




The worker in metals is usually called a smith, whether he be
coppersmith or goldsmith. The term is Saxon in origin, and is derived
from the expression "he that smiteth." Metal was usually wrought
by force of blows, except where the process of casting modified

Beaten work was soldered from the earliest times. Egyptians evidently
understood the use of solder, for the Hebrews obtained their knowledge
of such things from them, and in Isaiah xli. 7, occurs the passage:
"So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth
with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, 'It is ready
for the soldering.'" In the Bible there are constant references
to such arts in metal work as prevail in our own times: "Of beaten
work made he the candlesticks," Exodus. In the ornaments of the
tabernacle, the artificer Bezaleel "made two cherubims of gold
beaten out of one piece made he them."

An account of gold being gathered in spite of vicissitudes
is given by Pliny: "Among the Dardoe the ants are as large as Egyptian
wolves, and cat coloured. The Indians gather the gold dust thrown up
by the ants, when they are sleeping in their holes in the Summer;
but if these animals wake, they pursue the Indians, and, though
mounted on the swiftest camels, overtake and tear them to pieces."

Another legend relates to the blessed St. Patrick, through whose
intercession special grace is supposed to have been granted to
all smiths. St. Patrick was a slave in his youth. An old legend
tells that one time a wild boar came rooting in the field, and
brought up a lump of gold; and Patrick brought it to a tinker,
and the tinker said, "It is nothing but solder. Give it here to
me." But then he brought it to a smith, and the smith told him it
was gold; and with that gold he bought his freedom. "And from that
time," continues the story, "the smiths have been lucky, taking
money every day, and never without work, but as for the tinkers,
every man's face is against them!"

In the Middle Ages the arts and crafts were generally protected by
the formation of guilds and fraternities. These bodies practically
exercised the right of patent over their professions, and infringements
could be more easily dealt with, and frauds more easily exposed, by
means of concerted effort on the part of the craftsmen. The goldsmiths
and silversmiths were thus protected in England and France, and in most
of the leading European art centres. The test of pure gold was made
by "six of the more discreet goldsmiths," who went about and
superintended the amount of alloy to be employed; "gold of the
standard of the touch of Paris" was the French term for metal of the
required purity. Any goldsmith using imitation stones or otherwise
falsifying in his profession was punished "by imprisonment and by
ransom at the King's pleasure." There were some complaints that
fraudulent workers "cover tin with silver so subtilely... that
the same cannot be discovered or separated, and so sell tin for
fine silver, to the great damage and deceipt of us." This state
of things finally led to the adoption of the Hall Mark, which is
still to be seen on every piece of silver, signifying that it has
been pronounced pure by the appointed authorities.

The goldsmiths of France absorbed several other auxiliary arts, and
were powerful and influential. In state processions the goldsmiths
had the first place of importance, and bore the royal canopy when
the King himself took part in the ceremony, carrying the shrine
of St. Genevieve also, when it was taken forth in great pageants.

In the quaint wording of the period, goldsmiths were forbidden to
gild or silver-plate any article made of copper or latten, unless
they left some part of the original exposed, "at the foot or some
other part,... to the intent that a man may see whereof the thing
is made for to eschew the deceipt aforesaid." This law was enacted
in 1404.

Many of the great art schools of the Middle Ages were established
in connection with the numerous monasteries scattered through all
the European countries and in England. The Rule of St. Benedict
rings true concerning the proper consecration of an artist: "If
there be artists in the monastery, let them exercise their crafts
with all humility and reverence, provided the abbot shall have
ordered them. But if any of them be proud of the skill he hath in
his craft, because he thereby seemeth to gain something for the
monastery, let him be removed from it and not exercise it again,
unless, after humbling himself, the abbot shall permit him." Craft
without graft was the keynote of mediæval art.

King Alfred had a monastic art school at Athelney, in which he had
collected "monks of all kinds from every quarter." This accounts
for the Greek type of work turned out at this time, and very likely
for Italian influences in early British art. The king was active in
craft work himself, for Asser tells us that he "continued, during
his frequent wars, to teach his workers in gold and artificers of
all kinds."

The quaint old encyclopædia of Bartholomew Anglicus, called, "The
Properties of Things," defines gold and silver in an original way,
according to the beliefs of this writer's day. He says of gold,
that "in the composition there is more sadness of brimstone than
of air and moisture of quicksilver, and therefore gold is more
sad and heavy than silver." Of silver he remarks, "Though silver
be white yet it maketh black lines and strakes in the body that
is scored therewith."

Marco Polo says that in the province of Carazan "the rivers yield
great quantities of washed gold, and also that which is solid, and
on the mountains they find gold in the vein, and they give one
pound of gold for six of silver."

Workers in gold or silver usually employ one of two methods--casting
or beating, combined with delicacy of finish, chasing, and polishing.
The technical processes are interestingly described by the writers
of the old treatises on divers arts. In the earliest of these, by
the monk Theophilus, in the eleventh century, we have most graphic
accounts of processes very similar to those now in use. The naïve
monastic instructor, in his preface, exhorts his followers to honesty
and zeal in their good works. "Skilful in the arts let no one glorify
himself," say Theophilus, "as if received from himself, and not from
elsewhere; but let him be thankful humbly in the Lord, from whom all
things are received." He then advises the craftsman earnestly to
study the book which follows, telling him of the riches of instruction
therein to be found; "you will there find out whatever... Tuscany
knows of mosaic work, or in variety of enamels, whatever Arabia
shows forth in work of fusion, ductility or chasing, whatever Italy
ornaments with gold... whatever France loves in a costly variety
of windows; whatever industrious Germany approves in work of gold,
silver or copper, and iron, of woods and of stones." No wonder the
authorities are lost in conjecture as to the native place of the
versatile Theophilus! After promising all these delightful things,
the good old monk continues, "Act therefore, well intentioned man,...
hasten to complete with all the study of thy mind, those things which
are still wanting among the utensils of the House of the Lord," and
he enumerates the various pieces of church plate in use in the Middle

Directions are given by Theophilus for the workroom, the benches
at which the smiths are to sit, and also the most minute technical
recipes for "instruments for sculping," for scraping, filing, and
so forth, until the workshop should be fitted with all necessary
tools. In those days, artists began at the very beginning. There were
no "Windsor and Newtons," no nice makers of dividers and T-squares,
to whom one could apply; all implements must be constructed by the
man who contemplated using them.

We will see how Theophilus proceeds, after he has his tools in
readiness, to construct a chalice. First, he puts the silver in a
crucible, and when it has become fluid, he turns it into a mould
in which there is wax (this is evidently the "cire perdu" process
familiar to casters of every age), and then he says, "If by some
negligence it should happen that the melted silver be not whole,
cast it again until it is whole." This process of casting would
apply equally to all metals.

Theophilus instructs his craftsman how to make the
handles of the chalice as follows: "Take wax, form handles with
it, and grave upon them dragons or animals or birds, or leaves--in
whatever manner you may wish. But on the top of each handle place a
little wax, round like a slender candle, half a finger in length,...
this wax is called the funnel.... Then take some clay and cover
carefully the handle, so that the hollows of the sculpture may
be filled up.... Afterwards place these moulds near the coals,
that when they have become warm you may pour out the wax. Which
being turned out, melt the silver,... and cast into the same place
whence you poured out the wax. And when they have become cold remove
the clay." The solid silver handles are found inside, one hardly
need say.

In casting in the "cire perdu" process, Benvenuto Cellini warns
you to beware lest you break your crucible--"just as you've got
your silver nicely molten," he says, "and are pouring it into the
mould, crack goes your crucible, and all your work and time and
pains are lost!" He advises wrapping it in stout cloths.

The process of repoussé work is also much the same to-day as it
has always been. The metal is mounted on cement and the design
partly beaten in from the outside; then the cement is melted out,
and the design treated in more detail from the inside. Theophilus
tells us how to prepare a silver vessel to be beaten with a design.
After giving a recipe for a sort of pitch, he says, "Melt this
composition and fill the vial to the top. And when it has become
cold, portray... whatever you wish, and taking a slender ductile
instrument, and a small hammer, design that which you have portrayed
around it by striking lightly." This process is practically, on a
larger scale, what Cellini describes as that of "minuterie." Cellini
praises Caradosso beyond all others in this work, saying "it was just
in this very getting of the gold so equal all over, that I never knew
a man to beat Caradosso!" He tells how important this equality of
surface is, for if, in the working, the gold became thicker in one
place than in another, it was impossible to attain a perfect finish.
Caradosso made first a wax model of the object which he was to
make; this he cast in copper, and on that he laid his thin gold,
beating and modelling it to the form, until the small hollow bas-relief
was complete. The work was done with wooden and steel tools of
small proportions, sometimes pressed from the back and sometimes
from the front; "ever so much care is necessary," writes Cellini,
"...to prevent the gold from splitting." After the model was brought
to such a point of relief as was suitable for the design, great
care had to be exercised in extending the gold further, to fit
behind heads and arms in special relief. In those days the whole
film of gold was then put in the furnace, and fired until the gold
began to liquefy, at which exact moment it was necessary to remove
it. Cellini himself made a medal for Girolamo Maretta, representing
Hercules and the Lion; the figures were in such high relief that
they only touched the ground at a few points. Cellini reports with
pride that Michelangelo said to him: "If this work were made in
great, whether in marble or in bronze, and fashioned with as
exquisite a design as this, it would astonish the world; and
even in its present size it seems to me so beautiful that I
do not think even a goldsmith of the ancient world fashioned aught
to come up to it!" Cellini says that these words "stiffened him
up," and gave him much increased ambition. He describes also an
Atlas which he constructed of wrought gold, to be placed upon a
lapis lazuli background: this he made in extreme relief, using
tiny tools, "working right into the arms and legs, and making all
alike of equal thickness." A cope-button for Pope Clement was also
quite a _tour de force_; as he said, "these pieces of work are often
harder the smaller they are." The design showed the Almighty seated
on a great diamond; around him there were "a number of jolly little
angels," some in complete relief. He describes how he began with a
flat sheet of gold, and worked constantly and conscientiously,
gradually bossing it up, until, with one tool and then another, he
finally mastered the material, "till one fine day God the Father
stood forth in the round, most comely to behold." So skilful was
Cellini in this art that he "bossed up in high relief with his
punches some fifteen little angels, without even having to solder
the tiniest rent!" The fastening of the clasp was decorated with
"little snails and masks and other pleasing trifles," which suggest
to us that Benvenuto was a true son of the Renaissance, and that his
design did not equal his ability as a craftsman.

Cellini's method of forming a silver vase was on this wise. The
original plate of silver had to be red hot, "not too red, for then
it would crack,--but sufficient to burn certain little grains thrown
on to it." It was then adjusted to the stake, and struck with the
hammer, towards the centre, until by degrees it began to take convex
form. Then, keeping the central point always in view by means of
compasses, from that point he struck "a series of concentric circles
about half a finger apart from each other," and with a hammer,
beginning at the centre, struck so that the "movement of the hammer
shall be in the form of a spiral, and follow the concentric circles."
It was important to keep the form very even all round. Then the
vase had to be hammered from within, "till it was equally bellied
all round," and after that, the neck was formed by the same method.
Then, to ornament the vase, it was filled with pitch, and the design
traced on the outside. When it was necessary to beat up the ornament
from within, the vase was cleared out, and inverted upon the point
of a long "snarling-iron," fastened in an anvil stock, and beaten
so that the point should indent from within. The vase would often
have to be filled with pitch and emptied in this manner several
times in the course of its construction.

Benvenuto Cellini was one of the greatest art personalities of all
time. The quaintness of the æsthetic temperament is nowhere found
better epitomized than in his life and writings. But as a producer of
artistic things, he is a great disappointment. Too versatile to be a
supreme specialist, he is far more interesting as a man and craftsman
than as a designer. Technical skill he had in unique abundance. And
another faculty, for which he does not always receive due credit, is
his gift for imparting his knowledge. His Treatises, containing
valuable information as to methods of work, are less familiar to most
readers than his fascinating biography. These Treatises, or directions
to craftsmen, are full of the spice and charm which characterize his
other work. One cannot proceed from a consideration of the bolder
metal work to a study of the dainty art of the goldsmith without a
glance at Benvenuto Cellini.

The introduction to the Treatises has a naïve opening: "What first
prompted me to write was the knowledge of how fond people are of
hearing anything new." This, and other reasons, induced him to
"write about those loveliest secrets and wondrous methods of the
great art of goldsmithing."

Francis I. indeed thought highly of Cellini. Upon viewing one of his
works, his Majesty raised his hands, and exclaimed to the Mareschal
de France, "I command you to give the first good fat abbey that
falls vacant to our Benvenuto, for I do not want my kingdom to
be deprived of his like."

Benvenuto describes the process of making filigree work, the principle
of which is, fine wire coiled flat so as to form designs with an
interesting and varied surface. Filigree is quite common still, and
any one who has walked down the steep street of the Goldsmiths in
Genoa is familiar with most of its modern forms. Cellini says: "Though
many have practised the art without making drawings first, because the
material in which they worked was so easily handled and so pliable,
yet those who made their drawings first did the best work. Now give
ear to the way the art is pursued." He then directs that the craftsman
shall have ready three sizes of wire, and some little gold granules,
which are made by cutting the short lengths of wire, and then subjecting
them to fervent heat until they become as little round beads. He
then explains how the artificer must twist and mould the delicate
wires, and tastily apply the little granules, so as to make a graceful
design, usually of some floriate form. When the wire flowers and
leaves were formed satisfactorily, a wash of gum tragacanth should
be applied, to hold them in place until the final soldering. The
solder was in powdered form, and it was to be dusted on "just as
much as may suffice,... and not more,"... this amount of solder
could only be determined by the experience of the artist. Then came
the firing of the finished work in the little furnace; Benvenuto is
here quite at a loss how to explain himself: "Too much heat would
move the wires you have woven out of place," he says, "really it is
quite impossible to tell it properly in writing; I could explain it
all right by word of mouth, or better still, show you how it is
done,--still, come along,--we'll try to go on as we started!"

Sometimes embossing was done by thin sheets of metal being pressed
on to a wooden carving prepared for the purpose, so that the result
would be a raised silver pattern, which, when filled up with pitch
or lead, would pass for a sample of repoussé work. I need hardly
say that a still simpler mechanical form of pressing obtains on
cheap silver to-day.

So much for the mechanical processes of treating these metals. We
will now examine some of the great historic examples, and glance
at the lives of prominent workers in gold and silver in the past.

One of the most brilliant times for the production of works of art
in gold and silver, was when Constantine, upon becoming Christian,
moved the seat of government to Byzantium. Byzantine ornament lends
itself especially to such work. The distinguishing mark between
the earlier Greek jewellers and the Byzantine was, that the former
considered chiefly line, form, and delicacy of workmanship, while
the latter were led to expression through colour and texture, and
not fineness of finish.

The Byzantine emperors loved gold in a lavish way, and on a superb
scale. They were not content with chaste rings and necklets, or
even with golden crowns. The royal thrones were of gold; their
armour was decorated with the precious metal, and their chariots
enriched in the same way. Even the houses of the rich people
were more endowed with precious furnishings than most of the churches
of other nations, and every family possessed a massive silver table,
and solid vases and plate.

The Emperor Theophilus, who lived in the ninth century, was a great
lover of the arts. His palace was built after the Arabian style,
and he had skilful mechanical experts to construct a golden tree
over his throne, on the branches of which were numerous birds,
and two golden lions at the foot. These birds were so arranged
by clockwork, that they could be made to sing, and the lions also
joined a roar to the chorus!

A great designer of the Middle Ages was Alcuin, the teacher of
Charlemagne, who lived from 735 to 804; he superintended the building
of many fine specimens of church plate. The school of Alcuin, however,
was more famous for illumination, and we shall speak of his work
at more length when we come to deal with that subject.

Another distinguished patron of art was the Abbot Odo of Cluny,
who had originally been destined for a soldier; but he was visited
with what Maitland describes as "an inveterate headache, which, from
his seventeenth to his nineteenth year, defied all medical skill,"
so he and his parents, convinced that this was a manifestation of
the disapproval of Heaven, decided to devote his life to religious
pursuits. He became Abbot of Cluny in the year 927.


Examples of ninth century goldsmithing are rare. Judging from the
few specimens existing, the crown of Charlemagne, and the beautiful
binding of the Hours of Charles the Bold, one would be inclined to
think that an almost barbaric wealth of closely set jewels was the
entire standard of the art of the time, and that grace of form or
contour was quite secondary. The tomb was rifled about the twelfth
century, and many of the valuable things with which he was surrounded
were taken away. The throne was denuded of its gold, and may be seen
to-day in the Cathedral at Aachen, a simple marble chair plain and
dignified, with the copper joints showing its construction. Many of
the relics of Charlemagne are in the treasury at Aachen, among other
interesting items, the bones of the right arm of the Emperor in a
golden shrine in the form of a hand and arm. There is a thrill in
contemplating the remains of the right arm of Charlemagne after all
the centuries, when one remembers the swords and sceptres which have
been wielded by that mighty member. The reliquary containing the
right arm of Charlemagne is German work (of course later than the
opening of the tomb), probably between 1155 and 1190. Frederic
Barbarossa and his ancestors are represented on its ornamentation.

There is little goldsmith's work of the Norman period in Great
Britain, for that was a time of the building of large structures,
and probably minor arts and personal adornment took a secondary


Perhaps the most satisfactory display of mediæval arts and crafts
which may be seen in one city is at Hildesheim: the special richness
of remains of the tenth century is owing to the life and example
of an early bishop--Bernward--who ruled the See from 993 to 1022.
Before he was made bishop, Bernward was tutor to the young Emperor
Otto III. He was a student of art all his life, and a practical
craftsman, working largely in metals, and training up a Guild of
followers in the Cathedral School. He was extremely versatile: one
of the great geniuses of history. In times of war he was Commander
in Chief of Hildesheim; he was a traveller, having made pilgrimages
to Rome and Paris, and the grave of St. Martin at Tours. This wide
culture was unusual in those days; it is quite evident from his
active life of accomplishment in creative art, that good Bishop
Bernward was not to be numbered among those who expected the end of
the world to occur in the year 1000 A. D. Of his works to be seen
in Hildesheim, there are splendid examples. The Goldsmith's School
under his direction was famous.

He was created bishop in 992; Taugmar pays him a tribute, saying:
"He was an excellent penman, a good painter, and as a household
manager was unequalled." Moreover, he "excelled in the mechanical
no less than in the liberal arts." In fact, a visit to Hildesheim
to-day proves that to this man who lived ten centuries ago is due
the fact that Hildesheim is the most artistic city in Germany from
the antiquarian's point of view. This bishop influenced every branch
of art, and with so vital an influence, that his See city is still
full of his works and personality. He was not only a practical
worker in the arts and crafts, but he was also a collector, forming
quite a museum for the further instruction of the students who came
in touch with him. He decorated the walls of his cathedral; the great
candelabrum, or corona, which circles above the central aisle of the
cathedral, was his own design, and the work of his followers; and
the paschal column in the cathedral was from his workshop, wrought
as delightfully as would be possible in any age, and yet executed
nearly a thousand years ago. No bishop ever deserved sainthood
more, or made a more practical contribution to the Church. Pope
Celestine III. canonized him in 1194.

Bernward came of a noble family. His figure may be seen--as near
an approach to a portrait of this great worker as we have--among
the bas-reliefs on the beautiful choir-screen in St. Michael's
Church in Hildesheim.


The cross executed by Bernward's own hands in 994 is a superb work,
with filigree covering the whole, and set with gems _en cabochon_,
with pearls, and antique precious stones, carved with Greek divinities
in intaglio. The candlesticks of St. Bernward, too, are most
interesting. They are made of a metal composed of gold, silver,
and iron, and are wrought magnificently, into a mass of animal
and floriate forms, their outline being well retained, and the
grace of the shaft and proportions being striking. They are partly
the work of the mallet and partly of the chisel. They had been
buried with Bernward, and were found in his sarcophagus in 1194.
Didron has likened them, in their use of animal form, to the art
of the Mexicans; but to me they seem more like delightful German
Romanesque workmanship, leaning more towards that of certain spirited
Lombard grotesques, or even that of Arles and certain parts of
France, than to the Aztec to which Didron has reference. The little
climbing figures, while they certainly have very large hands and
feet, yet are endowed with a certain sprightly action; they all
give the impression of really making an effort,--they are trying
to climb, instead of simply occupying places in the foliage. There
is a good deal of strength and energy displayed in all of them,
and, while the work is rude and rough, it is virile. It is not
unlike the workmanship on the Gloucester candlestick in the South
Kensington Museum, which was made in the twelfth century.

Bernward's chalice is set with antique stones, some of them carved.
On the foot may be seen one representing the three Graces, in their
customary state of nudity "without malice."

Bernward was also an architect. He built the delightful church of
St. Michael, and its cloister. He also superintended the building
of an important wall by the river bank in the lower town.

When there was an uneasy time of controversy at Gandesheim, Bernward
hastened to headquarters in Rome, to arrange to bring about better
feeling. In 1001 he arrived, early in January, and the Pope went
out to meet him, kissed him, and invited him to stay as a guest
at his palace. After accomplishing his diplomatic mission, and
laden with all sorts of sacred relics, Bernward returned home, not
too directly to prevent his seeing something of the intervening

A book which Bishop Bernward had made and illuminated in 1011 has the
inscription: "I, Bernward, had this codex written out, at my own cost,
and gave it to the beloved Saint of God, Michael. Anathema to him who
alienates it." This inscription has the more interest for being the
actual autograph of Bernward.

He was succeeded by Hezilo, and many other pupils. These men made
the beautiful corona of the cathedral, of which I give an illustration
in detail. Great coronas or circular chandeliers hung in the naves
of many cathedrals in the Middle Ages. The finest specimen is this
at Hildesheim, the magnificent ring of which is twenty feet across,
as it hangs suspended by a system of rods and balls in the form
of chains. It has twelve large towers and twelve small ones set
around it, supposed to suggest the Heavenly Jerusalem with its many
mansions. There are sockets for seventy-two candles. The detail
of its adornment is very splendid, and repays close study. Every
little turret is different in architectonic form, and statues of
saints are to be seen standing within these. The pierced silver
work on this chandelier is as beautiful as any mediæval example
in existence.


The great leader of mediæval arts in France was the Abbot Suger
of St. Denis. Suger was born in 1081, he and his brother, Alvise,
who was Bishop of Arras, both being destined for the Episcopate.
As a youth he passed ten years at St. Denis as a scholar. Here he
became intimate with Prince Louis, and this friendship developed
in after life. On returning from a voyage to Italy, in 1122,
he learned at the same time of the death of his spiritual father,
Abbot Adam, and of his own election to be his successor. He
thus stood at the head of the convent of St. Denis in 1123.
This was due to his noble character, his genius for diplomacy
and his artistic talent. He was minister to Louis VI., and afterwards
to Louis VII., and during the second Crusade, he was made Regent
for the kingdom. Suger was known, after this, as the Father of his
Country, for he was a courageous counsellor, firm and convincing
in argument, so that the king had really been guided by his advice.
While he was making laws and instigating crusades, he was also
directing craft shops and propagating the arts in connection with
the life of the Church. St. Bernard denounced him, as encouraging
too luxurious a ritual; Suger made a characteristic reply: "If
the ancient law... ordained that vessels and cups of gold should
be used for libations, and to receive the blood of rams,... how
much rather should we devote gold, precious stones, and the rarest
of materials, to those vessels which are destined to contain the
blood of Our Lord."

Suger ordered and himself made most beautiful appointments for the
sanctuary, and when any vessel already owned by the Abbey was of
costly material, and yet unsuitable in style, he had it remodelled.
An interesting instance of this is a certain antique vase of red
porphyry. There was nothing ecclesiastical about this vase; it was
a plain straight Greek jar, with two handles at the sides. Suger
treated it as the body of an eagle, making the head and neck to
surmount it, and the claw feet for it to stand on, together with
its soaring wings, of solid gold, and it thus became transformed
into a magnificent reliquary in the form of the king of birds. The
inscription on this Ampula of Suger is: "As it is our duty to present
unto God oblations of gems and gold, I, Suger, offer this vase unto
the Lord."

Suger stood always for the ideal in art and character. He had the
courage of his convictions in spite of the fulminations of St.
Bernard. Instead of using the enormous sums of money at his disposal
for importing Byzantine workmen, he preferred to use his funds
and his own influence in developing a native French school of

It is interesting to discover that Suger, among his many adaptations
and restorations at St. Denis, incorporated some of the works of
St. Eloi into his own compositions. For instance, he took an ivory
pulpit, and remodelled it with the addition of copper animals.
Abbots of St. Denis made beautiful offerings to the church. One of
them, Abbot Matthiew de Vendôme, presented a wonderful reliquary,
consisting of a golden head and bust, while another gave a reliquary
to contain the jaw of St. Louis. Suger presented many fine products
of his own art and that of his pupils, among others a great cross
six feet in height. A story is told of him, that, while engaged in
making a particularly splendid crucifix for St. Denis, he ran short
of precious stones, nor could he in any way obtain what he required,
until some monks came to him and offered to sell him a superb lot of
stones which had formerly embellished the dinner service of Henry
I. of England, whose nephew had given them to the convent in exchange
for indulgences and masses! In these early and half-barbaric days of
magnificence, form and delicacy of execution were not understood.
Brilliancy and lavish display of sparkling jewels, set as thickly
as possible without reference to a general scheme of composition,
was the standard of beauty; and it must be admitted that, with
such stones available, no more effective school of work has ever
existed than that of which such works Charlemagne's crown, the
Iron Crown of Monza, and the crown of King Suinthila, are typical
examples. Abbot Suger lamented when he lacked a sufficient supply
of stones; but he did not complain when there occurred a deficiency
in workmen. It was comparatively easy to train artists who could
make settings and bind stones together with soldered straps!

In 1352 a royal silversmith of France, Etienne La Fontaine, made
a "fauteuil of silver and crystal decorated with precious stones,"
for the king.

The golden altar of Basle is almost as interesting as the great
Pala d'Oro in Venice, of which mention is made elsewhere. It was
ordered by Emperor Henry the Pious, before 1024, and presented to
the Prime Minister at Basle. The central figure of the Saviour
has at its feet two tiny figures, quite out of scale; these are
intended for the donors, Emperor Henry and his queen, Cunegunda.

Silversmith's work in Spain was largely in Byzantine style, while
some specimens of Gothic and Roman are also to be seen there. Moorish
influence is noticeable, as in all Spanish design, and filigree work
of Oriental origin is frequently to be met with. Some specimens of
champlevé enamel are also to be seen, though this art was generally
confined to Limoges during the Middle Ages. A Guild was formed in
Toledo which was in flourishing condition in 1423.

An interesting document has been found in Spain showing that craftsmen
were supplied with the necessary materials when engaged to make
valuable figures for the decoration of altars. It is dated May 12,
1367, "I, Sancho Martinez Orebsc, silversmith, native of Seville,
inform you, the Dean and Chapter of the church of Seville, that it
was agreed that I make an image of St. Mary with its tabernacle,
that it should be finished at a given time, and that you were to
give me the silver and stones required to make it."

In Spain, the most splendid triumphs of the goldsmith's skill were
the "custodias," or large tabernacles, in which the Host was carried
in procession. The finest was one made for Toledo by Enrique d'Arphe,
in competition with other craftsmen. His design being chosen, he
began his work in 1517, and in 1524 the custodia was finished. It
was in the form of a Gothic temple, six sided, with a jewelled
cross on the top, and was eight feet high. Some of the gold employed
was the first ever brought from America. The whole structure weighed
three hundred and eighty-eight pounds. Arphe made a similar custodia
for Cordova and another for Leon. His grandson, Juan d'Arphe, wrote
a verse about the Toledo custodia, in which these lines occur:

  "Custodia is a temple of rich plate
   Wrought for the glory of Our Saviour true...
   That holiest ark of old to imitate,
   Fashioned by Bezaleel the cunning Jew,
   Chosen of God to work his sovereign will,
   And greatly gifted with celestial skill."

Juan d'Arphe himself made a custodia for Seville, the decorations
and figures on which were directed by the learned Francesco Pacheco,
the father-in-law of Velasquez. When this custodia was completed,
d'Arphe wrote a description of it, alluding boldly to this work
as "the largest and finest work in silver known of its kind," and
this could really be said without conceit, for it is a fact.

A Gothic form of goldsmith's work obtained in Spain in the 13th,
14th and 15th centuries; it was based upon architectural models and
was known as "plateresca." The shrines for holding relics became
in these centuries positive buildings on a small scale in precious
material. In England also were many of these shrines, but few of
them now remain.

The first Mayor of London, from 1189 to 1213, was a goldsmith,
Henry Fitz Alwyn, the Founder of the Royal Exchange; Sir Thomas
Gresham, in 1520, was also a goldsmith and a banker. There is an
entertaining piece of cynical satire on the Goldsmiths in Stubbes'
Anatomy of Abuses, written in the time of Queen Elizabeth, showing
that the tricks of the trade had come to full development by that
time, and that the public was being aroused on the subject. Stubbes
explains how the goldsmith's shops are decked with chains and rings,
"wonderful richly." Then he goes on to say: "They will make you any
monster or article whatsoever of gold, silver, or what you will. Is
there no deceit in these goodlye shows? Yes, too many; if you will
buy a chain of gold, a ring, or any kind of plate, besides that you
shall pay almost half more than it is worth... you shall also perhaps
have that gold which is naught, or else at least mixed with drossie
rubbage.... But this happeneth very seldom by reason of good orders,
and constitutions made for the punishment of them that offend in
this kind of deceit, and therefore they seldom offend therein,
though now and then they chance to stumble in the dark!"

Fynes Moryson, a traveller who died in 1614, says that "the goldsmiths'
shops in London... are exceedingly richly furnished continually
with gold, with silver plate, and with jewels.... I never see any
such daily show, anything so sumptuous, in any place in the world,
as in London." He admits that in Florence and Paris the similar
shops are very rich upon special occasions; but it is the steady
state of the market in London to which he has reference.

The Company of Goldsmiths in Dublin held quite a prominent social
position in the community. In 1649, a great festival and pageant
took place, in which the goldsmiths and visiting craftsmen from
other corporations took part.

Henry III. set himself to enrich and beautify the shrine of his
patron saint, Edward the Confessor, and with this end in view he
made various extravagant demands: for instance, at one time he
ordered all the gold in London to be detailed to this object, and
at another, he had gold rings and brooches purchased to the value
of six hundred marks. The shrine was of gold, and, according to
Matthew Paris, enriched with jewels. It was commenced in 1241.
In 1244 the queen presented an image of the Virgin with a ruby
and an emerald. Jewels were purchased from time to time,--a great
cameo in 1251, and in 1255 many gems of great value. The son of
ado the Goldsmith, Edward, was the "king's beloved clerk," and was
made "keeper of the shrine." Most of the little statuettes were
described as having stones set somewhere about them: "an image of
St. Peter holding a church in one hand and the keys in the other,
trampling on Nero, who had a big sapphire on his breast;" and "the
Blessed Virgin with her Son, set with rubies, sapphires, emeralds,
and garnets," are among those cited. The whole shrine was described
as "a basilica adorned with purest gold and precious stones."

Odo the Goldsmith was in charge of the works for a good while. He
was succeeded by his son Edward. Payments were made sometimes in a
regular wage, and sometimes for "task work." The workmen were usually
known by one name--Master Alexander the King's Carpenter, Master Henry
the King's Master Mason, and so forth. In an early life of Edward the
Confessor, there is an illumination showing the masons and carpenters
kneeling to receive instruction from their sovereign.

The golden shrine of the Confessor was probably made in the Palace
itself; this was doubtless considered the safest place for so valuable
a work to remain in process of construction; for there is an allusion
to its being brought on the King's own shoulders (with the assistance
of others), from the palace to the Abbey, in 1269, for its consecration.

In 1243 Henry III. ordered four silver basins, fitted with cakes
of wax with wicks in them, to be placed as lights before the shrine
of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury. The great gold shrine of Becket
appears to have been chiefly the work of a goldsmith, Master Adam.
He also designed the Coronation Chair of England, which is now
in Westminster Abbey.

The chief goldsmith of England employed by Edward I. was one Adam
of Shoreditch. He was versatile, for he was also a binder of books.
A certain bill shows an item of his workmanship, "a group in silver
of a child riding upon a horse, the child being a likeness of Lord
Edward, the King's son."

A veritable Arts and Crafts establishment had been in existence
in Woolstrope, Lincolnshire, before Cromwell's time; for Georde
Gifford wrote to Cromwell regarding the suppression of this monastery:
"There is not one religious person there but what doth use either
embrothering, wryting books with a faire hand, making garments,
or carving."

In all countries the chalices and patens were usually, designed
to correspond with each other. The six lobed dish was a very usual
form; it had a depressed centre, with six indented scallops, and
the edge flat like a dinner plate. In an old church inventory,
mention is made of "a chalice with _his_ paten." Sometimes there was
lettering around the flat edge of the paten. Chalices were-composed
of three parts: the cup, the ball or knop, and the stem, with the
foot. The original purpose of having this foot hexagonal in shape
is said to have been to prevent the chalice from rolling when it
was laid on its side to drain. Under many modifications this general
plan of the cup has obtained. The bowl is usually entirely plain,
to facilitate keeping it clean; most of the decoration was lavished
on the knop, a rich and uneven surface being both beautiful and
functional in this place.

Such Norman and Romanesque chalices as remain are chiefly in museums
now. They were usually "coffin chalices"--that is, they had been
buried in the coffin of some ecclesiastic. Of Gothic chalices, or
those of the Tudor period, fewer remain, for after the Reformation,
a general order went out to the churches, for all "chalices to be
altered to decent Communion cups." The shape was greatly modified
in this change.

In the thirteenth century the taste ran rather to a chaster form
of decoration; the large cabochons of the Romanesque, combined
with a liquid gold surface, gave place to refined ornaments in
niello and delicate enamels. The bowls of the earlier chalices
were rather flat and broad. When it became usual for the laity to
partake only of one element when communicating, the chalice, which
was reserved for the clergy alone, became modified to meet this
condition, and the bowl was much smaller. After the Reformation,
however, the development was quite in the other direction, the bowl
being extremely large and deep. In that period they were known
as communion cups. In Sandwich there is a cup which was made over
out of a ciborium; as it quite plainly shows its origin, it is
naïvely inscribed: "This is a Communion Coop." When this change in
the form of the chalice took place, it was provided, by admonition
of the Archbishop, in all cases with a "cover of silver... which
shall serve also for the ministration of the Communion bread." To
make this double use of cover and dish satisfactory, a foot like
a stand was added to the paten.

The communion cup of the Reformation differed from the chalice,
too, in being taller and straighter, with a deep bowl, almost in
the proportions of a flaring tumbler, and a stem with a few close
decorations instead of a knop. The small paten served as a cover
to the cup, as has been mentioned.

It is not always easy to see old church plate where it originally
belonged. On the Scottish border, for instance, there were constant
raids, when the Scots would descend upon the English parish churches,
and bear off the communion plate, and again the English would cross
the border and return the compliment. In old churches, such as the
eleventh century structure at Torpenhow, in Cumberland, the deep
sockets still to be seen in the stone door jambs were intended
to support great beams with which the church had constantly to
be fortified against Scottish invasion. Another reason for the
disappearance of church plate, was the occasional sale of the silver
in order to continue necessary repairs on the fabric. In a church
in Norfolk, there is a record of sale of communion silver and "for
altering of our church and fynnishing of the same according to our
mindes and the parishioners." It goes on to state that the proceeds
were appropriated for putting new glass in the place of certain windows
"wherein were conteined the lives of certain prophane histories,"
and for "paving the king's highway" in the church precincts. At the
time of the Reformation many valuable examples of Church plate were
cast aside by order of the Commissioners, by which "all monuments
of feyned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and superstition," were
to be destroyed. At this time a calf or a sheep might have been seen
browsing in the meadows with a sacring-bell fastened at its neck,
and the pigs refreshed themselves with drinking from holy-water

Croziers of ornate design especially roused the ire of the Puritans.
In Mr. Alfred Maskell's incomparable book on Ivories, he translates
a satirical verse by Guy de Coquille, concerning these objectionable
pastoral staves (which were often made of finely sculptured ivory).

  "The staff of a bishop of days that are old
   Was of wood, and the bishop himself was of gold.
   But a bishop of wood prefers gorgeous array,
   So his staff is of gold in the new fashioned way!"

During the Renaissance especially, goldsmith's work was carried
to great technical perfection, and yet the natural properties of
the metal were frequently lost sight of, and the craftsmen tried
to produce effects such as would be more suitable in stone or
wood,--little architectonic features were introduced, and gold
was frequently made to do the work of other materials. Thus it
lost much of its inherent effectiveness. Too much attention was
given to ingenuity, and not enough to fitness and beauty.


In documents of the fourteenth century, the following list of goldsmiths
is given: Jean de Mantreux was goldsmith to King Jean. Claux de
Friburg was celebrated for a gold statuette of St. John which he
made for the Duke of Normandy. A diadem for this Duke was also
recorded, made by Jean de Piguigny. Hannequin made three golden crowns
for Charles V. Hans Crest was goldsmith to the Duke of Orleans, while
others employed by him were Durosne, of Toulouse, Jean de Bethancourt,
a Flemish goldsmith. In the fifteenth century the names of Jean de
Hasquin, Perrin Manne, and Margerie d'Avignon, were famous.

Artists in the Renaissance were expected to undertake several branches
of their craft. Hear Poussin: "It is impossible to work at the
same time upon frontispieces of books: a Virgin: at the picture
for the congregation of St. Louis, at the designs for the gallery,
and for the king's tapestry! I have only a feeble head, and am
not aided by anyone!"

A goldsmith attached to the Court of King René of Anjou was Jean
Nicolas. René also gave many orders to one Liguier Rabotin, of
Avignon, who made him several cups of solid gold, on a large tray
of the same precious metal. The king often drew his own designs
or such bijoux.

Among the famous men of Italy were several who practised the art of
the goldsmith. Ugolino of Siena constructed the wonderful reliquary
at Orvieto; this, is in shape somewhat similar to the façade of
the cathedral.

Verocchio, the instructor of Leonardo da Vinci, accomplished several
important pieces of jewelery in his youth: cope-buttons and silver
statuettes, chiefly, which were so successful that he determined to
take up the career of a sculptor. Ghirlandajo, as is well known,
was trained as a goldsmith originally, his father having been the
inventor of a pretty fashion then prevailing among young girls of
Florence, and being the maker of those golden garlands worn on
the heads of maidens. The name Ghirlandajo, indeed, was derived
from these garlands (ghirlandes).

Francia began life as a goldsmith, too, and was never in after life
ashamed of his profession, for he often signed his works Francesco
Francia Aurifex. Francia was a very skilful workman in niello,
and in enamels. In fact, to quote the enthusiastic Vasari, "he
executed everything that is most beautiful, and which can be performed
in that art more perfectly than any other master had ever done."
Baccio Baldini, also, was a goldsmith, although a greater portion
of his ability was turned in the direction of engraving. His pupil
Maso Finniguerra, who turned also to engraving, began his career
as a goldsmith.

The great silver altar in the Baptistery in Florence occupied nearly
all the goldsmiths in that city. In 1330 the father of the Orcagnas,
Cione, died; he had worked for some years before that on the altar.
In 1366 the altar was destroyed, but the parts in bas-relief by
Cione were retained and incorporated into the new work, which was
finished in 1478. Ghiberti, Orcagna, Verocchio, and Pollajuolo,
all executed various details of this magnificent monument.

Goldsmiths did not quite change their standing and characteristics
until late in the sixteenth century. About that time it may be said
that the last goldsmith of the old school was Claude Ballin, while
the first jeweller, in the modern acceptation of the word, was Pierre
de Montarsy.

Silver has always been selected for the better household utensils,
not only on account of its beauty, but also because of its ductility,
which is desirable in making larger vessels; its value, too, is
less than that of gold, so that articles which would be quite out
of the reach of most householders, if made in gold, become very
available in silver. Silver is particularly adapted to daily use,
for the necessary washing and polishing which it receives keeps
it in good condition, and there is no danger from poison through
corrosion, as with copper and brass.

In the middle ages the customary pieces of plate in English homes
were basins, bottles, bowls, candlesticks, saucepans, jugs, dishes,
ewers and flagons, and chafing-dishes for warming the hands, which
were undoubtedly needed, when we remember how intense the cold
must have been in those high, bare, ill-ventilated halls! There
were also large cups called hanaps, smaller cups, plates, and
porringers, salt-cellars, spoons, and salvers. Forks were of much
later date.

There are records of several silver basins in the Register of John
of Gaunt, and also in the Inventory of Lord Lisle: one being "a
basin and ewer with arms" and another, "a shaving basin." John of
Gaunt also owned "a silver bowl for the kitchen." If the mediæval
household lacked comforts, it could teach us lessons in luxury
in some other departments! He also had a "pair of silver bottles,
partly gilt, and enamelled, garnished with tissues of silk, white
and blue," and a "casting bottle" for distributing perfume: Silver
candelabra were recorded; these, of course, must have been in constant
service, as the facilities for lighting were largely dependent upon
them. When the Crown was once obliged to ask a loan from the Earl
of Salisbury, in 1432, the Earl received, as earnest of payment,
"two golden candelabra, garnished with pearls and precious stones."

In the Close Roll of Henry III. of England, there is found an
interesting order to a goldsmith: "Edward, son of Eudo, with all
haste, by day and by night, make a cup with a foot for the Queen:
weighing two marks, not more; price twenty marks, against Christmas,
that she may drink from it in that feast: and paint it and enamel it
all over, and in every other way that you can, let it be decently
and beautifully wrought, so that the King, no less than the said
Queen, may be content therewith." All the young princes and princesses
were presented with silver cups, also, as they came to such age as
made the use of them expedient; Lionel and John, sons of Edward
III., were presented with cups "with leather covers for the same,"
when they were one and three years old respectively. In 1423 the
chief justice, Sir William Hankford, gave his great-granddaughter
a baptismal gift of a gilt cup and a diamond ring, together with a
curious testimonial of eight shillings and sixpence to the nurse!

Of dishes, the records are meagre, but there is an amusing entry
among the Lisle papers referring to a couple of "conserve dishes"
for which Lady Lisle expressed a wish. Husee had been ordered to
procure these, but writes, "I can get no conserve dishes... however,
if they be to be had, I will have of them, or it shall cost me hot
water!" A little later he observes, "Towards Christmas day they
shall be made at Bevoys, betwixt Abbeville and Paris."

Flagons were evidently a novelty in 1471, for there is an entry
in the Issue Roll of Edward IV., which mentions "two ollas called
silver flagons for the King." An olla was a Latin term for a jar.
Lord Lisle rejoiced in "a pair of flagons, the gilt sore worn."
Hanaps were more usual, and appear to have been usually in the form
of goblets. They frequently had stands called "tripers." Sometimes
these stands were very ornate, as, for instance, one owned by the
Bishop of Carpentras, "in the shape of a flying dragon, with a
crowned damsel sitting upon a green terrace." Another, belonging
to the Countess of Cambridge, was described as being "in the shape
of a monster, with three buttresses and three bosses of mother of
pearl... and an ewer,... partly enamelled with divers babooneries"--a
delightful expression! Other hanaps were in the forms of swans, oak
trees, white harts, eagles, lions, and the like--probably often
of heraldic significance.

A set of platters was sent from Paris to Richard II., all of gold,
with balas rubies, pearls and sapphires set in them. It is related
of the ancient Frankish king, Chilperic, that he had made a dish of
solid gold, "ornamented all over with precious stones, and weighing
fifty pounds," while Lothaire owned an enormous silver basin bearing
as decoration "the world with the courses of the stars and the

The porringer was a very important article of table use, for pap,
and soft foods such as we should term cereals, and for boiled pudding.
These were all denominated porridge, and were eaten from these vessels.
Soup was doubtless served in them as well. They were numerous in
every household. In the Roll of Henry III. is an item, mentioning
that he had ordered twenty porringers to be made, "like the one
hundred porringers" which had already been ordered!

An interesting pattern of silver cups in Elizabethan times were
the "trussing cups," namely, two goblets of silver, squat in shape
and broad in bowl, which fitted together at the rim, so that one
was inverted as a sort of cover on top of the other when they were
not in use. Drinking cups were sometimes made out of cocoanuts,
mounted in silver, and often of ostrich eggs, similarly treated,
and less frequently of horns hollowed out and set on feet. Mediæval
loving cups were usually named, and frequently for some estates
that belonged to the owner. Cups have been known to bear such names
as "Spang," "Bealchier," and "Crumpuldud," while others bore the
names of the patron saints of their owners.

A kind of cruet is recorded among early French table silver, "a
double necked bottle in divisions, in which to place two kinds
of liquor without mixing them." A curious bit of table silver in
France, also, was the "almsbox," into which each guest was supposed
to put some piece of food, to be given to the poor.

Spoons were very early in their origin; St. Radegond is reported
by a contemporary to have used a spoon, in feeding the blind and
infirm. A quaint book of instructions to children, called "The
Babee's Booke," in 1475, advises by way of table manners:

  "And whenever your potage to you shall be brought,
   Take your sponys and soupe by no way,
   And in your dish leave not your spoon, I pray!"

And a later volume on the same subject, in 1500, commends a proper
respect for the implements of the table:

  "Ne playe with spoone, trencher, ne knife."

Spoons of curious form were evidently made all the way from 1300
to the present day. In an old will, in 1477, mention is made of
spoons "wt leopards hedes printed in the sponself," and in another,
six spoons "wt owles at the end of the handles." Professor Wilson
said, "A plated spoon is a pitiful imposition," and he was right.
If there is one article of table service in which solidity of metal
is of more importance than in another, it is the spoon, which must
perforce come in contact with the lips whenever it is used. In England
the earliest spoons were of about the thirteenth century, and the first
idea of a handle seems to have been a plain shaft ending in a ball or
knob. Gradually spoons began to show more of the decorative instinct
of their designers; acorns, small statuettes, and such devices
terminated the handles, which still retained their slender proportions,
however. Finally it became popular to have images of the Virgin on
individual spoons, which led to the idea, after a bit, of decorating
the dozen with the twelve apostles. These may be seen of all periods,
differently elaborated. Sets of thirteen are occasionally met with,
these having one with the statue of Jesus as the Good Shepherd,
with a lamb on his shoulders: it is known as the "Master spoon."

[Illustration: APOSTLE SPOONS]

The first mention of forks in France is in the Inventory, of Charles
V., in 1379. We hear a great deal about the promiscuous use of
knives before forks were invented; how in the children's book of
instructions they are enjoined "pick not thy teeth with thy knife,"
as if it were a general habit requiring to be checked. Massinger
alludes to a

                                  "silver fork
  To convey an olive neatly to thy mouth,"

but this may apply to pickle forks. Forks were introduced from Italy
into England about 1607.

A curiosity in cutlery is the "musical knife" at the Louvre; the
blade is steel, mounted in parcel gilt, and the handle is of ivory.
On the blade is engraved a few bars of music (arranged for the
bass only), accompanying the words, "What we are about to take
may Trinity in Unity bless. Amen." This is a literal translation.
It indicates that there were probably three other knives in the
set so ornamented, one with the soprano, one alto, and one tenor,
so that four persons sitting down to table together might chant
their "grace" in four-part harmony, having the requisite notes
before them! It was a quaint idea, but quite in keeping with the
taste of the sixteenth century.


The domestic plate of Louis, Duke of Anjou, in 1360, consisted of
over seven hundred pieces, and Charles V. of France had an enormous
treasury of such objects for daily use. Strong rooms and safes were
built during the fourteenth century, for the lodging of the household
valuables.  About this time the Dukes of Burgundy were famous for
their splendid table service. Indeed, the craze for domestic display
in this line became so excessive, that in 1356 King John of France
prohibited the further production of such elaborate pieces, "gold or
silver plate, vases, or silver jewelry, of more than one mark of gold,
or silver, excepting for churches." This edict, however, accomplished
little, and was constantly evaded. Many large pieces of silver made
in the period of the Renaissance were made simply with a view to
standing about as ornaments. Cellini alludes to certain vases which
had been ordered from him, saying that "they are called ewers, and
they are placed upon buffets for the purpose of display."

The salt cellar was always a _piece de resistance_, and stood in
the centre of the table. It was often in the form of a ship in
silver. A book entitled "Ffor to serve a Lorde," in 1500, directs
the "boteler" or "panter," to bring forth the principal salt, and to
"set the saler in the myddys of the table." Persons helped themselves
to salt with "a clene kniffe." The seats of honour were all about
the salt, while those of less degree were at the lower end of the
table, and were designated as "below the salt." The silver ship was
commonly an immense piece of plate, containing the napkin, goblet,
and knife and spoon of the host, besides being the receptacle for
the spices and salt. Through fear of poison, the precaution was
taken of keeping it covered. This ship was often known as the "nef,"
and frequently had a name, as if it were the family yacht! One is
recorded as having been named the "Tyger," while a nef belonging to
the Duke of Orleans was called the "Porquepy," meaning porcupine.
One of the historic salts, in another form, is the "Huntsman's
salt," and is kept at All Soul's College, Oxford. The figure of a
huntsman, bears upon its head a rock crystal box with a lid. About
the feet of this figure are several tiny animals and human beings,
so that it looks as if the intent had been to picture some gigantic
legendary hunter--a sort of Gulliver of the chase.

The table was often furnished also with a fountain, in which
drinking-water was kept, and upon which either stood or hung cups
or goblets. These fountains were often of fantastic shapes, and
usually enamelled. One is described as representing a dragon on
a tree top, and another a castle on a hill, with a convenient tap
at some point for drawing off the water.

The London City Companies are rich in their possessions of valuable
plate. Some of the cups are especially beautiful. The Worshipful
Company of Skinners owns some curious loving cups, emblematic of
the names of the donors. There are five Cockayne Loving Cups, made
in the form of cocks, with their tail feathers spread up to form
the handles. The heads have to be removed for drinking. These cups
were bequeathed by William Cockayne, in 1598. Another cup is in
the form of a peacock, walking with two little chicks of minute
proportions on either side of the parent bird. This is inscribed,
"The gift of Mary the daughter of Richard Robinson, and wife to
Thomas Smith and James Peacock, Skinners." Whether the good lady
were a bigamist or took her husbands in rotation, does not transpire.

An interesting cup is owned by the Vintners in London, called the
Milkmaid. The figure of a milkmaid, in laced bodice, holds above
her head a small cup on pivots, so that it finds its level when
the figure is inverted, as is the case when the cup is used, the
petticoat of the milkmaid forming the real goblet. It is constructed
on the same principle as the German figures of court ladies holding
up cups, which are often seen to-day, made on the old pattern. The
cups in the case of this milkmaid are both filled with wine, and
it is quite difficult to drink from the larger cup without spilling
from the small swinging cup which is then below the other. Every
member is expected to perform this feat as a sort of initiation.
It dates from 1658.

[Illustration: THE "MILKMAID CUP"]

One of the most beautiful Corporation cups is at Norwich, where
it is known as the "Petersen" cup. It is shaped like a very thick
and squat chalice, and around its top is a wide border of decorative
lettering, bearing the inscription, "THE + MOST + HERE + OF. + IS
+ DUNNE + BY + PETER + PETERSON +." This craftsman was a Norwich
silversmith of the sixteenth century, very famous in his day, and
a remarkably chaste designer as well. A beautiful ivory cup twelve
inches high, set in silver gilt, called the Grace Cup, of
Thomas à Becket, is inscribed around the top band, "_Vinum tuum bibe
cum gaudio_." It has a hall-mark of a Lombardic letter H, signifying
the year 1445. It is decorated by cherubs, roses, thistles, and
crosses, relieved with garnets and pearls. On another flat band
is the inscription: "_Sobrii estote_," and on the cover,
in Roman capitals, "_Ferare God_." It is owned by the Howard family,
of Corby.

Tankards were sometimes made of such crude materials as leather
(like the "lether bottel" of history), and of wood. In fact, the
inventory of a certain small church in the year 1566 tells of a
"penny tankard of wood," which was used as a "holy water stock."

An extravagant design, of a period really later than we are supposed
to deal with in this book, is a curious cup at Barber's and Surgeon's
Hall, known as the Royal Oak. It is built to suggest an oak tree,--a
naturalistic trunk, with its roots visible, supporting the cup,
which is in the form of a semi-conventional tree, covered with
leaves, detached acorns swinging free on rings from the sides at

Richard Redgrave called attention to some of the absurdities of
the exotic work of his day in England. "Rachel at a well, under
an imitative palm tree," he remarks, "draws, not water, but ink;
a grotto of oyster shells with children beside it, contains... an
ink vessel; the milk pail on a maiden's head contains, not goat's
milk, as the animal by her side would lead you to suppose, but a

One great secret of good design in metal is to avoid imitating
fragile things in a strong material. The stalk of a flower or leaf,
for instance, if made to do duty in silver to support a heavy cup or
vase, is a very disagreeable thing to contemplate; if the article
were really what it represented, it would break under the strain.
While there should be no deliberate perversion of Nature's forms,
there should be no naturalistic imitation.



We are told that the word "jewel" has come by degrees from Latin,
through French, to its present form; it commenced as a "gaudium"
(joy), and progressed through "jouel" and "joyau" to the familiar
word, as we have it.

The first objects to be made in the form of personal adornment were
necklaces: this may be easily understood, for in certain savage
lands the necklace formed, and still forms, the chief feature in
feminine attire. In this little treatise, however, we cannot deal
with anything so primitive or so early; we must not even take time
to consider the exquisite Greek and Roman jewelry. Amongst the
earliest mediæval jewels we will study the Anglo-Saxon and the

Anglo-Saxon and Irish jewelry is famous for delicate filigree, fine
enamels, and flat garnets used in a very decorative way. Niello
was also employed to some extent. It is easy, in looking from the
Bell of St. Patrick to the Book of Kells, to see how the illuminators
were influenced by the goldsmiths in early times,--in Celtic and
Anglo-Saxon work.

[Illustration: SAXON BROOCH]

The earliest forms of brooches were the annular,--that is, a long
pin with a hinged ring at its head for ornament, and the "penannular,"
or pin with a broken circle at its head. Through the opening in the
circle the pin returns, and then with a twist of the ring, it is
held more firmly in the material. Of these two forms are notable
examples in the Arbutus brooch and the celebrated Tara brooch. The
Tara brooch is a perfect museum in itself of the jeweller's art.
It is ornamented with enamel, with jewels set in silver, amber,
scroll filigree, fine chains, Celtic tracery, moulded glass--nearly
every branch of the art is represented in this one treasure, which
was found quite by accident near Drogheda, in 1850, a landslide
having exposed the buried spot where it had lain for centuries.
As many as seventy-six different kinds of workmanship are to be
detected on this curious relic.

[Illustration: THE TARA BROOCH]

At a great Exhibition at Ironmonger's Hall in 1861
there was shown a leaden fibula, quite a dainty piece of personal
ornament, in Anglo-Saxon taste, decorated with a moulded spiral
meander. It was found in the Thames in 1855, and there are only
three other similar brooches of lead known to exist.

Of the Celtic brooches Scott speaks:

    "...the brooch of burning gold
  That clasps the chieftain's mantle fold,
  Wrought and chased with rare device,
  Studded fair with gems of price."

One of the most remarkable pieces of Celtic jewelled work is the
bell of St. Patrick, which measures over ten inches in height.
This saint is associated with several bells: one, called the Broken
Bell of St. Brigid, he used on his last crusade against the demons
of Ireland; it is said that when he found his adversaries specially
unyielding, he flung the bell with all his might into the thickest
of their ranks, so that they fled precipitately into the sea, leaving
the island free from their aggressions for seven years, seven months,
and seven days.

One of St. Patrick's bells is known, in Celtic, as the "white toned,"
while another is called the "black sounding." This is an early and
curious instance of the sub-conscious association of the qualities
of sound with those of colour. Viollet le Duc tells how a blind man
was asked if he knew what the colour red was. He replied, "Yes:
red is the sound of the trumpet." And the great architect himself,
when a child, was carried by his nurse into the Cathedral of Notre
Dame in Paris, where he cried with terror because he fancied that
the various organ notes which he heard were being hurled at him
by the stained glass windows, each one represented by a different
colour in the glass!


But the most famous bell in connection with St. Patrick is the one
known by his own name and brought with his relics by Columbkille
only sixty years after the saint's death. The outer case is an
exceedingly rich example of Celtic work. On a ground of brass, fine
gold and silver filigree is applied, in curious interlaces and knots,
and it is set with several jewels, some of large size, in green,
blue, and dull red. In the front are two large tallow-cut Irish
diamonds, and a third was apparently set in a place which is now
vacant. On the back of the bell appears a Celtic inscription in most
decorative lettering all about the edge; the literal translation
of this is: "A prayer for Donnell O'Lochlain, through whom this
bell shrine was made; and for Donnell, the successor of Patrick,
with whom it was made; and for Cahalan O'Mulhollan, the keeper of
the bell, and for Cudilig O'Immainen, with his sons, who covered
it." Donald O'Lochlain was monarch of Ireland in 1083. Donald the
successor of Patrick was the Abbot of Armagh, from 1091 to 1105.
The others were evidently the craftsmen who worked on the shrine.
In many interlaces, especially on the sides, there may be traced
intricate patterns formed of serpents, but as nearly all Celtic
work is similarly ornamented, there is probably nothing personal
in their use in connection with the relic of St. Patrick! Patrick
brought quite a bevy of workmen into Ireland about 440: some were
smiths, Mac Cecht, Laebhan, and Fontchan, who were turned at once
upon making of bells, while some other skilled artificers, Fairill
and Tassach, made patens and chalices. St. Bridget, too, had a
famous goldsmith in her train, one Bishop Coula.

The pectoral cross of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne is now to be seen
in Durham. It was buried with the saint, and was discovered with
his body. The four arms are of equal length, and not very heavy in
proportion. It is of gold, made in the seventh century, and is set
with garnets, a very large one in the centre, one somewhat smaller
at the ends of the arms, where the lines widen considerably, and
with smaller ones continuously between.

Among the many jewels which decorated the shrine of Thomas à Becket
at Canterbury was a stone "with an angell of gold poynting thereunto,"
which was a gift from the King of France, who had had it "made
into a ring and wore it on his thumb." Other stones described as
being on this shrine were sumptuous, the whole being damascened
with gold wire, and "in the midst of the gold, rings; or cameos
of sculptured agates, carnelians, and onyx stones." A visitor to
Canterbury in 1500 writes: "Everything is left far behind by a
ruby not larger than a man's thumb nail, which is set to the right
of the altar. The church is rather dark, and when we went to see
it the sun was nearly gone down, and the weather was cloudy, yet
we saw the ruby as well as if it had been in my hand. They say
it was a gift of the King of France."

Possessions of one kind were often converted into another, according
to changing fashions. Philippa of Lancaster had a gold collar made
"out of two bottles and a turret," in 1380.

Mediæval rosaries were generally composed of beads of coral or
carnelian, and often of gold and pearls as well. Marco Polo tells
of a unique rosary worn by the King of Malabar; one hundred and
four large pearls, with occasional rubies of great price, composed
the string. Marco Polo adds: "He has to say one hundred and four
prayers to his idols every morning and evening."

In the possession of the Shah of Persia is a gold casket studded
with emeralds, which is said to have the magic power of rendering
the owner invisible as long as he remains celibate. I fancy that
this is a safe claim, for the tradition is not likely to be put
to the proof in the case of a Shah! Probably there has never been
an opportunity of testing the miraculous powers of the stones.

The inventory of Lord Lisle contains many interesting side lights
on the jewelry of the period: "a hawthorne of gold, with twenty
diamonds;" "a little tower of gold," and "a pair of beads of gold,
with tassels." Filigree or chain work was termed "perry." In old
papers such as inventories, registers, and the like, there are
frequent mentions of buttons of "gold and perry;" in 1372 Aline
Gerbuge received "one little circle of gold and perry, emeralds
and balasses." Clasps and brooches were used much in the fourteenth
century. They were often called "ouches," and were usually of jewelled
gold. One, an image of St. George, was given by the Black Prince to
John of Gaunt. The Duchess of Bretagne had among other brooches one
with a white griffin, a balas ruby on its shoulder, six sapphires
around it, and then six balasses, and twelve groups of pearls with

Brooches were frequently worn by being stuck in the hat. In a curious
letter from James I. to his son, the monarch writes: "I send for
your wearing the Three Brethren" (evidently a group of three stones)
"...but newly set... which I wolde wish you to weare alone in your
hat, with a Littel black feather." To his favourite Buckingham
he also sends a diamond, saying that his son will lend him also
"an anker" in all probability; but he adds: "If my Babee will not
spare the anker from his Mistress, he may well lend thee his round
brooch to weare, and yett he shall have jewels to weare in his
hat for three grate dayes."

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the women wore nets in
their hair, composed of gold threads adorned with pearls. At first
two small long rolls by the temples were confined in these nets:
later, the whole back hair was gathered into a large circular
arrangement. These nets were called frets--"a fret of pearls" was
considered a sufficient legacy for a duchess to leave to her daughter.

In the constant resetting and changing of jewels, many important
mediæval specimens, not to mention exquisite vessels and church
furniture, were melted down and done over by Benvenuto Cellini,
especially at the time that Pope Clement was besieged at the Castle
of St. Angelo.

Probably the most colossal jewel of ancient times was the Peacock
Throne of Delhi. It was in the form of two spread tails of peacocks,
composed entirely of sapphires, emeralds and topazes, feather by
feather and eye by eye, set so as to touch each other. A parrot of
life size carved from a single emerald, stood between the peacocks.

In 1161 the throne of the Emperor in Constantinople is described
by Benjamin of Tudela: "Of gold ornamented with precious stones.
A golden crown hangs over it, suspended on a chain of the same
material, the length of which exactly admits the Emperor to sit
under it. The crown is ornamented with precious stones of inestimable
value. Such is the lustre of these diamonds that even without any
other light, they illumine the room in which they are kept."

The greatest mediæval jeweller was St. Eloi of Limoges. His history
is an interesting one, and his achievement and rise in life was very
remarkable in the period in which he lived. Eloi was a workman in
Limoges, as a youth, under the famous Abho, in the sixth century;
there he learned the craft of a goldsmith. He was such a splendid
artisan that he soon received commissions for extensive works on his
own account. King Clothaire II. ordered from him a golden throne,
and supplied the gold which was to be used. To the astonishment of
all, Eloi presented the king with _two_ golden thrones (although
it is difficult to imagine what a king would do with duplicate
thrones!), and immediately it was noised abroad that the goldsmith
Eloi was possessed of miraculous powers, since, out of gold sufficient
for one throne, he had constructed two. People of a more practical
turn found out that Eloi had learned the art of alloying the gold,
so as to make it do double duty.

A great many examples of St. Eloi's work might have been seen in
France until the Revolution in 1792, especially at the Abbey of St.
Denis. A ring made by him, with which St. Godiberte was married to
Christ, according to the custom of mediæval saints, was preserved at
Noyon until 1793, when it disappeared in the Revolution. The Chronicle
says of Eloi: "He made for the king a great numer of gold vesses
enriched with precious stones, and he worked incessantly, seated
with his servant Thillo, a Saxon by birth, who followed the lessons
of his master." St. Eloi founded two institutions for goldsmithing:
one for the production of domestic and secular plate, and the other
for ecclesiastical work exclusively, so that no worker in profane
lines should handle the sacred vessels. The secular branch was
situated near the dwelling of Eloi, in the Cité itself, and was
known as "St. Eloi's Enclosure." When a fire burned them out of
house and shelter, they removed to a suburban quarter, which soon
became known in its turn, as the "Clôture St. Eloi." The religious
branch of the establishment was presided over by the aforesaid
Thillo, and was the Abbey of Solignac, near Limoges. This school
was inaugurated in 631.

While Eloi was working at the court of King Clothaire II., St. Quen
was there as well. The two youths struck up a close friendship, and
afterwards Ouen became his biographer. His description of Eloi's
personal appearance is worth quoting, to show the sort of figure a
mediæval saint sometimes cut before canonization. "He was tall, with
a ruddy face, his hair and beard curly. His hands well made, and his
fingers long, his face full of angelic sweetness.... At first he
wore habits covered with pearls and precious stones; he had also
belts sewn with pearls. His dress was of linen encrusted with gold,
and the edges of his tunic trimmed with gold embroidery. Indeed, his
clothing was very costly, and some of his dresses were of silk. Such
was his exterior in his first period at court, and he dressed thus
to avoid singularity; but under this garment he wore a rough sack
cloth, and later on, he disposed of all his ornaments to relieve the
distressed; and he might be seen with only a cord round his waist
and common clothes. Sometimes the king, seeing him thus divested of
his rich clothing, would take off his own cloak and girdle and give
them to him, saying: 'It is not suitable that those who dwell for
the world should be richly clad, and that those who despoil
themselves for Christ should be without glory.'"

Among the numerous virtues of St. Eloi was that of a consistent
carrying out of his real beliefs and theories, whether men might
consider him quixotic or not. He was strongly opposed to the institution
of slavery. In those days it would have been futile to preach actual
emancipation. The times were not ripe. But St. Eloi did all that he
could for the cause of freedom by investing most of his money in
slaves, and then setting them at liberty. Sometimes he would "corner"
a whole slave market, buying as many as thirty to a hundred at a
time. Some of these manumitted persons became his own faithful
followers: some entered the religious life, and others devoted their
talents to their benefactor, and worked in his studios for the
furthering of art in the Church.

He once played a trick upon the king. He requested the gift of
a town, in order, as he explained, that he might there build a
ladder by which they might both reach heaven. The king, in the
rather credulous fashion of the times, granted his request, and
waited to see the ladder. St. Eloi promptly built a monastery.
If the monarch did not choose to avail himself of this species of
ladder,--surely it was no fault of the builder!

St. Quen and St. Eloi were consecrated bishops on the same day,
May 14, St. Quen to the Bishopric of Rouen, and Eloi to the See of
Noyon. He made a great hunt for the body of St. Quentin, which had
been unfortunately mislaid, having been buried in the neighbourhood
of Noyon; he turned up every available spot of ground around, within
and beneath the church, until he found a skeleton in a tomb, with
some iron nails. This he proclaimed to be the sacred body, for
the legend was that St. Quentin had been martyred by having nails
driven into his head! Although it was quite evident to others that
these were coffin nails, still St. Eloi insisted upon regarding his
discovery as genuine, and they began diligently to dismember the
remains for distribution among the churches. As they were pulling
one of the teeth, a drop of blood was seen to follow it, which
miracle was hailed by St. Eloi as the one proof wanting. Eloi had
the genuine artistic temperament and his religious zeal was much
influenced by his æsthetic nature. He once preached an excellent
sermon, still preserved, against superstition. He inveighed
particularly against the use of charms and incantations. But he had
his own little streak of superstition in spite of the fact that he
fulminated against it. When he had committed some fault, after
confession, he used to hang bags of relics in his room, and watch
them for a sign of forgiveness. When one of these would turn oily,
or begin to affect the surrounding atmosphere peculiarly, he would
consider it a sign of the forgiveness of heaven. It seems to us
to-day as if he might have looked to his own relic bags before
condemning the ignorant.

St. Eloi died in 659, and was himself distributed to the faithful
in quite a wholesale way. One arm is in Paris. He was canonized
both for his holy life and for his great zeal in art. He was buried
in a silver coffin adorned with gold, and his tomb was said to
work miracles like the shrine of Becket. Indeed, Becket himself
was pretty dressy in the matter of jewels; when he travelled to
Paris, the simple Frenchmen exclaimed: "What a wonderful personage
the King of England must be, if his chancellor can travel in such

There are various legends about St. Eloi. It is told that a certain
horse once behaved in a very obstreperous way while being shod; St.
Eloi calmly cut off the animal's leg, and fixed the shoe quietly
in position, and then replaced the leg, which grew into place again
immediately, to the pardonable astonishment of all beholders, not
to mention the horse.

St. Eloi was also employed to coin the currency of Dagobert and
Clovis II., and examples of these coins may now be seen, as authentic
records of the style of his work. A century after his death the
monasteries which he had founded were still in operation, and
Charlemagne's crown and sword are very possibly the result of St.
Eloi's teachings to his followers.

While the monasteries undoubtedly controlled most of the art education
of the early middle ages, there were also laymen who devoted themselves
to these pursuits. John de Garlande, a famous teacher in the University
of Paris, wrote, in the eleventh century, a "Dictionarius" dealing
with various arts. In this interesting work he describes, the trades
of the moneyers (who controlled the mint), the coining of gold and
silver into currency (for the making of coin in those days was
permitted by individuals), the clasp makers, the makers of cups
or hanaps, jewellers and harness makers, and other artificers.
John de Garlande was English, born about the middle of the twelfth
century, and was educated in Oxford. In the early thirteenth century
he became associated with the University, and when Simon de Montfort
was slain in 1218, at Toulouse, John was at the University of
Toulouse, where he was made So professor, and stayed three years,
returning then to Paris. He died about the middle of the thirteenth
century. He was celebrated chiefly for his Dictionarius, a work on
the various arts and crafts of France, and for a poem "De Triumphis

During the Middle Ages votive crowns were often presented to churches;
among these a few are specially famous. The crowns, studded with
jewels, were suspended before the altar by jewelled chains, and often
a sort of fringe of jewelled letters was hung from the rim, forming
an inscription. The votive crown of King Suinthila, in Madrid, is
among the most ornate of these. It is the finest specimen in the
noted "Treasure of Guerrazzar," which was discovered by peasants
turning up the soil near Toledo; the crowns, of which there were
many, date from about the seventh century, and are sumptuous with
precious stones. The workmanship is not that of a barbarous nation,
though it has the fascinating irregularities of the Byzantine style.

Of the delightful work of the fifth and sixth centuries there are
scarcely any examples in Italy. The so-called Iron Crown of Monza
is one of the few early Lombard treasures. This crown has within
it a narrow band of iron, said to be a nail of the True Cross;
but the crown, as it meets the eye, is anything but iron, being
one of the most superb specimens of jewelled golden workmanship,
as fine as those in the Treasure of Guerrazzar.


The crown of King Alfred the Great is mentioned in an old inventory
as being of "gould wire worke, sett with slight stones, and two
little bells." A diadem is described by William of Malmsbury, "so
precious with jewels, that the splendour... threw sparks of light
so strongly on the beholder, that the more steadfastly any person
endeavoured to gaze, so much the more he was dazzled, and compelled
to avert the eyes!" In 1382 a circlet crown was purchased for Queen
Anne of Bohemia, being set with a large sapphire, a balas, and four
large pearls with a diamond in the centre.

The Cathedral at Amiens owns what is supposed to be the head of
John the Baptist, enshrined in a gilt cup of silver, and with bands
of jewelled work. The head is set upon a platter of gilded and
jewelled silver, covered with a disc of rock crystal. The whole,
though ancient, is enclosed in a modern shrine. The legend of the
preservation of the Baptist's head is that Herodias, afraid that
the saint might be miraculously restored to life if his head and
body were laid in the same grave, decided to hide the head until
this danger was past. Furtively, she concealed the relic for a time,
and then it was buried in Herod's palace. It was there opportunely
discovered by some monks in the fourth century. This "invention of
the head" (the word being interpreted according to the credulity of
the reader) resulted in its removal to Emesa, where it was exhibited
in 453. In 753 Marcellus, the Abbot of Emesa, had a vision by means
of which he re-discovered (or re-invented) the head, which had in
some way been lost sight of. Following the guidance of his dream,
he repaired to a grotto, and proceeded to exhume the long-suffering
relic. After many other similar and rather disconnected episodes,
it finally came into possession of the Bishop of Amiens in 1206.

A great calamity in early times was the loss of all the valuables
of King John of England. Between Lincolnshire and Norfolk the royal
cortège was crossing the Wash: the jewels were all swept away.
Crown and all were thus lost, in 1216.

Several crowns have been through vicissitudes. When Richard III.
died, on Bosworth Field, his crown was secured by a soldier and
hidden in a bush. Sir Reginald de Bray discovered it, and restored
it to its rightful place. But to balance such cases several of the
queens have brought to the national treasury their own crowns.
In 1340 Edward III. pawned even the queen's jewels to raise money
for fighting France.

The same inventory makes mention of certain treasures deposited
at Westminster: the values are attached to each of these, crowns,
plates, bracelets, and so forth. Also, with commendable zeal, a
list was kept of other articles stored in an iron chest, among which
are the items, "one liver coloured silk robe, very old, and worth
nothing," and "an old combe of horne, worth nothing." A frivolous
scene is described by Wood, when the notorious Republican, Marten,
had access to the treasure stored in Westminster. Some of the wits
of the period assembled in the treasury, and took out of the iron
chest several of its jewels, a crown, sceptre, and robes; these
they put upon the merry poet, George Withers, "who, being thus
crowned and royally arrayed, first marched about the room with a
stately gait, and afterwards, with a thousand ridiculous and apish
actions, exposed the sacred ornaments to contempt and laughter."
No doubt the "olde comb" played a suitable part in these
pranks,--perhaps it may even have served as orchestra.

One Sir Henry Mildmay, in 1649, was responsible for dreadful vandalism,
under the Puritan régime. Among other acts which he countenanced was
the destruction and sale of the wonderful Crown of King Alfred,
to which allusion has just been made. In the Will of the Earl of
Pembroke, in 1650, is this clause showing how unpopular Sir Henry
had become: "Because I threatened Sir Henry Mildmay, but did not
beat him, I give £50 to the footman who cudgelled him. Item, my
will is that the said Sir Harry shall not meddle with my jewels. I
knew him... when he handled the Crown jewels,... for which reason
I now name him the Knave of Diamonds."

Jewelled arms and trappings became very rich in the fifteenth century.
Pius II. writes of the German armour: "What shall I say of the
neck chains of the men, and the bridles of the horses, which are
made of the purest gold; and of the spears and scabbards which are
covered with jewels?" Spurs were also set with jewels, and often
damascened with gold, and ornamented with appropriate mottoes.

An inventory of the jewelled cups and reliquaries of Queen Jeanne
of Navarre, about 1570, reads like a museum. She had various gold
and jewelled dishes for banquets; one jewel is described as "Item,
a demoiselle of gold, represented as riding upon a horse, of mother
of pearl, standing upon a platform of gold, enriched with ten rubies,
six turquoises and three fine pearls." Another item is, "A fine rock
crystal set in gold, enriched with three rubies, three emeralds,
and a large sapphire, set transparently, the whole suspended from
a small gold chain."

It is time now to speak of the actual precious stones themselves,
which apart from their various settings are, after all, the real
jewels. According to Cellini there are only four precious stones:
he says they are made "by the four elements," ruby by fire, sapphire
by air, emerald by earth, and diamond by water. It irritated him
to have any one claim others as precious stones. "I have a thing
or two to say," he remarks, "in order not to scandalize a certain
class of men who call themselves jewellers, but may be better likened
to hucksters, or linen drapers, pawn brokers, or grocers... with a
maximum of credit and a minimum of brains... these dunderheads...
wag their arrogant tongues at me and cry, 'How about the chrysophrase,
or the jacynth, how about the aqua marine, nay more, how about the
garnet, the vermeil, the crysolite, the plasura, the amethyst?
Ain't these all stones and all different?' Yes, and why the devil
don't you add pearls, too, among the jewels, ain't they fish bones?"
Thus he classes the stones together, adding that the balas, though
light in colour, is a ruby, and the topaz a sapphire. "It is of the
same hardness, and though of a different colour, must be classified
with the sapphire: what better classification do you want? hasn't
the air got its sun?"

Cellini always set the coloured stones in a bezel or closed box
of gold, with a foil behind them. He tells an amusing story of
a ruby which he once set on a bit of frayed silk instead of on
the customary foil. The result happened to be most brilliant. The
jewellers asked him what kind of foil he had used, and he replied
that he had employed no foil. Then they exclaimed that he must have
tinted it, which was against all laws of jewelry. Again Benvenuto
swore that he had neither used foil, nor had he done anything forbidden
or unprofessional to the stone. "At this the jeweller got a little
nasty, and used strong language," says Cellini. They then offered
to pay well for the information if Cellini would inform them by what
means he had obtained so remarkably a lustre. Benvenuto, expressing
himself indifferent to pay, but "much honoured in thus being able to
teach his teachers," opened the setting and displayed his secret,
and all parted excellent friends.

Even so early as the thirteenth century, the jewellers of Paris had
become notorious for producing artificial jewels. Among their laws
was one which stipulated that "the jeweller was not to dye the
amethyst, or other false stones, nor mount them in gold leaf nor other
colour, nor mix them with rubies, emeralds, or other precious stones,
except as a crystal simply without mounting or dyeing."

One day Cellini had found a ruby which he believed to be set
dishonestly, that is, a very pale stone with a thick coating of
dragon's blood smeared on its back. When he took it to some of
his favourite "dunderheads," they were sure that he was mistaken,
saying that it had been set by a noted jeweller, and could not be
an imposition. So Benvenuto immediately removed the stone from
its setting, thereby exposing the fraud. "Then might that ruby have
been likened to the crow which tricked itself out in the feathers
of the peacock," observes Cellini, adding that he advised these
"old fossils in the art" to provide themselves with better eyes
than they then _wore_. "I could not resist saying this," chuckles
Benvenuto, "because all three of them wore great gig-lamps on their
noses; whereupon they all three gasped at each other, shrugged
their shoulders, and with God's blessing, made off." Cellini tells
of a Milanese jeweller who concocted a great emerald, by applying a
very thin layer of the real stone upon a large bit of green glass:
he says that the King of England bought it, and that the fraud
was not discovered for many years.

A commission was once given Cellini to make a magnificent crucifix
for a gift from the Pope to Emperor Charles V., but, as he expresses
it, "I was hindered from finishing it by certain beasts who had the
vantage of the Pope's ear," but when these evil whisperers had so
"gammoned the Pope," that he was dissuaded from the crucifix, the
Pope ordered Cellini to make a magnificent Breviary instead, so
that the "job" still remained in his hands.

Giovanni Pisano made some translucid enamels for the decorations of
the high altar in Florence, and also a jewelled clasp to embellish
the robe of a statue of the Virgin.

Ghiberti was not above turning his attention to goldsmithing, and
in 1428 made a seal for Giovanni de Medici, a cope-button and mitre
for Pope Martin V., and a gold nutre with precious stones weighing
five and a half pounds, for Pope Eugene IV.

Diamonds were originally cut two at a time, one cutting the other,
whence has sprung the adage, "diamond cut diamond." Cutting in
facets was thus the natural treatment of this gem. The practise
originated in India. Two diamonds rubbing against each other
systematically will in time form a facet on each. In 1475 it was
discovered by Louis de Berghem that diamonds could be cut by their
own dust.

It is an interesting fact in connection with the Kohinoor that
in India there had always been a legend that its owner should be
the ruler of India. Probably the ancient Hindoos among whom this
legend developed would be astonished to know that, although the
great stone is now the property of the English, the tradition is
still unbroken!

Marco Polo alludes to the treasures brought from the
Isle of Ormus, as "spices, pearls, precious stones, cloth of gold
and silver, elephant's teeth, and all other precious things from
India." In Balaxiam he says are found "ballasses and other precious
stones of great value. No man, on pain of death, dare either dig
such stones or carry them out of the country, for all those stones
are the King's. Other mountains also in this province yield stones
called lapis lazuli, whereof the best azure is made. The like is
not found in the world. These mines also yield silver, brass, and
lead." He speaks of the natives as wearing gold and silver earrings,
"with pearls and-other stones artificially wrought in them." In
a certain river, too, are found jasper and chalcedons.

Marco Polo's account of how diamonds are obtained is ingenuous
in its reckless defiance of fact. He says that in the mountains
"there are certain great deep valleys to the bottom of which there
is no access. Wherefore the men who go in search of the diamonds
take with them pieces of meat," which they throw into this deep
valley. He relates that the eagles, when they see these pieces of
meat, fly down and get them, and when they return, they settle on
the higher rocks, when the men raise a shout, and drive them off.
After the eagles have thus been driven away, "the men recover the
pieces of meat, and find them full of diamonds, which have stuck to
them. For the abundance of diamonds down in the depths," continues
Marco Polo, naïvely "is astonishing; but nobody can get down, and
if one could, it would be only to be incontinently devoured
by the serpents which are so rife there." A further account proceeds
thus: "The diamonds are so scattered and dispersed in the earth,
and lie so thin, that in the most plentiful mines it is rare to
find one in digging;... they are frequently enclosed in clods,...
some... have the earth so fixed about them that till they grind
them on a rough stone with sand, they cannot move it sufficiently
to discover they are transparent or... to know them from other
stones. At the first opening of the mine, the unskilful labourers
sometimes, to try what they have found, lay them on a great stone,
and, striking them one with another, to their costly experience,
discover that they have broken a diamond.... They fill a cistern
with water, soaking therein as much of the earth they dig out of
the mine as it can hold at one time, breaking the clods, picking
out the great stones, and stirring it with shovels... then they
open a vent, letting out the foul water, and supply it with clean,
till the earthy substance be all washed away, and only the gravelly
one remains at the bottom." A process of sifting and drying is then
described, and the gravel is all spread out to be examined, "they
never examine the stuff they have washed but between the hours of
ten and three, lest any cloud, by interposing, intercept the brisk
beams of the sun, which they hold very necessary to assist them
in their search, the diamonds constantly reflecting them when they
shine on them, rendering themselves thereby the more conspicuous."

The earliest diamond-cutter is frequently mentioned as Louis de
Berquem de Bruges, in 1476. But Laborde finds earlier records of
the art of cutting this gem: there was in Paris a diamond-cutter
named Herman, in 1407. The diamond cutters of Paris were quite
numerous in that year, and lived in a special district known as "la
Courarie, where reside the workers in diamonds and other stones."

Finger rings almost deserve a history to themselves, for their
forms and styles are legion. Rings were often made of glass in the
eleventh century. Theophilus tells in a graphic and interesting
manner how they were constructed. He recommends the use of a bar
of iron, as thick as one's finger, set in a wooden handle, "as a
lance is joined in its pike." There should also be a large piece
of wood, at the worker's right hand, "the thickness of an arm,
dug into the ground, and reaching to the top of the window." On
the left of the furnace a little clay trench is to be provided.
"Then, the glass being cooked," one is admonished to take the little
iron in the wooden handle, dip it into the molten glass, and pick
up a small portion, and "prick it into the wood, that the glass
may be pierced through, and instantly warm it in the flame, and
strike it twice upon the wood, that the glass may be dilated, and
with quickness revolve your hand with the same iron;" when the
ring is thus formed, it is to be quickly thrown into the trench.
Theophilus adds, "If you wish to vary your rings with other colours...
take... glass of another colour, surrounding the glass of the ring
with it in the manner of a thread... you can also place upon the
ring glass of another kind, as a gem, and warm it in the fire that
it may adhere." One can almost see these rings from this accurate
description of their manufacture.

The old Coronation Ring, "the wedding ring of England," was a gold
ring with a single fine balas ruby; the pious tradition had it
that this ring was given to Edward the Confessor by a beggar, who
was really St. John the Evangelist in masquerade! The palace where
this unique event occurred was thereupon named Have-ring-at-Bower.
The Stuart kings all wore this ring and until it came to George
IV., with other Stuart bequests, it never left the royal Stuart

Edward I. owned a sapphire ring made by St. Dunstan. Dunstan was
an industrious art spirit, being reported by William of Malmsbury
as "taking great delight in music, painting, and engraving." In
the "Ancren Riwle," a book of directions for the cloistered life
of women, nuns are forbidden to wear "ne ring ne brooche," and
to deny themselves other personal adornments.

Archbishops seem to have possessed numerous rings in ancient times.
In the romance of "Sir Degrevant" a couplet alludes to:

   "Archbishops with rings
    More than fifteen."

Episcopal rings were originally made of sapphires, said to be typical
of the cold austerity of the life of the wearer. Later, however,
the carbuncle became a favourite, which was supposed to suggest fiery
zeal for the faith. Perhaps the compromise of the customary amethyst,
which is now most popularly used, for Episcopal rings, being a
combination of the blue and the red, may typify a blending of more
human qualities!

[Illustration: HEBREW RING]

In an old will of 1529, a ring was left as a bequest to a relative,
described as "a table diamond set with black aniell, meate for my
little finger."

The accompanying illustration represents a Hebrew ring, surmounted
by a little mosque, and having the inscription "Mazul Toub" (God
be with you, or Good luck to you).

It was the custom in Elizabethan times to wear "posie rings" (or
poesie rings) in which inscriptions were cut, such as, "Let likinge
Laste," "Remember the ? that is in pain," or, "God saw fit this
knot to knit," and the like. These posie rings are so called
because of the little poetical sentiments associated with them.
They were often used as engagement rings, and sometimes as wedding
rings. In an old Saxon ring is the inscription, "Eanred made me and
Ethred owns me." One of the mottoes in an old ring is pathetic;
evidently it was worn by an invalid, who was trying to be patient,
"Quant Dieu Plera melior sera." (When it shall please God, I shall
be better.) And in a small ring set with a tiny diamond, "This
sparke shall grow." An agreeable and favourite "posie" was

   "The love is true
    That I O U."

A motto in a ring owned by Lady Cathcart was inscribed on the occasion
of her fourth marriage; with laudable ambition, she observes,

   "If I survive,
    I will have five."

It is to these "posie rings" that Shakespeare has reference when
he makes Jaques say to Orlando: "You are full of pretty answers:
have you not been acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conned
them out of rings?"

In the Isle of Man there was once a law that any girl who had been
wronged by a man had the right to redress herself in one of three
ways: she was given a sword, a rope and a ring, and she could decide
whether she would behead him, hang him, or marry him. Tradition
states that the ring was almost invariably the weapon chosen by
the lady.

Superstition has ordained that certain stones should cure certain
evils: the blood-stone was of very general efficacy, it was claimed,
and the opal, when folded in a bay leaf, had the power of rendering
the owner invisible. Some stones, especially the turquoise, turned
pale or became deeper in hue according to the state of the owner's
health; the owner of a diamond was invincible; the possession of an
agate made a man amiable, and eloquent. Whoever wore an amethyst
was proof against intoxication, while a jacynth superinduced sleep
in cases of insomnia. Bed linen was often embroidered, and set with
bits of jacynth, and there is even a record of diamonds having
been used in the decoration of sheets! Another entertaining instance
of credulity was the use of "cramp rings." These were rings blessed
by the queen, and supposed to cure all manner of cramps, just as the
king's touch was supposed to cure scrofula. When a queen died, the
demand for these rings became a panic: no more could be produced,
until a new queen was crowned. After the beheading of Anne Boleyn,
Husee writes to his patroness: "Your ladyship shall receive of this
bearer nine cramp rings of silver. John Williams says he never
had so few of gold as this year!"

A stone engraved with the figure of a hare was believed to be valuable
in exorcising the devil. That of a dog preserved the owner from
"dropsy or pestilence;" a versatile ring indeed! An old French book
speaks of an engraved stone with the image of Pegasus being particularly
healthful for warriors; it was said to give them "boldness and swiftness
in flight." These two virtues sound a trifle incompatible!

The turquoise was supposed to be especially sympathetic. According
to Dr. Donne:

   "A compassionate turquoise, that cloth tell
    By looking pale, the owner is not well,"

must have been a very sensitive stone.

There was a physician in the fourth century who was famous for his
cures of colic and biliousness by means of an iron ring engraved
with an exorcism requesting the bile to go and take possession of
a bird! There was also a superstition that fits could be cured
by a ring made of "sacrament money." The sufferer was obliged to
stand at the church door, begging a penny from every unmarried
man who passed in or out; this was given to a silversmith, who
exchanged it at the cathedral for "sacrament money," out of which
he made a ring. If this ring was worn by the afflicted person,
the seizures were said to cease.

The superstition concerning the jewel in the toad's head was a
strangely persistent one: it is difficult to imagine what real
foundation there could ever have been for the idea. An old writer
gives directions for getting this stone, which the toad in his life
time seems to have guarded most carefully. "A rare good way to get
the stone out of a toad," he says, "is to put a... toad... into
an earthen pot: put the same into an ant's hillocke, and cover
the same with earth, which toad... the ants will eat, so that the
bones... and stone will be left in the pot." Boethius once stayed
up all night watching a toad in the hope that it might relinquish
its treasure; but he complained that nothing resulted "to gratify
the great pangs of his whole night's restlessness."

An old Irish legend says that "the stone Adamant in the land of
India grows no colder in any wind or snow or ice; there is no heat
in it under burning sods" (this is such an Hibernian touch! The
peat fuel was the Celtic idea of a heating system), "nothing is
broken from it by striking of axes and hammers; there is one thing
only breaks that stone, the blood of the Lamb at the Mass; and
every king that has taken that stone in his right hand before going
into battle, has always gained the victory." There is also a
superstition regarding the stone Hibien, which is said to flame
like a fiery candle in the darkness, "it spills out poison before
it in a vessel; every snake that comes near to it or crosses it
dies on the moment." Another stone revered in Irish legend is the
Stone of Istien, which is found "in the brains of dragons after
their deaths," and a still more capable jewel seems to be the Stone
of Fanes, within which it is claimed that the sun, moon, and twelve
stars are to be seen. "In the hearts of the dragons it is always
found that make their journey under the sea. No one having it in
his hand can tell any lie until he has put it from him; no race or
army could bring it into a house where there is one that has made
way with his father. At the hour of matins it gives out sweet music
that there is not the like of under heaven."

Bartholomew, the mediæval scientist, tells narratives of the magical
action of the sapphire. "The sapphire is a precious stone," he
says, "and is blue in colour, most like to heaven in fair weather
and clear, and is best among precious stones, and most apt and able
to fingers of kings. And if thou put an addercop in a box, and
hold a very sapphire of India at the mouth of the box any while,
by virtue thereof the addercop is overcome and dieth, as it were
suddenly. And this same I have seen proved oft in many and divers
places." Possibly the fact that the addercop is so infrequent an
invader of our modern life accounts for the fact that we are left
inert upon reading so surprising a statement; or possibly our
incredulity dominates our awe.

The art of the lapidary, or science of glyptics, is a most interesting
study, and it would be a mistake not to consider it for a few moments
on its technical side. It is very ancient as an art. In Ecclesiasticus
the wise Son of Sirach alludes to craftsmen "that cut and grave
seals, and are diligent to make great variety, and give themselves
to counterfeit imagery, and watch to finish a work."

Theophilus on glyptics is too delightfully naïve for us to resist
quoting his remarks. "Crystal," he announces, "which is water hardened
into ice, and the ice of great age hardened into stone, is trimmed
and polished in this manner." He then directs the use of sandstone
and emery, chiefly used by rubbing, as one might infer, to polish the
stones, probably _en cabochon_ as was the method in his time; this
style of finish on a gem was called "tallow cutting." But when one
wishes to sculp crystal, Theophilus informs one: "Take a goat of two
or three years... make an opening between his breast and stomach, in
the position of the heart, and lay in the crystal, so that it may lie
in its blood until it grow warm... cut what you please in it as long
as the heat lasts." Just how many goats were required to the finishing
of a sculptured crystal would be determined by the elaboration of
the design! Unfortunately Animal Rescue Leagues had not invaded
the monasteries of the eleventh century.

In sculpturing glass, the ingenuous Theophilus is quite at his best.
"Artists!" he exclaims, "who wish to engrave glass in a beautiful
manner, I now can teach you, as I have myself made trial. I have
sought the gross worms which the plough turns up in the ground,
and the art necessary in these things also bid me procure vinegar,
and the warm blood of a lusty goat, which I was careful to place
under the roof for a short time, bound with a strong ivy plant.
After this I infused the worms and vinegar with the warm blood and
I anointed the whole clearly shining vessel; which being done, I
essayed to sculp the glass with the hard stone called the Pyrites."
What a pity good Theophilus had not begun with the pyrites, when
he would probably have made the further discovery that his worms
and goats could have been spared.

In the polishing of precious stones, he is quite sane in his directions.
"Procure a marble slab, very smooth," he enjoins, "and act as useful
art points out to you." In other words, rub it until it is smooth!

Bartholomew Anglicus is as entertaining as Theophilus regarding
crystal. "Men trowe that it is of snow or ice made hard in many
years," he observes complacently. "This stone set in the sun taketh
fire, insomuch if dry tow be put thereto, it setteth the tow on
fire," and again, quoting Gregory on Ezekiel I., he adds, "water
is of itself fleeting, but by strength of cold it is turned and
made stedfast crystal."

Of small specimens of sculptured crystal some little dark purple
beads carved into the semblance of human faces may be seen on the
Tara brooch; while also on the same brooch occur little purple

The Cup of the Ptolemies, a celebrated onyx cup in Paris, is over
fifteen inches in circumference, and is a fine specimen of early
lapidary's work. It was presented in the ninth century by Charles
the Bald to St. Denis, and was always used to contain the consecrated
wine when Queens of France were crowned. Henry II. once pawned
it to a Jew when he was hard up, and in 1804 it was stolen and
the old gold and jewelled setting removed. It was found again in
Holland, and was remounted within a century.

In the Treasury of St. Mark's in Venice are many valuable examples
of carved stones, made into cups, flagons, and the like. These were
brought from Constantinople in 1204, when the city was captured
by the Venetians. Constantinople was the only place where glyptics
were understood and practised upon large hard stones in the early
Middle Ages. The Greek artists who took refuge in Italy at that time
brought the art with them. There are thirty-two of these Byzantine
chalices in St. Mark's. Usually the mountings are of gold, and precious
stones. There are also two beautiful cruets of agate, elaborately
ornamented, but carved in curious curving forms requiring skill
of a superior order. Two other rock crystal cruets are superbly
carved, probably by Oriental workmen, however, as they are not
Byzantine in their decorations. One of them was originally a vase,
and, indeed, is still, for the long gold neck has no connection
with the inside; the handle is also of gold, both these adjuncts
seem to have been regarded as simply ornament. The other cruet is
carved elaborately with leopards, the first and taller one showing
monsters and foliate forms. Around the neck of the lower of these
rock crystal cruets is an inscription, praying for God's blessing
on the "Imam Aziz Billah," who was reigning in Egypt in 980. This
cruet has a gold stand. The handle is cleverly cut in the same
piece of crystal, but a band of gold is carried down it to give it
extra strength. The forming of this handle in connection with the
rest of the work is a veritable _tour de force_, and we should have
grave doubts whether Theophilus with his goats could have managed


Vasari speaks with characteristic enthusiasm of the glyptics of
the Greeks, "whose works in that manner may be called divine."
But, as he continues, "many and very many years passed over during
which the art was lost".... until in the days of Lorenzo di Medici
the fashion for cameos and intaglios revived.

In the Guild of the Masters of Wood and Stone in Florence, the
cameo-cutters found a place, nevertheless it seems fitting to include
them at this point among jewellers, instead of among carvers.

The Italians certainly succeeded in performing feats of lapidary
art at a later period. Vasari mentions two cups ordered by Duke
Cosmo, one cut out of a piece of lapis lazuli, and the other from
an enormous heliotrope, and a crystal galley with gold rigging
was made by the Sanachi brothers. In the Green Vaults in Dresden
may be seen numerous specimens of valuable but hideous products
of this class. In the seventeenth century, the art had run its
course, and gave place to a taste for cameos, which in its turn
was run into the ground.

Cameo-cutting and gem engraving has always been accomplished partly
by means of a drill; the deepest point to be reached in the cutting
would be punctured first, and then the surfaces cut, chipped, and
ground away until the desired level was attained. This is on much
the same principle as that adopted by marble cutters to-day.

Mr. Cyril Davenport's definition of a cameo is quite satisfactory:
"A small sculpture executed in low relief upon some substance precious
either for its beauty, rarity, or hardness." Cameos are usually
cut in onyx, the different layers and stratifications of colour
being cut away at different depths, so that the sculpture appears
to be rendered in one colour on another, and sometimes three or
four layers are recognized, so that a shaded effect is obtained.
Certain pearly shells are sometimes used for cameo cutting; these
were popular in Italy in the fifteenth century. In Greece and Rome
the art of cameo cutting was brought to astonishing perfection, the
sardonyx being frequently used, and often cut in five different
coloured layers. An enormous antique cameo, measuring over nine
inches across, may be seen in Vienna; it represents the Apotheosis
of Augustus, and the scene is cut in two rows of spirited figures.
It dates from the first century A. D. It is in dark brown and white.

Among the treasures of the art-loving Henry III. was a "great cameo,"
in a golden case; it was worth two hundred pounds. This cameo was
supposed to compete with a celebrated work at Ste. Chapelle in Paris,
which had been brought by Emperor Baldwin II. from Constantinople.


In Paris was a flourishing guild, the "Lapidaries, Jewel Cutters,
and Engravers of Cameos and Hard Stones," in the thirteenth century;
glass cutters were included in this body for a time, but after 1584
the revised laws did not permit of any imitative work, so glass
cutters were no longer allowed to join the society. The French work
was rather coarse compared with the classic examples.

The celebrated Portland Vase is a glass cameo, of enormous proportions,
and a work of the first century, in blue and white. There is a
quaint legend connected with the famous stone cameo known as the
Vase of St. Martin, which is as follows: when St. Martin visited
the Martyr's Field at Agaune, he prayed for some time, and then
stuck his knife into the ground, and was excusably astonished at
seeing blood flow forth. Recognizing at once that he was in the
presence of the miraculous (which was almost second nature to mediæval
saints), he began sedulously to collect the precious fluid in a
couple of receptacles with which he had had the foresight to provide
himself. The two vases, however, were soon filled, and yet the
mystical ruby spring continued. At his wit's ends, he prayed again
for guidance, and presently an angel descended, with a vase of
fine cameo workmanship, in which the remainder of the sacred fluid
was preserved. This vase is an onyx, beautifully cut, with fine
figures, and is over eight inches high, mounted at foot and collar
with Byzantine gold and jewelled work. The subject appears to be
an episode during the Siege of Troy,--a whimsical selection of
design for an angel.

Some apparently mediæval cameos are in reality antiques recut with
Christian characters. A Hercules could easily be turned into a
David, while Perseus and Medusa could be transformed quickly into
a David and Goliath. There are two examples of cameos of the Virgin
which had commenced their careers, one as a Leda, and the other as
Venus! While a St. John had originally figured as Jupiter with his

In the Renaissance there was great revival of all branches of gem
cutting, and cameos began to improve, and to resemble once more
their classical ancestors. Indeed, their resemblance was rather
academic, and there was little originality in design. Like most of
the Renaissance arts, it was a reversion instead of a new creation.
Technically, however, the work was a triumph. The craftsmen were
not satisfied until they had quite outdone the ancients, and they
felt obliged to increase the depth of the cutting, in order to show
how cleverly they could coerce the material; they even under-cut
in some cases. During the Medicean period of Italian art, cameos
were cut in most fantastic forms; sometimes a negro head would
be introduced simply to exhibit a dark stratum in the onyx, and
was quite without beauty. One of the Florentine lapidaries was
known as Giovanni of the Carnelians, and another as Domenico of
the Cameos. This latter carved a portrait of Ludovico il Moro on
a red balas ruby, in intaglio. Nicolo Avanzi is reported as having
carved a lapis lazuli "three fingers broad" into the scene of the
Nativity. Matteo dal Nassaro, a son of a shoemaker in Verona, developed
extraordinary talent in gem cutting.

An exotic production is a crucifix cut in a blood-stone by Matteo
del Nassaro, where the artist has so utilized the possibilities of
this stone that he has made the red patches to come in suitable
places to portray drops of blood. Matteo worked also in Paris, in
1531, where he formed a school and craft shop, and where he was
afterwards made Engraver of the Mint.

Vasari tells of an ingenious piece of work by Matteo, where he
has carved a chalcedony into a head of Dejanira, with the skin of
the lion about it. He says, "In the stone there was a vein of red
colour, and here the artist has made the skin turn over... and he
has represented this skin with such exactitude that the spectator
imagines himself to behold it newly torn from the animal! Of another
mark he has availed himself, for the hair, and the white parts
he has taken for the face and breast." Matteo was an independent
spirit: when a baron once tried to beat him down in his price for a
gem, he refused to take a small sum for it, but asked the baron to
accept it as a gift. When this offer was refused, and the nobleman
insisted upon giving a low price, Matteo deliberately took his
hammer and shattered the cameo into pieces at a single blow. His
must have been an unhappy life. Vasari says that he "took a wife in
France and became the father of children, but they were so entirely
dissimilar to himself, that he had but little satisfaction from

Another famous lapidary was Valerio Vicentino, who carved a set
of crystals which were made into a casket for Pope Clement VII.,
while for Paul III. he made a carved crystal cross and chandelier.

Vasari reserves his highest commendation for Casati, called "el
Greco," "by whom every other artist is surpassed in the grace and
perfection as well as in the universality of his productions."...
"Nay, Michelangelo himself, looking at them one day while Giovanni
Vasari was present, remarked that the hour for the death of the
art had arrived, for it was not possible that better work could
be seen!" Michelangelo proved a prophet, in this case surely, for
the decadence followed swiftly.



"Oh, thou discreetest of readers," says Benvenuto Cellini, "marvel
not that I have given so much time to writing about all this," and
we feel like making the same apology for devoting a whole chapter
to enamel; but this branch of the goldsmith's art has so many
subdivisions, that it cries for space.

The word Enamel is derived from various sources. The Greek language
has contributed "maltha," to melt; the German "schmeltz," the old
French "esmail," and the Italian "smalta," all meaning about the
same thing, and suggesting the one quality which is inseparable
from enamel of all nations and of all ages,--its fusibility. For
it is always employed in a fluid state, and always must be.

Enamel is a type of glass product reduced to powder, and then melted
by fervent heat into a liquid condition, which, when it has hardened,
returns to its vitreous state.

Enamel has been used from very early times. The first allusion to
it is by Philostratus, in the year 200 A. D., where he described
the process as applied to the armour of his day. "The barbarians
of the regions of the ocean," he writes, "are skilled in fusing
colours on heated brass, which become as hard as stone, and render
the ornament thus produced durable."

Enamels have special characteristics in different periods: in the late
tenth century, of Byzantium and Germany; in the eleventh century, of
Italy; while most of the later work owes its leading characteristics
to the French, although it continued to be produced in the other

It helps one to understand the differences and similarities in
enamelled work, to observe the three general forms in which it is
employed; these are, the cloisonné, the champlevé, and the painted
enamel. There are many subdivisions of these classifications, but
for our purpose these three will suffice.

In cloisonné, the only manner known to the Greek, Anglo-Saxon, and
Celtic craftsmen, the pattern is made upon a gold ground, by little
upright wire lines, like filigree, the enamel is fused into all the
little compartments thus formed, each bit being one clear colour,
on the principle of a mosaic. The colours were always rather clear
and crude, but are the more sincere and decorative on this account,
the worker recognizing frankly the limitation of the material; and
the gold outline harmonizes the whole, as it does in any form of
art work. A cloisonné enamel is practically a mosaic, in which the
separations consist of narrow bands of metal instead of plaster.
The enamel was applied in its powdered state on the gold, and then
fused all together in the furnace.


Champlevé enamel has somewhat the same effect as the cloisonné,
but the end is attained by different means. The outline is left in
metal, and the whole background is cut away and sunk, thus making
the hollow chambers for the vitreous paste, in one piece, instead of
by means of wires. Often it is not easy to determine which method
has been employed to produce a given work.

Painted enamels were not employed in the earliest times, but came
to perfection in the Renaissance. A translucent enamel prevailed
especially in Italy: a low relief was made with the graver on gold
or silver; fine raised lines were left here and there, to separate
the colours. Therefore, where the cutting was deepest, the enamel
ran thicker, and consequently darker in colour, giving the effect of
shading, while in reality only one tint had been used. The powdered
and moistened enamel was spread evenly with a spatula over the
whole surface, and allowed to stand in the kiln until it liquefied.
Another form of enamel was used to colour gold work in relief,
with a permanent coating of transparent colour. Sometimes this
colour was applied in several coats, one upon another, and the
features painted with a later touch. Much enamelled jewelry was
made in this way, figures, dragons, and animal forms, being among
the most familiar. But an actual enamel painting--on the principle
of a picture, was rendered in still another way. In preparing the
ground for enamel painting, there are two things which have been
essentially considered in all times and countries. The enamel ground
must be more fusible than the metal on which it is placed, or else
both would melt together. Also the enamel with which the final
decoration is executed must be more easily made fluid than the harder
enamel on which it is laid. In fact, each coat must of necessity
be a trifle more fusible than the preceding one. A very accurate
knowledge is necessary to execute such a work, as will be readily


In examining historic examples of enamel, the curious oval set
in gold, known as the Alfred Jewel, is among the first which come
within our province. It was found in Somersetshire, and probably
dates from about the year 878. It consists of an enamelled figure
covered by a thick crystal, set in filigree, around the edge of
which runs the inscription, "AELFRED MEC REHT GAVUR CAN" (Alfred
ordered me to be wrought). King Alfred was a great patron of the
arts. Of such Anglo-Saxon work, an ancient poem in the Exeter Book

  "For one a wondrous skill
   in goldsmith's art is provided
   Full oft he decorates and well adorns
   A powerful king's nobles."

Celtic enamels are interesting, being usually set in the spaces
among the rambling interlaces of this school of goldsmithing. The
Cross of Cong is among the most famous specimens of this work,
and also the bosses on the Ardagh Chalice.

The monk Theophilus describes the process of enamelling in a graphic
manner. He directs his workmen to "adapt their pieces of gold in all
the settings in which the glass gems are to be placed" (by which we
see that he teaches the cloisonné method). "Cut small bands of
exceedingly thin gold," he continues, "in which you will bend and
fashion whatever work you wish to make in enamel, whether circles,
knots, or small flowers, or birds, or animals, or figures." He then
admonishes one to solder it with greatest care, two or three times,
until all the pieces adhere firmly to the plate. To prepare the
powdered glass, Theophilus advises placing a piece of glass in the
fire, and, when it has become glowing, "throw it into a copper vessel
in which there is water, and it instantly flies into small fragments
which you break with a round pestle until quite fine. The next step
is to put the powder in its destined cloison, and to place the whole
jewel upon a thin piece of iron, over which fits a cover to protect
the enamel from the coals, and put it in the most intensely hot part
of the fire." Theophilus recommends that this little iron cover be
"perforated finely all over so that the holes may be inside flat and
wide, and outside finer and rough, in order to stop the cinders if by
chance they should fall upon it." This process of firing may have
to be repeated several times, until the enamel fills every space
evenly. Then follows the tedious task of burnishing; setting the
jewel in a strong bit of wax, you are told to rub it on a "smooth
hard bone," until it is polished well and evenly.

Benvenuto Cellini recommends a little paper sponge
to be used in smoothing the face of enamels. "Take a clean nice piece
of paper," he writes, "and chew it well between your teeth,--that
is, if you have got any--I could not do it, because I've none left!"

A celebrated piece of goldsmith's work of the tenth century is
the Pala d'Oro at St. Mark's in Venice. This is a gold altar piece
or reredos, about eleven feet long and seven feet high, richly
wrought in the Byzantine style, and set with enamels and precious
stones. The peculiar quality of the surface of the gold still lingers
in the memory; it looks almost liquid, and suggests the appearance
of metal in a fluid state. On its wonderful divisions and arched
compartments are no less than twelve hundred pearls, and twelve
hundred other precious gems. These stones surround the openings
in which are placed the very beautiful enamel figures of saints
and sacred personages. St. Michael occupies a prominent position;
the figure is partly in relief. The largest medallion contains
the figure of Christ in glory, and in other compartments may be
seen even such secular personages as the Empress Irene, and the
Doge who was ruling Venice at the time this altar piece was put
in place--the year 1106. The Pala d'Oro is worked in the champlevé
process, the ground having been cut away to receive the melted
enamel. It is undoubtedly a Byzantine work; the Doge Orseolo, in
976, ordered it to be made by the enamellers of Constantinople.
It was not finished for nearly two centuries, arriving in Venice
in 1102, when the portrait of the Doge then reigning was added
to it. The Byzantine range of colours was copious; they had white,
two reds, bright and dark, dark and light blue, green, violet,
yellow, flesh tint, and black. These tints were always fused
separately, one in each cloison: the Greeks in this period never
tried to blend colours, and more than one tint never appears in
a compartment. The enlarging and improving of the Pam d'Oro was
carried on by Greek artists in Venice in 1105. It was twice
altered after that, once in the fourteenth century for Dandolo,
and thus the pure Byzantine type is somewhat invaded by the Gothic
spirit. The restorations in 1345 were presided over by Gianmaria

One of the most noted specimens of enamel work is on the Crown of
Charlemagne,[1] which is a magnificent structure of eight plaques
of gold, joined by hinges, and surmounted by a cross in the front,
and an arch crossing the whole like a rib from back to front. The
other cross rib has been lost, but originally the crown was arched
by two ribs at the top. The plates of gold are ornamented, one
with jewels, and filigree, and the next with a large figure in
enamel. These figures are similar to those occurring on the Pala

[Footnote 1: See Fig. 1.]


The Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne is decorated both with
cloisonné and champlevé enamels,--an unusual circumstance. In Aix
la Chapelle the shrine of Charlemagne is extremely like it in some
respects, but the only enamels are in champlevé. Good examples
of translucent enamels in relief may be seen on several of the
reliquaries at Aix la Chapelle.

Theophilus gives us directions for making a very ornate chalice
with handles, richly embossed and ornamented with mello. Another
paragraph instructs us how to make a golden chalice decorated with
precious stones and pearls. It would be interesting as a modern
problem, to follow minutely his directions, and to build the actual
chalice described in the eleventh century. To apply the gems and
pearls Theophilus directs us to "cut pieces like straps," which
you "bend together to make small settings of them, by which the
stones may be enclosed." These little settings, with their stones,
are to be fixed with flour paste in their places and then warmed
over the coals until they adhere. This sounds a little risky, but
we fancy he must have succeeded, and, indeed, it seems to have been
the usual way of setting stones in the early centuries. Filigree
flowers are then to be added, and the whole soldered into place in
a most primitive manner, banking the coals in the shape of a small
furnace, so that the coals may lie thickly around the circumference,
and when the solder "flows about as if undulating," the artist is
to sprinkle it quickly with water, and take it out of the fire.

Niello, with which the chalice of Theophilus is also to be enriched,
stands in relation to the more beautiful art of enamel, as drawing
does to painting, and it is well to consider it here. Both the
Romans and the Anglo-Saxons understood its use. It has been employed
as an art ever since the sixth and seventh centuries. The term
"niello" probably is an abbreviation of the Italian word "nigellus"
(black); the art is that of inlaying an engraved surface with a
black paste, which is thoroughly durable and hard as the metal
itself in most cases, the only difference being in flexibility;
if the metal plate is bent, the niello will crack and flake off.


Niello is more than simply a drawing on metal. That would come
under the head of engraving. A graver is used to cut out the design
on the surface of the silver, which is simply a polished plane. When
the drawing has been thus incised, a black enamel, made of lead,
lamp black, and other substances, is filled into the interstices,
and rubbed in; when quite dry and hard, this is polished. The result
is a black enamel which is then fused into the silver, so that
the whole is one surface, and the decoration becomes part of the
original plate. The process as described by Theophilus is as follows:
"Compose the niello in this manner; take pure silver and divide
it into equal parts, adding to it a third part of pure copper,
and taking yellow sulphur, break it very small... and when you
have liquefied the silver with the copper, stir it evenly with
charcoal, and instantly pour into it lead and sulphur." This niello
paste is then made into a stick, and heated until "it glows: then
with another forceps, long and thin, hold the niello and rub it
all over the places which you wish to make black, until the drawing
be full, and carrying it away from the fire, make it smooth with a
flat file, until the silver appear." When Theophilus has finished
his directions, he adds: "And take great care that no further work
is required." To polish the niello, he directs us to "pumice it
with a damp stone, until it is made everywhere bright."

There are various accounts of how Finiguerra, who was a worker
in niello in Florence, discovered by its means the art of steel
engraving. It is probably only a legendary narrative, but it is
always told as one of the apocryphal stories when the origin of
printing is discussed, and may not be out of place here. Maso
Finiguerra, a Florentine, had just engraved the plate for his famous
niello, a Pax which is now to be seen in the Bargello, and had
filled it in with the fluid enamel, which was standing waiting
until it should be dry. Then, according to some authorities, a
piece of paper blew upon the damp surface, on which, after carefully
removing it, Maso found his design was impressed; others state that
it was through the servant's laying a damp cloth upon it, that
the principle of printing from an incised plate was suggested.
At any rate, Finiguerra took the hint, it is said, and made an
impression on paper, rolling it, as one would do with an etching
or engraving.

In the Silver Chamber in the Pitti Palace is a Pax, by Mantegna,
made in the same way as that by Finiguerra, and bearing comparison
with it. The engraving is most delicate, and it is difficult
to imagine a better specimen of the art. The Madonna and Child,
seated in an arbour, occupy the centre of the composition, which
is framed with jewelled bands, the frame being divided into sixteen
compartments, in each of which is seen a tiny and exquisite picture.
The work on the arbour of roses in which the Virgin sits is of
remarkable quality, as well as the small birds and animals
introduced into the composition. In the background, St. Christopher
is seen crossing the river with the Christ Child on his back, while
in the water a fish and a swan are visible.

In Valencia in Spain may be seen a chalice which has been supposed
to be the very cup in which Our Saviour instituted the Communion.
The cup itself is of sardonyx, and of fine form. The base is made
of the same stone, and handles and bands are of gold, adorned with
black enamel. Pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are set in
profusion about the stem and base. It is a work of the epoch of
Imperial Rome.

In England, one of the most perfect specimens of fine, close work,
is the Wilton Chalice, dating from the twelfth century. The Warwick
Bowl, too, is of very delicate workmanship, and both are covered
with minute scenes and figures. One of the most splendid treasures
in this line is the crozier of William Wyckham, now in Oxford.
It is strictly national in style.

The agreement entered into between Henry VII., and Abbot Islip,
for the building of the chapel of that king in Westminster, is
extant. It is bound in velvet and bossed with enamels. It is an
interesting fact that some of the enamels are in the Italian
style, while others are evidently English.

Limoges was the most famous centre of the art of enamelling in
the twelfth century, the work being known as Opus de Limogia, or
Labor Limogiae. Limoges was a Roman settlement, and enamels were
made there as early as the time of Philostratus. Champlevé enamel,
while it was not produced among the Greeks, nor even in Byzantine
work, was almost invariable at Limoges in the earlier days: one
can readily tell the difference between a Byzantine enamel and an
early Limoges enamel by this test, when there is otherwise sufficient
similarity of design to warrant the question.

Some of the most beautiful enamels of Limoges were executed in what
was called basse-taille, or transparent enamel on gold grounds, which
had been first prepared in bas-relief. Champlevé enamel was often
used on copper, for such things as pastoral staves, reliquaries, and
larger bits of church furniture. The enamel used on copper is usually
opaque, and somewhat coarser in texture than that employed on gold
or silver. Owing to their additional toughness, these specimens
are usually in perfect preservation. In 1327, Guillaume de Harie,
in his will, bequeathed 800 francs to make two high tombs, to be
covered with Limoges enamel, one for himself, and the other for
"Blanche d'Avange, my dear companion."


An interesting form of cloisonné enamel was that known as "plique
à jour," which consists of a filigree setting with the enamel
in transparent bits, without any metallic background. It is
still made in many parts of the world. When held to the light
it resembles minute arrangements of stained glass. Francis I.
showed Benvenuto Cellini a wonderful bowl of this description,
and asked Cellini if he could possibly imagine how the result
was attained. "Sacred Majesty," replied Benvenuto, "I can
tell you exactly how it is done," and he proceeded to explain
to the astonished courtiers how the bowl was constructed, bit by
bit, inside a bowl of thin iron lined with clay. The wires were
fastened in place with glue until the design was complete, and
then the enamel was put in place, the whole being fused together at
the soldering. The clay form to which all this temporarily adhered
was then removed, and the work, transparent and ephemeral, was
ready to stand alone.

King John gave to the city of Lynn a magnificent cup of gold, enamelled,
with figures of courtiers of the period, engaged in the sports of
hawking and hare-hunting, and dressed in the costume of the king's
reign. "King John gave to the Corporation a rich cup and cover,"
says Mackarel, "weighing seventy-three ounces, which is preserved
to this day and upon all public occasions and entertainments used
with some uncommon ceremonies at drinking the health of the King
or Queen, and whoever goes to visit the Mayor must drink out of
this cup, which contains a full pint." The colours of the enamels
which are used as flat values in backgrounds to the little silver
figures, are dark rose, clear blue, and soft green. The dresses of
the persons are also picked out in the same colours, varied from
the grounds. This cup was drawn by John Carter in 1787, he having
had much trouble in getting permission to study the original for
that purpose! He took letters of introduction to the Corporation,
but they appeared to suspect him of some imposture; at first they
refused to entertain his proposal at all, but after several
applications, he was allowed to have the original before him, in
a closed room, in company with a person appointed by them but at
his expense, to watch him and see that no harm came to the precious

The translucent enamels on relief were made a great deal by the
Italian goldsmiths; Vasari alludes to this class of work as "a
species of painting united with sculpture."

As enamel came by degrees to be used as if it were paint, one of
the chief charms of the art died. The limits of this art were its
strength, and simple straight-forward use of the material was its
best expression. The method of making a painted enamel was as follows.
The design was laid out with a stilus on a copper plate. Then a
flux of plain enamel was fused on to the surface, all over it. The
drawing was then made again, on the same lines, in a dark medium,
and the colours were laid flat inside the dark lines, accepting
these lines as if they had been wires around cloisons. All painted
enamels had to be enamelled on the back as well, to prevent warping
in the furnace when the shrinkage took place. After each layer of
colour the whole plate was fired. In the fifteenth century these
enamels were popular and retained some semblance of respect for the
limitation of material; later, greater facility led, as it does in
most of the arts, to a decadence in taste, and florid pictures, with
as many colours and shadows as would appear in an oil painting,
resulted. Here and there, where special metallic brilliancy was
desired, a leaf of gold was laid under the colour of some transparent
enamel, giving a decorative lustre. These bits of brilliant metal
were known as _paillons_.

When Limoges had finally become the royal manufactory of enamels,
under Francis I., the head of the works was Leonard Limousin, created
"Valet de Chambre du Roi," to show his sovereign's appreciation.
Remarkable examples of the work of Leonard Limousin, executed in
1547, are the large figures of the Apostles to be seen in the church
of St. Pierre, at Chartres, where they are ranged about the apsidal
chapel. They are painted enamels on copper sheets twenty-four by
eleven inches, and are in a wonderful state of preservation. They
were the gift of Henri II. to Diàne de Poictiers and were brought
to Chartres from the Chateau d'Anet. These enamels, being on a
white ground, have something the effect of paintings in Faience;
the colouring is delicate, and they have occasional gold touches.

A treatise by William of Essex directs the artist how to prepare
a plate for a painted enamel, such as were used in miniature work.
He says "To make a plate for the artist to paint upon: a piece of
gold or copper being chosen, of requisite dimensions, and varying
from about 1/18 to 1/16 of an inch in thickness, is covered with
pulverized enamel, and passed through the fire, until it becomes
of a white heat; another coating of enamel is then added, and the
plate again fired; afterwards a thin layer of a substance called
flux is laid upon the surface of the enamel, and the plate
undergoes the action of heat for a third time. It is now ready for
the painter to commence his picture upon."

Leonard Limousin painted from 1532 until 1574. He used the process
as described by William of Essex (which afterwards became very
popular for miniaturists), and also composed veritable pictures
of his own design. It is out of our province to trace the history
of the Limoges enamellers after this period.



The "perils that environ men that meddle with cold iron" are many;
but those who attempt to control hot iron are also to be respected,
when they achieve an artistic result with this unsympathetic metal,
which by nature is entirely lacking in charm, in colour and texture,
and depends more upon a proper application of design than any other,
in order to overcome the obstacles to beauty with which it is beset.

"Rust hath corrupted," unfortunately, many interesting antiquities
in iron, so that only a limited number of specimens of this metal
have come down to us from very early times; one of the earliest
in England is a grave-stone of cast metal, of the date 1350: it
is decorated with a cross, and has the epitaph, "Pray for the soul
of Joan Collins."

The process of casting iron was as follows. The moulds were made
of a sandy substance, composed of a mixture of brick dust, loam,
plaster, and charcoal. A bed of this sand was made, and into it
was pressed a wooden or metal pattern. When this was removed, the
imprint remained in the sand. Liquid metal was run into the mould
so formed, and would cool into the desired shape. As with a
plaster cast, it was necessary to employ two such beds, the sand
being firmly held in boxes, if the object was to be rounded, and
then the two halves thus made were put together. Flat objects,
such as fire-backs, could be run into a single mould.

Bartholomew, in his book "On the Properties of Things," makes certain
statements about iron which are interesting: "Though iron cometh of
the earth, yet it is most hard and sad, and therefore with beating
and smiting it suppresseth and dilateth all other metal, and maketh
it stretch on length and on breadth." This is the key-note to the
work of a blacksmith: it is what he has done from the first, and
is still doing.

In Spain there have been iron mines ever since the days when Pliny
wrote and alluded to them, but there are few samples in that country
to lead us to regard it as æsthetic in its purpose until the fifteenth

For tempering iron instruments, there are recipes given by the
monk Theophilus, but they are unfortunately quite unquotable, being
treated with mediæval frankness of expression.

St. Dunstan was the patron of goldsmiths and blacksmiths. He was
born in 925, and lived in Glastonbury, where he became a monk rather
early in life. He not only worked in metal, but was a good musician
and a great scholar, in fact a genuine rounded man of culture. He
built an organ, no doubt something like the one which Theophilus
describes, which, Bede tells us, being fitted with "brass pipes,
filled with air from the bellows, uttered a grand and most sweet
melody." Dunstan was a favourite at court, in the reign of King
Edmund. Enemies were plentiful, however, and they spread the report
that Dunstan evoked demoniac aid in his almost magical work in its
many departments. It was said that occasionally the evil spirits
were too aggravating, and that in such cases Dunstan would stand
no nonsense. There is an old verse:

  "St. Dunstan, so the story goes,
   Once pulled the devil by the nose,
   With red hot tongs, which made him roar
   That he was heard three miles or more!"

The same story is told of St. Eloi, and probably of most of the
mediæval artistic spirits who were unfortunate enough to be human
in their temperaments and at the same time pious and struggling. He
was greatly troubled by visitations such as persecuted St. Anthony.
On one occasion, it is related that he was busy at his forge when
this fiend was unusually persistent: St. Dunstan turned upon the
demon, and grasped its nose in the hot pincers, which proved a most
successful exorcism. In old portraits, St. Dunstan is represented
in full ecclesiastical habit, holding the iron pincers as symbols
of his prowess.

He became Archbishop of Canterbury after having held the Sees of
Worcester and London. He journeyed to Rome, and received the pallium
of Primate of the Anglo-Saxons, from Pope John XII. Dunstan was a
righteous statesman, twice reproving the king for evil deeds, and
placing his Royal Highness under the ban of the Church for immoral
conduct! St. Dunstan died in 988.


Wrought iron has been in use for many centuries for hinges and
other decorations on doors; a necessity to every building in a
town from earliest times. The word "hinge" comes from the Saxon,
_hengen_, to hang. Primitive hinges were sometimes sockets cut
in stone, as at Torcello; but soon this was proved a clumsy and
inconvenient method of hanging a door, and hinges more simple in
one way, and yet more ornate, came into fashion. Iron hinges were
found most useful when they extended for some distance on to the
door; this strengthened the door against the invasion of pirates,
when the church was the natural citadel of refuge for the inhabitants
of a town, and also held it firmly from warping. At first single
straps of iron were clamped on: then the natural craving for beauty
prevailed, and the hinges developed, flowering out into scrolls and
leaves, and spreading all over the doors, as one sees them constantly
in mediæval examples. The general scheme usually followed was a
straight strap of iron flanked by two curving horns like a crescent,
and this motive was elaborated until a positive lace of iron, often
engraved or moulded, covered the surface of the door, as in the
wonderful work of Biscornette at Notre Dame in Paris.

Biscornette was a very mysterious worker, and no one ever saw him
constructing the hinges. Reports went round that the devil was helping
him, that he had sold his soul to the King of Darkness in order to
enlist his assistance in his work; an instance of æsthetic altruism
almost commendable in its exotic zeal. Certain jealous artificers
even went so far as to break off bits of the meandering iron, to
test it, but with no result; they could not decide whether it was
cast or wrought. Later a legend grew up explaining the reason why
the central door was not as ornate as the side doors: the story was
that the devil was unable to assist Biscornette on this door because
it was the aperture through which the Host passed in processions. It
is more likely, however, that the doors were originally uniform,
and that the iron was subsequently removed for some other reason.
The design is supposed to represent the Earthly Paradise. Sauval
says: "The sculptured birds and ornaments are marvellous. They are
made of wrought iron, the invention of Biscornette and which died
with him. He worked the iron with an almost incredible industry,
rendering it flexible and tractable, and gave it all the forms
and scrolls he wished, with a 'douceur et une gentillesse' which
surprised and astonished all the smiths." The iron master Gaegart
broke off fragments of the iron, and no member of the craft has
ever been able to state with certainty just how the work was
accomplished. Some think that it is cast, and then treated with
the file; others say that it must have been executed by casting
entire, with no soldering. In any case, the secret will never be
divulged, for no one was in the confidence of Biscornette.

Norman blacksmiths and workers in wrought iron were more plentiful
than goldsmiths. They had, in those warlike times, more call for
arms and the massive products of the forge than for gaudy jewels and
table appointments. One of the doors of St. Alban's Abbey displays the
skill of Norman smiths dealing with this stalwart form of ornament.

Among special artists in iron whose names have survived is that
of Jehan Tonquin, in 1388. Earlier than that, a cutler, Thomas
de Fieuvillier, is mentioned, as having flourished about 1330.


Elaborate iron work is rare in Germany; the Germans always excelled
rather in bronze than in the sterner metal. At St. Ursula's in
Cologne there are iron floriated hinges, but the design and idea
are French, and not native.

One may usually recognize a difference between French and English
wrought iron, for the French is often in detached pieces, not an
outgrowth of the actual hinge itself, and when this is found in
England, it indicates French work.

Ornaments in iron were sometimes cut out of flat sheet metal, and
then hammered into form. In stamping this flat work with embossed
effect, the smith had to work while the iron was hot,--as Sancho
Panza expressed it, "Praying to God and hammering away." Dies were
made, after a time, into which the design could be beaten with
less effort than in the original method.

One of the quaintest of iron doors is at Krems, where the gate is
made up of square sheets of iron, cut into rude pierced designs,
giving scenes from the New Testament, and hammered up so as to be
slightly embossed.

The Guild of Blacksmiths in Florence flourished as early as the
thirteenth century. It covered workers in many metals, copper,
iron, brass, and pewter included. Among the rules of the Guild
was one permitting members to work for ready money only. They were
not allowed to advertise by street crying, and were fined if they
did so. The Arms of the Guild was a pair of furnace tongs upon a
white field. Among the products of the forge most in demand were
the iron window-gratings so invariable on all houses, and called
by Michelangelo "kneeling windows," on account of the bulging shape
of the lower parts.

One famous iron worker carried out the law of the Guild both in
spirit and letter to the extent of insisting upon payment in advance!
This was Nicolo Grosso, who worked about 1499. Vasari calls him
the "money grabber." His specialty was to make the beautiful torch
holders and lanterns such as one sees on the Strozzi Palace and
in the Bargello.

In England there were Guilds of Blacksmiths; in Middlesex one was
started in 1434, and members were known as "in the worship of St.
Eloi." Members were alluded to as "Brethren and Sisteren,"--this
term would fill a much felt vacancy! Some of the Guilds exacted
fines from all members who did not pay a proper proportion of their
earnings to the Church.

Another general use of iron for artistic purposes was in the manufacture
of grilles. Grilles were used in France and England in cathedrals.
The earliest Christian grille is a pierced bronze screen in the
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

In Hildesheim is an original form of grille; the leaves and rosettes
in the design are pierced, instead of being beaten up into bosses.
This probably came from the fact that the German smith did not
understand the Frankish drawing, and supposed that the shaded portions
of the work were intended to be open work. The result, however,
is most happy, and a new feature was thus introduced into grille


Many grilles were formed by the smith's taking an iron bar and,
under the intense heat, splitting it into various branches, each
of which should be twisted in a different way. Another method was
to use the single slighter bar for the foundation of the design,
and welding on other volutes of similar thickness to make the scroll
work associated with wrought iron.

Some of the smiths who worked at Westminster Abbey are known by
name; Master Henry Lewis, in 1259, made the iron work for the tomb
of Henry III. A certain iron fragment is signed Gilibertus. The iron
on the tomb of Queen Eleanor is by Thomas de Leighton, in 1294.
Lead workers also had a place assigned to them in the precincts,
which was known as "the Plumbery." In 1431 Master Roger Johnson
was enjoined to arrest or press smiths into service in order to
finish the ironwork on the tomb of Edward IV.

Probably the most famous use of iron in Spain is in the stupendous
"_rejas_," or chancel screens of wrought iron; but these are nearly
all of a late Renaissance style, and hardly come within the scope
of this volume. The requirements of Spanish cathedrals, too, for
wrought iron screens for all the side chapels, made plenty of work
for the iron masters. In fact, the "_rejeros_," or iron master, was
as regular an adjunct to a cathedral as an architect or a painter.
Knockers were often very handsome in Spain, and even nail heads
were decorated.

An interesting specimen of iron work is the grille that surrounds
the tomb of the Scaligers in Verolla. It is not a hard stiff
structure, but is composed of circular forms, each made separately,
and linked together with narrow bands, so that the construction is
flexible, and is more like a gigantic piece of chain mail than an
iron fence.

Quentin Matsys was known as the "blacksmith of Antwerp," and is
reported to have left his original work among metals to become a
painter. This was done in order to marry the lady of his choice, for
she refused to join her fate to that of a craftsman. She, however,
was ready to marry a painter. Quentin, therefore, gave up his hammer
and anvil, and began to paint Madonnas that he might prosper in his
suit. Some authorities, however, laugh at this story, and claim
that the specimens of iron work which are shown as the early works
of Matsys date from a time when he would have been only ten or
twelve years old, and that they must therefore have been the work
of his father, Josse Matsys, who was a locksmith. The well-cover
in Antwerp, near the cathedral, is always known as Quentin Matsys'
well. It is said that this was not constructed until 1470, while
Quentin was born in 1466.

The iron work of the tomb of the Duke of Burgundy, in Windsor,
is supposed to be the work of Quentin Matsys, and is considered
the finest grille in England. It is wrought with such skill and
delicacy that it is more like the product of the goldsmith's art
than that of the blacksmith.


Another object of utility which was frequently ornamented was the
key. The Key of State, especially, was so treated. Some are nine
or ten inches long, having been used to present to visiting grandees
as typical of the "Freedom of the City." Keys were often decorated
with handles having the appearance of Gothic tracery. In an old
book published in 1795, there is an account of the miraculous Keys
of St. Denis, made of silver, which they apply to the faces of
these persons who have been so unfortunate as to be bitten by mad
dogs, and who received certain and immediate relief in only touching
them. A key in Valencia, over nine inches in length, is richly
embossed, while the wards are composed of decorative letters, looking
at first like an elaborate sort of filigree, but finally resolving
themselves into the autographic statement: "It was made by Ahmed
Ahsan." It is a delicate piece of thirteenth or fourteenth century
work in iron.

Another old Spanish key has a Hebrew inscription round the handle:
"The King of Kings will open: the King of the whole Earth will
enter," and, in the wards, in Spanish, "God will open, the King
will enter."

The iron smiths of Barcelona formed a Guild in the thirteenth century:
it is to be regretted that more of their work could not have descended
to us.

A frank treatment of locks and bolts, using them as decorations,
instead of treating them as disgraces, upon the surface of a door,
is the only way to make them in any degree effective. As Pugin has
said, it is possible to use nails, screws, and rivets, so that
they become "beautiful studs and busy enrichments." Florentine
locksmiths were specially famous; there also was a great fashion
for damascened work in that city, and it was executed with much

In blacksmith's work, heat was used with the hammer at each stage
of the work, while in armourer's or locksmith's work, heat was
employed only at first, to achieve the primitive forms, and then
the work was carried on with chisel and file on the cold metal.
Up to the fourteenth century the work was principally that of the
blacksmith, and after that, of the locksmith.

The mention of arms and armour in a book of these proportions must
be very slight; the subject is a vast one, and no effort to treat
it with system would be satisfactory in so small a space. But a
few curious and significant facts relating to the making of armour
may be cited.

The rapid decay of iron through rust--rapid, that is to say, in
comparison with other metals--is often found to have taken place when
the discovery of old armour has been made; so that gold ornaments,
belonging to a sword or other weapon, may be found in excavating,
while the iron which formed the actual weapon has disappeared.

Primitive armour was based on a leather foundation, hence the name
cuirass, was derived from _cuir_ (leather). In a former book I have
alluded to the armour of the nomadic tribes, which is described by
Pausanias as coarse coats of mail made out of the hoofs of horses,
split, and laid overlapping each other, making them "something like
dragon's scales," as Pausanias explains; adding for the benefit
of those who are unfamiliar with dragons' anatomy, "Whoever has
not _yet_ seen a dragon, has, at any rate, seen a pine cone still
green. These are equally like in appearance to the surface of this
armour." These horny scales of tough hoofs undoubtedly suggested,
at a later date, the use of thick leather as a form of protection,
and the gradual evolution may be imagined.

The art of the armourer was in early mediæval times the art of the
chain maker. The chain coat, or coats of mail, reached in early
days as far as the knees. Finally this developed into an entire
covering for the man, with head gear as well; of course this form
of armour allowed of no real ornamentation, for there was no space
larger than the links of the chain upon which to bestow decoration.
Each link of a coat of mail was brought round into a ring, the ends
overlapped, and a little rivet inserted. Warriors trusted to no
solder or other mode of fastening. All the magnificence of knightly
apparel was concentrated in the surcoat, a splendid embroidered or
gem-decked tunic to the knees, which was worn over the coat of
mail. These surcoats were often trimmed with costly furs, ermine
or vair, the latter being similar to what we now call squirrel,
being part gray and part white. Cinderella's famous slipper was
made of "vair," which, through a misapprehension in being translated
"verre," has become known as a glass slipper.


After a bit, the makers of armour discovered that much tedious
labor in chain making might be spared, if one introduced a large
plate of solid metal on the chest and back. This was in the thirteenth
century. The elbows and knees were also treated in this way, and in
the fourteenth century, the principle of armour had changed to a set
of separate plates fastened together by links. This was the evolution
from mail to plate armour. A description of Charlemagne as he appeared
on the field of battle, in his armour, is given by the Monk of
St. Gall, his biographer, and is dramatic. "Then could be seen
the iron Charles, helmeted with an iron helmet, his iron breast
and broad shoulders protected with an iron breast plate; an iron
spear was raised on high in his left hand, his right always rested
on his unconquered iron falchion.... His shield was all of iron,
his charger was iron coloured and iron hearted.... The fields and
open spaces were filled with iron; a people harder than iron paid
universal homage to the hardness of iron. The horror of the dungeon
seemed less than the bright gleam of iron. 'Oh, the iron! woe for
the iron!' was the confused cry that rose from the citizens. The
strong walls shook at the sight of iron: the resolution of young
and old fell before the iron."

By the end of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, whole
suits of armour were almost invariable, and then came the opportunity
for the goldsmith, the damascener, and the niellist. Some of the
leading artists, especially in Italy, were enlisted in designing
and decorating what might be called the _armour-de-luxe_ of the
warrior princes! The armour of horses was as ornate as that of
the riders.

The sword was always the most imposingly ornamented
part of a knight's equipment, and underwent various modifications
which are interesting to note. At first, it was the only weapon
invariably at hand: it was enormously large, and two hands were
necessary in wielding it. As the arquebuse came into use, the sword
took a secondary position: it became lighter and smaller. And ever
since 1510 it is a curious fact that the decorations of swords
have been designed to be examined when the sword hangs with the
point down; the earlier ornament was adapted to being seen at its
best when the sword was held upright, as in action. Perhaps the
later theory of decoration is more sensible, for it is certain
that neither a warrior nor his opponent could have occasion to
admire fine decoration at a time when the sword was drawn! That
the arts should be employed to satisfy the eye in times of peace,
sufficed the later wearers of ornamented swords.

Toledo blades have always been famous, and rank first among the
steel knives of the world. Even in Roman times, and of course under
the Moors, Toledo led in this department. The process of making a
Toledo blade was as follows. There was a special fine white sand
on the banks of the Tagus, which was used to sprinkle on the blade
when it was red hot, before it was sent on to the forger's. When
the blade was red hot from being steeped four-fifths of its length
in flame, it was dropped point first into a bucket of water. If it
was not perfectly straight when it was withdrawn, it was beaten
into shape, more sand being first put upon it. After this the
remaining fifth of the blade was subjected to the fire, and was
rubbed with suet while red hot; the final polish of the whole sword
was produced by emery powder on wooden wheels.


Damascening was a favourite method of ornamenting choice suits
of armour, and was also applied to bronzes, cabinets, and such
pieces of metal as lent themselves to decoration. The process began
like niello: little channels for the design were hollowed out, in
the iron or bronze, and then a wire of brass, silver, or gold, was
laid in the groove, and beaten into place, being afterwards polished
until the surface was uniform all over. One great feature of the art
was to sink the incision a little broader at the base than at the top,
and then to force the softer metal in, so that, by this undercutting,
it was held firmly in place. Cellini tells of his first view of
damascened steel blades. "I chanced," he says, "to become possessed
of certain little Turkish daggers, the handle of which together
with the guard and blade were ornamented with beautiful Oriental
leaves, engraved with a chisel, and inlaid with gold. This kind of
work differed materially from any which I had as yet practised or
attempted, nevertheless I was seized with a great desire to try my
hand at it, and I succeeded so admirably that I produced articles
infinitely finer and more solid than those of the Turks." Benvenuto
had such a humble opinion of his own powers! But when one considers
the pains and labour expended upon the arts of damascening and
niello, one regrets that the workers had not been inspired to attempt
dentistry, and save so much unnecessary individual suffering!

On the Sword of Boabdil are many inscriptions, among them, "God is
clement and merciful," and "God is gifted with the best memory."
No two sentiments could be better calculated to keep a conqueror
from undue excesses.

Mercia was a headquarters for steel and other metals
in the thirteenth century. Seville was even then famous for its
steel, also, and in the words of a contemporary writer, "the steel
which is made in Seville is most excellent; it would take too much
time to enumerate the delicate objects of every kind which are
made in this town." King Don Pedro, in his will, in the fourteenth
century, bequeathes to his son, his "Castilian sword, which I had
made here in Seville, ornamented with stones and gold." Swords
were baptized; they were named, and seemed to have a veritable
personality of their own. The sword of Charlemagne was christened
"Joyeuse," while we all know of Arthur's Excalibur; Roland's sword
was called Durandel. Saragossa steel was esteemed for helmets,
and the sword of James of Arragon in 1230, "a very good sword,
and lucky to those who handled it," was from Monzon. The Cid's
sword was similar, and named Tizona. There is a story of a Jew who
went to the grave of the Cid to steal his sword, which, according
to custom, was interred with the owner: the corpse is said to have
resented the intrusion by unsheathing the weapon, which miracle
so amazed the Jew that he turned Christian!

[Illustration: MOORISH SWORD]

German armour was popular. Cologne swords were great favourites
in England. King Arthur's sword was one of these,--

  "For all of Coleyne was the blade
   And all the hilt of precious stone."

In the British Museum is a wonderful example of a wooden shield,
painted on a gesso ground, the subject being a Knight kneeling
before a lady, and the motto: "Vous ou la mort." These wooden shields
were used in Germany until the end of Maximilian's reign.

The helmet, or Heaume, entirely concealed the face, so that for
purposes of identification, heraldic badges and shields were displayed.
Later, crests were also used on the helmets, for the same purpose.

Certain armourers were very well known in their day, and were as
famous as artists in other branches. William Austin made a superb
suit for the Earl of Warwick, while Thomas Stevyns was the coppersmith
who worked on the same, and Bartholomew Lambspring was the polisher.
There was a famous master-armourer at Greenwich in the days of
Elizabeth, named Jacob: some important arms of that period bear
the inscription, "Made by me Jacob." There is some question whether
he was the same man as Jacob Topf who came from Innsbruck, and
became court armourer in England in 1575. Another famous smith
was William Pickering, who made exquisitely ornate suits of what
we might call full-dress armour.

Colossal cannon were made: two celebrated guns may be seen, the
monster at Ghent, called Mad Meg, and the huge cannon at Edinburgh
Castle, Mons Meg, dating from 1476. These guns are composed of steel
coils or spirals, afterwards welded into a solid mass instead of
being cast. They are mammoth examples of the art of the blacksmith
and the forge. In Germany cannon were made of bronze, and these
were simply cast.

Cross bows obtained great favour in Spain, even after the arquebuse
had come into use. It was considered a safer weapon to the one
who used it. An old writer in 1644 remarks, "It has never been
known that a man's life has been lost by breaking the string or
cord, two things which are dangerous, but not to a considerable
extent,"... and he goes on "once set, its shot is secure, which
is not the case with the arquebus, which often misses fire." There
is a letter from Ambassador Salimas to the King of Hungary, in
which he says: "I went to Balbastro and there occupied myself in
making a pair of cross bows for your Majesty. I believe they will
satisfy the desires which were required... as your Majesty is annoyed
when they do not go off as you wish." It would seem as though his
Majesty's "annoyance" was justifiable; imagine any one dependent
upon the shot of a cross bow, and then having the weapon fail to
"go off!" Nothing could be more discouraging.


There is a contemporary treatise which is full of interest,
entitled, "How a Man shall be Armed at his ease when he shall Fight
on Foot." It certainly was a good deal of a contract to render
a knight comfortable in spite of the fact that he could see or
breathe only imperfectly, and was weighted down by iron at every
point. This complete covering with metal added much to the actual
noise of battle. Froissart alludes to the fact that in the battle of
Rosebeque, in 1382, the hammering on the helmets made a noise which
was equal to that of all the armourers of Paris and Brussels working
together. And yet the strength needed to sport such accoutrements
seems to have been supplied. Leon Alberti of Florence, when clad
in a full suit of armour, could spring with ease upon a galloping
horse, and it is related that Aldobrandini, even with his right
arm disabled, could cleave straight through his opponent's helmet
and head, down to the collar bone, with a single stroke!

One of the richest suits of armour in the world is to be seen at
Windsor; it is of Italian workmanship, and is made of steel, blued
and gilded, with wonderfully minute decorations of damascene and
appliqué work. This most ornate armour was made chiefly for show,
and not for the field: for knights to appear in their official
capacity, and for jousting at tournaments, which were practically
social events. In the days of Henry VIII. a chronicler tells of
a jouster who "tourneyed in harneyse all of gilt from the head
piece to the sabattons." Many had "tassels of fine gold" on their

Italian weapons called "lasquenets" were very deadly. In a letter
from Albrecht Dürer to Pirckheimer, he alludes to them, as having
"roncions with two hundred and eighteen points: and if they pink a
man with any of these, the man is dead, as they are all poisoned."

Bronze is composed of copper with an alloy of about eight or ten
per cent. of tin. The fusing of these two metals produces the brown
glossy substance called bronze, which is so different from either of
them. The art of the bronze caster is a very old and interesting one.
The method of proceeding has varied very little with the centuries. A
statue to be cast either in silver or bronze would be treated in
the following manner.

A general semblance of the finished work was first set up in clay;
then over this a layer of wax was laid, as thick as the final bronze
was intended to be. The wax was then worked with tools and by hand
until it took on the exact form designed for the finished product.
Then a crust of clay was laid over the wax; on this were added other
coatings of clay, until quite a thick shell of clay surrounded
the wax. The whole was then subjected to fervent heat, and the wax
all melted out, leaving a space between the core and the outer
shell. Into this space the liquid bronze was poured, and after it
had cooled and hardened the outer shell was broken off, leaving
the statue in bronze exactly as the wax had been.

Cellini relates an experience in Paris, with an old man
eighty years of age, one of the most famous bronze casters whom
he had engaged to assist him in his work for Francis I. Something
went wrong with the furnace, and the poor old man was so upset and
"got into such a stew" that he fell upon the floor, and Benvenuto
picked him up fancying him to be dead: "Howbeit," explains Cellini,
"I had a great beaker of the choicest wine brought him,... I mixed
a large bumper of wine for the old man, who was groaning away like
anything, and I bade him most winning-wise to drink, and said:
'Drink, my father, for in yonder furnace has entered in a devil,
who is making all this mischief, and, look you, we'll just let him
bide there a couple of days, till he gets jolly well bored, and
then will you and I together in the space of three hours firing,
make this metal run, like so much batter, and without any exertion
at all.' The old fellow drank and then I brought him some little
dainties to eat: meat pasties they were, nicely peppered, and I
made him take down four full goblets of wine. He was a man quite
out of the ordinary, this, and a most lovable old thing, and what
with my caresses and the virtue of the wine, I found him soon moaning
away as much with joy as he had moaned before with grief." Cellini
displayed in this incident his belief in the great principle that
the artist should find pleasure in his work in order to impart
to that work a really satisfactory quality, and did exactly the
right thing at the right minute; instead of trusting to a faltering
effort in a disheartened man, he cheered the old bronze founder
up to such a pitch that after a day or two the work was completed
with triumph and joy to both.

In the famous statue of Perseus, Cellini experienced much difficulty
in keeping the metal liquid. The account of this thrilling experience,
told in his matchless autobiography, is too long to quote at this
point; an interesting item, however, should be noted. Cellini used
pewter as a solvent in the bronze which had hardened in the furnace.
"Apprehending that the cause of it was, that the fusibility of
the metal was impaired, by the violence of the fire," he says, "I
ordered all my dishes and porringers, which were in number about
two hundred, to be placed one by one before my tubes, and part of
them to be thrown into the furnace, upon which all present perceived
that my bronze was completely dissolved, and that my mould was
filling," and, such was the relief that even the loss of the entire
pewter service of the family was sustained with equanimity; the
family, "without delay, procured earthen vessels to supply the place
of the pewter dishes and porringers, and we all dined together very
cheerfully." Edgecumb Staley, in the "Guilds of Florence," speaks
of the "pewter fattened Perseus:" this is worthy of Carlyle.

Early Britons cast statues in brass. Speed tells of King Cadwollo,
who died in 677, being buried "at St. Martin's church near Ludgate,
his image great and terrible, triumphantly riding on horseback,
artificially cast in brass, was placed on the Western gate of the
city, to the further fear and terror of the Saxons!"

In 1562 Bartolomeo Morel, who made the celebrated statue of the
Giralda Tower in Seville, executed a fifteen branched candelabrum
for the Cathedral. It is a rich Renaissance design, in remarkably
chaste and good lines, and holds fifteen statuettes, which are
displaced to make room for the candles only during the last few
days of Lent.

A curious form of mediæval trinket was the perfume ball; this consisted
of a perforated ball of copper or brass, often ornamented with
damascene, and intended to contain incense to perfume the air, the
balls being suspended.

The earliest metal statuary in England was rendered in latten, a
mixed metal of a yellow colour, the exact recipe for which has not
survived. The recumbent effigies of Henry III. and Queen Eleanor
are made of latten, and the tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury
is the same, beautifully chased. Many of these and other tombs were
probably originally covered with gilding, painting, and enamel.

The effigies of Richard II. and his queen, Anne of Bohemia, were
made during the reign of the monarch; a contemporary document states
that "Sir John Innocent paid another part of a certain indenture
made between the King and Nicolas Broker and Geoffrey Prest,
coppersmiths of London, for the making of two images, likenesses
of the King and Queen, of copper and latten, gilded upon the said
marble tomb."

There are many examples of bronze gates in ecclesiastical
architecture. The gates of St. Paolo Fuori le Mura in Rome were
made in 1070, in Constantinople, by Stauracius the Founder. Many
authorities think that those at St. Mark's in Venice were similarly
produced. The bronze doors in Rome are composed of fifty-four small
designs, not in relief, but with the outlines of the subjects inlaid
with silver. The doors are in Byzantine taste.

The bronze doors at Hildesheim differ from nearly all other such
portals, in the elemental principle of design. Instead of being
divided into small panels, they are simply blocked off into seven
long horizontal compartments on each side, and then filled with a
pictorial arrangement of separate figures; only three or four in
each panel, widely spaced, and on a background of very low relief.
The figures are applied, at scattered distances apart, and are
in unusually high modelling, in some cases being almost detached
from the door. The effect is curious and interesting rather than
strictly beautiful, on the whole; but in detail many of the figures
display rare power of plastic skill, proportion, and action. They
are, at any rate, very individual: there are no other doors at
all like them. They are the work of Bishop Bernward.

Unquestionably, one of the greatest achievements in bronze of any
age is the pair of gates by Lorenzo Ghiberti on the Baptistery
in Florence. Twenty-one years were devoted to their making, by
Ghiberti and his assistants, with the stipulation that all figures
in the design were to be personal work of the master, the
assistants only attending to secondary details. The doors were in
place in April, 1424.


The competition for the Baptistery doors reads like a romance,
and is familiar to most people who know anything of historic art.
When the young Ghiberti heard that the competition was open to
all, he determined to go to Florence and work for the prize; in
his own words: "When my friends wrote to me that the governors
of the Baptistery were sending for masters whose skill in bronze
working they wished to prove, and that from all Italian lands many
maestri were coming, to place themselves in this strife of talent,
I could no longer forbear, and asked leave of Sig. Malatesta, who
let me depart." The result of the competition is also given in
Ghiberti's words: "The palm of victory was conceded to me by all
judges, and by those who competed with me. Universally all the
glory was given to me without any exception."


Symonds considers the first gate a supreme accomplishment in bronze
casting, but criticizes the other, and usually more admired gate, as
"overstepping the limits that separate sculpture from painting," by
"massing together figures in multitudes at three and sometimes four
distances. He tried to make a place in bas-relief for perspective."
Sir Joshua Reynolds finds fault with Ghiberti, also, for working at
variance with the severity of sculptural treatment, by distributing
small figures in a spacious landscape framework. It was not really
in accordance with the limitations of his material to treat a bronze
casting as Ghiberti treated it, and his example has led many men of
inferior genius astray, although there is no use in denying that
Ghiberti himself was clever enough to defy the usual standards
and rules.

Fonts were sometimes made in bronze. There is such a one at Liege
cast by Lambert Patras, which stands upon twelve oxen. It is decorated
with reliefs from the Gospels. This artist, Patras, was a native
of Dinant, and lived in the twelfth century. The bronze font in
Hildesheim is among the most interesting late Romanesque examples in
Germany. It is a large deep basin entirely covered with enrichment
of Scriptural scenes, and is supported by four kneeling figures,
typical of the four Rivers of Paradise. The conical cover is also
covered with Scriptural scenes, and surmounted by a foliate knob.
Among the figures with which the font is covered are the Cardinal
Virtues, flanked by their patron saints. Didron considers this a most
important piece of bronze from an iconographic point of view
theologically and poetically. The archaic qualities of the figures
are fascinating and sometimes diverting. In the scene of the Baptism
of Christ the water is positively trained to flow upwards in pyramidal
form, in order to reach nearly to the waist, while at either side it
recedes to the ground level again,--it has an ingenuous and almost
startling suddenness in the rising of its flood! An interesting
comment upon the prevalence of early national forms may be deduced,
when one observes that on the table, at the Last Supper, there
lies a perfectly shaped pretzel!

The great bronze column constructed by St. Bernward at Hildesheim
has the Life of Christ represented in consecutive scenes in a spiral
form, like those ornamenting the column of Trajan. Down by Bernward's
grave there is a spring which is said to cure cripples and rheumatics.
Peasants visit Hildesheim on saints' days in order to drink of
it, and frequently, after one of these visitations, crutches are
found abandoned near by.

Saxony was famous for its bronze founders, and work was sent forth,
from this country, in the twelfth century, all over Europe.


Orcagna's tabernacle at Or San Michele is, as Symonds
has expressed it, "a monumental jewel," and "an epitome of the
minor arts of mediæval Italy." On it one sees bas-relief carving,
intaglios, statuettes, mosaic, the lapidary's art in agate; enamels,
and gilded glass, and yet all in good taste and harmony. The sculpture
is properly subordinated to the architectonic principle, and one
can understand how it is not only the work of a goldsmith, but
of a painter.

Of all bronze workers, perhaps Peter Vischer is the best known
and is certainly one of the best deserving of his wide fame. Peter
Vischer was born about the same time as Quentin Matsys, between
1460 and 1470. He was the most important metal worker in Germany.
He and Adam Kraft, of whom mention will be made when we come to
deal with sculptural carving, were brought up together as boys,
and "when older boys, went with one another on all holidays, acting
still as though they were apprentices together." Vischer's normal
expression was in Gothic form. His first design for the wonderful
shrine of St. Sebald in Nuremberg was made by him in 1488, and
is still preserved in Vienna. It is a pure late-Gothic canopy,
and I cannot help regretting that the execution was delayed until
popular taste demanded more concession towards the Renaissance,
and it was resolved in 1507, "to have the Shrine of St. Sebald
made of brass."

Therefore, although the general lines continue to hold a Gothic
semblance, the shrine has many Renaissance features. Regret, however,
is almost morbid, in relation to such a perfect work of art. Italian
feeling is evident throughout, and the wealth of detail in figures
and foliate forms is magnificent. The centre of interest is the
little portrait statuette of Peter Vischer himself, according to his
biographer, "as he looked, and as he daily went about and worked in
the foundry." Though Peter had not been to Italy himself, his son
Hermann had visited the historic land, and had brought home "artistic
things that he sketched and drew, which delighted his old father, and
were of great use to his brothers." Peter Vischer had three sons, who
all followed him in the craft. His workshop must have been an ideal
institution in its line.

Some remnants of Gothic grotesque fancy are to be seen on the shrine,
although treated outwardly with Renaissance feeling. A realistic
life-sized mouse may be seen in one place, just as if it had run
out to inspect the work; and the numbers of little tipsy "putti"
who disport themselves in all attitudes, in perilous positions
on narrow ledges, are full of merry humour.

The metal of St. Sebald's shrine is left as it came from the casting,
and owes much of its charm to the lack of filing, polishing, and
pointing usual in such monuments. The molten living expression is
retained. Only the details and spirit of the figures are Renaissance;
the Gothic plan is hardly disturbed, and the whole monument is
pleasing in proportion. The figures are exquisite, especially that
of St. Peter.


A great Renaissance work in Germany was the grille
of the Rathaus made for Nuremberg by Peter Vischer the Younger. It
was of bronze, the symmetrical diapered form of the open work part
being supported by chaste and dignified columns of the Corinthian
order. It was first designed by Peter Vischer the Elder, and revised
and changed by the whole family after Hermann's return from Rome
with his Renaissance notions. It was sold in 1806 to a merchant
for old metal; later it was traced to the south of France, where
it disappeared.

Another famous bronze of Nuremberg is the well-known "Goose Man"
fountain, by Labenwolf. Every traveller has seen the quaint half-foolish
little man, as he stands there holding his two geese who politely
turn away their heads in order to produce the streams of water!

With the best bronzes, and with steel used for decorative purposes,
the original casting has frequently been only for general form,
the whole of the surface finishing being done with a shaping tool,
by hand, giving the appearance of a carving in bronze or steel. In
Japanese bronzes this is particularly felt. The classical bronzes
were evidently perfect mosaics of different colours, in metal. Pliny
tells of a bronze figure of a dying woman, who was represented
as having changed colour at the extremities, the fusion of the
different shades of bronze being disguised by anklets, bracelets,
and a necklace! A curious and very disagreeable work of art, we
should say. One sometimes sees in antique fragments ivory or silver
eyeballs, and hair and eyelashes made separately in thin strips and
coils of metal; while occasionally the depression of the edge of
the lips is sufficient to give rise to the opinion that a thin
veneer of copper was applied to give colour.

The bronze effigies of Henry III. and Eleanor, at Westminster, were
the work of a goldsmith, Master William Torel, and are therefore
finer in quality and are in some respects superior to the average
casting in bronze. Torel worked at the palace, and the statues were
cast in "cire perdue" process, being executed in the churchyard
itself. They are considered among the finest bronzes of the period
extant. Gilding and enamel were often used in bronze effigies.

Splendid bronzes, cast each in a single flow, are the recumbent
figures of two bishops at Amiens; they are of the thirteenth century.
Ruskin says: "They are the only two bronze tombs of her men of the
great ages left in France." An old document speaks of the "moulds
and imagines" which were in use for casting effigy portraits, in

Another good English bronze is that of Richard Beauchamp at Warwick,
the work of Thomas Stevens, which has been alluded to. In Westminster
Abbey, the effigy of Aymer de Valence, dating from 1296, is of
copper, but it is not cast; it is of beaten metal, and is enamelled,
probably at Limoges.

Bells and cannon are among the objects of actual utility which
were cast in bronze. Statues as a rule came later. In the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries in England, bronze was used to such an
extent, that one authority suggested that it should be called the
"Age of Bronze." Primitive bells were made of cast iron riveted
together: one of these is at the Cologne museum, and the Irish bells
were largely of this description. A great bell was presented to the
Cathedral of Chartres in 1028, by a donor named Jean, which affords
little clue to his personality. This bell weighed over two tons.

There is considerable interest attaching to the subject of the
making of bells in the Middle Ages. Even in domestic life bells
played quite a part; it was the custom to ring a bell when the
bath was ready and to announce meals, as well as to summon the
servitors. Church bells, both large and small, were in use in England
by 670, according to Bede. They were also carried by missionaries;
those good saints, Patrick and Cuthbert, announced their coming
like town criers! The shrine of St. Patrick's bell has been already
described. Bells used to be regarded with a superstitious awe, and
were supposed to have the ability to dispel evil spirits, which were
exorcised with "bell, book, and candle." The bell of St. Patrick,
inside the great shrine, is composed of two pieces of sheet iron,
one of which forms the face, and being turned over the top, descends
about half-way down the other side, where it meets the second sheet.
Both are bent along the edges so as to form the sides of the bell,
and they are both secured by rivets. A rude handle is similarly
attached to the top.

A quaint account is given by the Monk of St. Gall
about a bell ordered by Charlemagne. Charlemagne having admired
the tone of a certain bell, the founder, named Tancho, said to
him: "Lord Emperor, give orders that a great weight of copper be
brought to me that I may refine it, and instead of tin give me as
much silver as I need,--a hundred pounds at least,--and I will
cast such a bell for you that this will seem dumb in comparison
to it." Charlemagne ordered the required amount of silver to be
sent to the founder, who was, however, a great knave. He did not
use the silver at all, but, laying it aside for his own use, he
employed tin as usual in the bell, knowing that it would make a
very fair tone, and counting on the Emperor's not observing the
difference. The Emperor was glad when it was ready to be heard,
and ordered it to be hung, and the clapper attached. "That was soon
done," says the chronicler, "and then the warden of the church,
the attendants, and even the boys of the place, tried, one after
the other, to make the bell sound. But all was in vain; and so
at last the knavish maker of the bell came up, seized the rope,
and pulled at the bell. When, lo! and behold! down from on high
came the brazen mass; fell on the very head of the cheating brass
founder; killed him on the spot; and passed straight through his
carcase and crashed to the ground.... When the aforementioned weight
of silver was found, Charles ordered it to be distributed among
the poorest servants of the palace."

There is record of bronze bells in Valencia as early as 622, and
an ancient mortar was found near Monzon, in the ruins of a castle
which had formerly belonged to the Arabs. Round the edge of this
mortar was the inscription: "Complete blessing, and ever increasing
happiness and prosperity of every kind and an elevated and happy
social position for its owner." The mortar was richly ornamented.

At Croyland, Abbot Egebric "caused to be made two great bells which
he named Bartholomew and Bethelmus, two of middle size, called
Turketul and Tatwyn, and two lesser, Pega and Bega." Also at Croyland
were placed "two little bells which Fergus the brass worker of St.
Botolph's had lately given," in the church tower, "until better
times," when the monks expressed a hope that they should improve
all their buildings and appointments.

Oil that dropped from the framework on which church bells were
hung was regarded in Florence as a panacea for various ailments.
People who suffered from certain complaints were rubbed with this
oil, and fully believed that it helped them.

The curfew bell was a famous institution; but the name was not
originally applied to the bell itself. This leads to another curious
bit of domestic metal. The popular idea of a curfew is that of
a bell; a bell was undoubtedly rung at the curfew hour, and was
called by its name; but the actual curfew (or _couvre feu_) was an
article made of copper, shaped not unlike a deep "blower," which
was used in order to extinguish the fire when the bell rang. There
are a few specimens in England of these curious covers: they stood
about ten to fifteen inches high, with a handle at the top, and
closed in on three sides, open at the back. The embers were
shovelled close to the back of the hearth, and the curfew, with the
open side against the back of the chimney, was placed over them,
thus excluding all air. Horace Walpole owned, at Strawberry Hill,
a famous old curfew, in copper, elaborately decorated with vines
and the York rose.

[Illustration: A COPPER "CURFEW"]


The Sanctuary knocker at Durham Cathedral is an important example
of bronze work, probably of the same age as the Cathedral door on
which it is fastened. They both date from about the eleventh
century. Ever since 740, in the Episcopate of Cynewulf, criminals
were allowed to claim Sanctuary in Durham. When this knocker was
sounded, the door was opened, by two porters who had their
accommodations always in two little chambers over the door, and
for a certain length of time the criminal was under the protection
of the Church.

In speaking of the properties of lead, the old English Bartholomew
says: "Of uncleanness of impure brimstone, lead hath a manner of
neshness, and smircheth his hand who toucheth it... a man may wipe
off the uncleanness, but always it is lead, although it seemeth
silver." Weather vanes, made often of lead, were sometimes quite
elaborate. One of the most important pieces of lead work in art
is the figure of an angel on the chewet of Ste. Chapelle in Paris.
Originally this figure was intended to be so controlled by clockwork
that it would turn around once in the course of the twenty-four
hours, so that his attitude of benediction should be directed to
all four quarters of the city; but this was not practicable, and
the angel is stationary. The cock on the weather vane at Winchester
was described as early as the tenth century, in the Life of St.
Swithin, by the scribe Walstan. He calls it "a cock of elegant
form, and all resplendent and shining with gold who occupies the
summit of the tower. He regards the world from on high, he commands
all the country. Before him extend the stars of the North, and all
the constellations of the zodiac. Under his superb feet he holds
the sceptre of the law, and he sees under him all the people of
Winchester. The other cocks are humble subjects of this one, whom
they see thus raised in mid-air above them: he scorns the winds,
that bring the rains, and, turning, he presents to them his back.
The terrible efforts of the tempest do not annoy him, he receives
with courage either snow or lightning, alone he watches the sun as
it sets and dips into the ocean: and it is he who gives it its first
salute on its rising again. The traveller who sees him afar off,
fixes on him his gaze; forgetting the road he has still to follow,
he forgets his fatigues: he advances with renewed ardour. While he
is in reality a long way from the end, his eyes deceive him, and he
thinks that he has arrived." Quite a practical tribute to a weather

The fact that leaden roofs were placed on all churches and monastic
buildings in the Middle Ages, accounts in part for their utter
destruction in case of fire; for it is easy to see how impossible
it would be to enter a building in order to save anything, if, to
the terror of flames, were added the horror of a leaden shower
of molten metal proceeding from every part of the roof at once!
If a church once caught fire, that was its end, as a rule.

The invention of clocks, on the principle of cog-wheels and weights,
is attributed to a monk, named Gerbert, who died in 1013. He had
been instructor to King Robert, and was made Bishop of Rheims,
later becoming Pope Sylvester II. Clocks at first were large affairs
in public places. Portable clocks were said to have been first made
by Carovage, in 1480.


An interesting specimen of mediæval clock work is the old Dijon time
keeper, which still performs its office, and which is a privilege
to watch at high noon. Twelve times the bell is struck: first by a
man, who turns decorously with his hammer, and then by a woman,
who does the same. This staunch couple have worked for their living
for many centuries. Froissart alludes to this clock, saying: "The
Duke of Burgundy caused to be carried away from the market place at
Courtray a clock that struck the hours, one of the finest which could
be found on either side of the sea: and he conveyed it by pieces in
carts, and the bell also, which clock was brought and carted into the
town of Dijon, in Burgundy, where it was deposited and put up, and
there strikes the twenty-four hours between day and night." This was
in 1382, and there is no knowing how long the clock may have performed
its functions in Courtray prior to its removal to Dijon.

The great clock at Nuremberg shows a procession of the Seven Electors,
who come out of one door, pass in front of the throne, each turning
and doing obeisance, and pass on through another door. It is quite
imposing, at noon, to watch this procession repeated twelve times.
The clock is called the Mannleinlauffen.

In the Statutes of Francis I., there is a clause stating that
clockmakers as well as goldsmiths were authorized to employ in their
work gold, silver, and all other materials.

In Wells Cathedral is a curious clock, on which is a figure of a
monarch, like Charles I., seated above the bell, which he kicks
with his heels when the hour comes round. He is popularly known as
"Jack Blandiver." This clock came originally from Glastonbury. On
the hour a little tournament takes place, a race of little mounted
knights rushing out in circles and charging each other vigorously.

Pugin regrets the meaningless designs used by early Victorian clock
makers. He calls attention to the fact that "it is not unusual to
cast a Roman warrior in a flying chariot, round one of the wheels
of which on close inspection the hours may be descried; or the whole
front of a cathedral church reduced to a few inches in height,
with the clock face occupying the position of a magnificent rose
window!" This is not overdrawn; taste has suffered many vicissitudes
in the course of time, but we hope that the future will hold more
beauty for us in the familiar articles of the household than have
prevailed at some periods in the past.



A study of textiles is often subdivided into tapestry, carpet-weaving,
mechanical weaving of fabrics of a lighter weight, and embroidery.
These headings are useful to observe in our researches in the mediæval
processes connected with the loom and the needle.

Tapestry, as we popularly think of it, in great rectangular
wall-hangings with rather florid figures from Scriptural scenes,
commonly dates from the sixteenth century or later, so that it is
out of our scope to study its manufacture on an extensive scale.
But there are earlier tapestries, much more restrained in design,
and more interesting and frequently more beautiful. Of these earlier
works there is less profusion, for the examples are rare and precious,
and seldom come into the market nowadays. The later looms were of
course more prolific as the technical facilities increased. But
a study of the craft as it began gives one all that is necessary
for a proper appreciation of the art of tapestry weaving.

The earliest European work with which we have to concern ourselves
is the Bayeux tapestry. Although this is really needlework, it
is usually treated as tapestry, and there seems to be no special
reason for departing from the custom. Some authorities state that
the Bayeux tapestry was made by the Empress Matilda, daughter of
Henry I., while others consider it the achievement of Queen Matilda,
the wife of William the Conqueror. She is recorded to have sat
quietly awaiting her lord's coming while she embroidered this quaint
souvenir of his prowess in conquest. A veritable mediæval Penelope,
it is claimed that she directed her ladies in this work, which is
thoroughly Saxon in feeling and costuming. It is undoubtedly the most
interesting remaining piece of needlework of the eleventh century,
and it would be delightful if one could believe the legend of its
construction. Its attribution to Queen Matilda is very generally
doubted by those who have devoted much thought to the subject. Mr.
Frank Rede Fowke gives it as his opinion, based on a number of
arguments too long to quote in this place, that the tapestry was
not made by Queen Matilda, but was ordered by Bishop Odo as an
ornament for the nave of Bayeux Cathedral, and was executed by
Norman craftsmen in that city. Dr. Rock also favours the theory
that it was worked by order of Bishop Odo. Odo was a brother of
William the Conqueror and might easily have been interested in
preserving so important a record of the Battle of Hastings. Dr.
Rock states that the tradition that Queen Matilda executed the
tapestry did not arise at all until 1730.

The work is on linen, executed in worsteds. Fowke gives the length
as two hundred and thirty feet, while it is only nineteen inches
wide,--a long narrow strip of embroidery, in many colours on a cream
white ground. In all, there are six hundred and twenty-three figures,
besides two hundred horses and dogs, five hundred and five animals,
thirty-seven buildings, forty-one ships, forty-nine trees, making in
all the astonishing number of one thousand five hundred and twelve

The colours are in varying shades of blue, green, red and yellow
worsted. The colours are used as a child employs crayons; just as
they come to hand. When a needleful of one thread was used up,
the next was taken, apparently quite irrespective of the colour or
shade. Thus, a green horse will be seen standing on red legs, and
a red horse will sport a blue stocking! Mr. J. L. Hayes believes
that these varicoloured animals are planned purposely: that two
legs of a green horse are rendered in red on the further side, to
indicate perspective, the same principle accounting for two blue
legs on a yellow horse!


The buildings are drawn in a very primitive way, without consideration
for size or proportion. The solid part of the embroidery is couched
on, while much of the work is only rendered in outline. But the
spirited little figures are full of action, and suggest those in
the celebrated Utrecht Psalter. Sometimes one figure will be as
high as the whole width of the material, while again, the people
will be tiny. In the scene representing the burial of Edward the
Confessor, in Westminster Abbey, the roof of the church is several
inches lower than the bier which is borne on the shoulders of men
nearly as tall as the tower!

The naïve treatment of details is delicious. Harold, when about
to embark, steps with bare legs into the tide: the water is laid
out in the form of a hill of waves, in order to indicate that it
gets deeper later on. It might serve as an illustration of the Red
Sea humping up for the benefit of the Israelites! The curious little
stunted figure with a bald head, in the group of the conference of
messengers, would appear to be an abortive attempt to portray a
person at some distance--he is drawn much smaller than the others
to suggest that he is quite out of hearing! This seems to have
been the only attempt at rendering the sense of perspective. Then
comes a mysterious little lady in a kind of shrine, to whom a clerk
is making curious advances; to the casual observer it would appear
that the gentleman is patting her on the cheek, but we are informed
by Thierry that this represents an embroideress, and that the clerk
is in the act of ordering the Bayeux Tapestry itself! Conjecture
is swamped concerning the real intention of this group, and no
certain diagnosis has ever been pronounced! The Countess of Wilton
sees in this group "a female in a sort of porch, with a clergyman
in the act of pronouncing a benediction upon her!" Every one to
his taste.

A little farther on there is another unexplained figure: that of
a man with his feet crossed, swinging joyously on a rope from the
top of a tower.

Soon after the Crowning of Harold, may be seen a crowd of people
gazing at an astronomic phenomenon which has been described by an
old chronicler as a "hairy star." It is recorded as "a blazing
starre" such as "never appears but as a prognostic of afterclaps,"
and again, as "dreadful to be seen, with bloudie haires, and all
over rough and shagged at the top." Another author complacently
explains that comets "were made to the end that the ethereal regions
might not be more void of monsters than the ocean is of whales and
other great thieving fish!" A very literal interpretation of this
"hairy star" has been here embroidered, carefully fitted out with
cog-wheels and all the paraphernalia of a conventional mediæval

In the scenes dealing with the preparation of the army and the
arrangement of their food, there occurs the lassooing of an ox; the
amount of action concentrated in this group is really wonderful.
The ox, springing clear of the ground, with all his legs gathered
up under him, turns his horned head, which is set on an unduly
long neck, for the purpose of inspecting his pursuers. No better
origin for the ancient tradition of the cow who jumped over the
moon could be adduced. And what shall we say of the acrobatic antics
of Leofwine and Gyrth when meeting their deaths in battle? These
warriors are turning elaborate handsprings in their last moments,
while horses are represented as performing such somersaults that
they are practically inverted. In the border of this part of the
tapestry, soldiers are seen stripping off the coats of mail from
the dead warriors on the battle-field; this they do by turning the
tunic inside out and pulling it off at the head, and the resulting
attitudes of the victims are quaint and realistic in the extreme!
The border has been appropriately described as "a layer of dead men."
In the tenth and eleventh centuries one of the regular petitions in
the Litany was "From the fury of the Normans Good Lord Deliver us."

The Bayeux Tapestry was designated, in 1746, as "the noblest monument
in the world relating to our old English History." It has passed
through most trying vicissitudes, having been used in war time as a
canvas covering to a transport wagon, among other experiences. For
centuries this precious treasure was neglected and not understood. In
his "Tour" M. Ducarel states: "The priests... to whom we addressed
ourselves for a sight of this remarkable piece of antiquity, knew
nothing of it; the circumstance only of its being annually hung up
in their church led them to understand what we wanted, no person
then knowing that the object of our inquiries any ways related to
the Conqueror." This was in the nineteenth century.

Anglo-Saxon women spent much of their time in embroidering. Edith,
Queen of Edward the Confessor, was quite noted for her needlework,
which was sometimes used to decorate the state robes of the king.

Formerly there existed at Ely Cathedral a work very like the Bayeux
Tapestry, recording the deeds of the heroic Brihtnoth, the East
Saxon, who was slain in 991, fighting the Danish forces. His wife
rendered his history in needlework, and presented it to Ely.
Unhappily there are no remains of this interesting monument now
existing. The nearest thing to the Bayeux Tapestry in general
texture and style is perhaps a twelfth century work in the Cathedral
at Gerona, a little over four yards square, which is worked in
crewels on linen, and is ornamented with scenes of an Oriental and
primitive character, taken mainly from the story of Genesis. These
tapestries come under the head of needlework. The tapestries made
on looms proceed upon a different principle, and are woven instead
of embroidered.

Two kinds of looms were used under varying conditions in different
places; high warp looms, or _Haute Lisse_, and low warp looms,
known as _Basse Lisse_.

The general method of making tapestries on a high warp loom has been
much the same for many centuries. The warp is stretched vertically
in two sets, every other thread being first forward and then back in
the setting. M. Lacordaire, late Director of the Gobelins, writes
as follows: "The workman takes a spindle filled with worsted or
silk... he stops off the weft thread and fastens it to the warp,
to the left of the space to be occupied by the colour he has in
hand; then, by passing his left hand between the back and the front
threads, he separates those that are to be covered with colours;
with his right hand, having passed it through the same threads,
he reaches to the left side, for the spindle which he brings back
to the right; his left hand, then, seizing hold of the warp, brings
the back threads to the front, while the right hand thrusts the
spindle back to the point whence it started." When a new colour
is to be introduced, the artist takes a new shuttle. He fastens
his thread on the wrong side of the tapestry (the side on which
he works) and repeats the process just described on the strings
stretched up and down before him, like harp strings; the work is
commenced at the lower part, and worked upwards, so that, when
this strictly "hand weaving" is accomplished, it may be crowded
down into place by means of a kind of ivory comb, so adjusted that
the teeth fit between the warp threads. In tapestry weaving, the
warp could be of any inferior but strong thread, for, by the nature
of the work, only the woof was visible, the warp being quite hidden
and incorporated into the texture under the close lying stitches
which met and dove-tailed over it.

The worker on a low loom does not see the right side of the work
at all, unless he lifts the loom, which is a difficult undertaking.
On a high loom, it is only necessary for the worker to go around
to the front in order to see exactly what he is doing. The design
is put below the work, however, in a low loom, and the work is
thus practically traced as the tapestry proceeds.

On account of the limitations of the human arm in reaching, the
low warp tapestry requires more seams than does that made on the
"haute lisse" loom, the pieces being individually smaller. One
whole division of the workmen in tapestry establishments used to be
known as the "fine drawers," whose whole duty was to join the
different pieces together, and also to repair worn tapestries,
inserting new stitches for restorations. Tapestry repairing was
a necessary craft; at Rheims some tapestries were restored by
Jacquemire de Bergeres; these hangings had been "much damaged by
dogs, rats, mice, and other beasts." It is not stated where they
had been hung!

High warp looms have been known in Europe certainly since the ninth
century. There is an order extant, from the Bishop of Auxerre,
who died in 840, for some "carpets for his church." In 890 the
monks of Saumur were manufacturing tapestries. Beautiful textiles
had been used to ornament the Church of St. Denis as early as 630,
but there is no proof that these were actually tapestries. There
is a legend that in 732 a tapestry establishment existed in the
district between Tours and Poitiers. At Beauvais, too, the weavers
of arras were settled at the time of the Norman ravages.

King Dagobert was a mediæval patron of arts in France. He had the
walls of St. Denis (which he built) hung with rich tapestries set
with pearls and wrought with gold. At the monastery of St. Florent,
at Saumur in 985, the monks wove tapestries, using floral and animal
forms in their designs. At Poitiers there was quite a flourishing
factory as early as 1025. Tapestry was probably first made in France,
to any considerable extent, then, in the ninth century. The historian
of the monastery of Saumur tells us an interesting incident in
connection with the works there. The Abbot of St. Florent had placed
a magnificent order for "curtains, canopies, hangings, bench covers,
and other ornaments,... and he caused to be, made two pieces of tapestry
of large size and admirable quality, representing elephants." While
these were about to be commenced, the aforesaid abbot was called
away on a journey. The ecclesiastic who remained issued a command
that the tapestries should be made with a woof different from that
which they habitually used. "Well," said they, "in the absence of
the good abbot we will not discontinue our employment; but as you
thwart us, we shall make quite a different kind of fabric." So they
deliberately set to work to make square carpets with silver lions on
a red ground, with a red and white border of various animals! Abbot
William was fortunately pleased with the result, and used lions
interchangeably with elephants thereafter in his decorations.

At the ninth century tapestry manufactory in Poitiers, an amusing
correspondence took place between the Count of Poitou and an Italian
bishop, in 1025. Poitou was at that time noted for its fine breed
of mules. The Italian bishop wrote to ask the count to send him
one mule and one tapestry,--as he expressed it, "both equally
marvellous." The count replied with spirit: "I cannot send you
what you ask, because for a mule to merit the epithet _marvellous_,
he would have to have horns, or three tails, or five legs, and
this I should not be able to find. I shall have to content myself
with sending you the best that I can procure!"

In 992 the Abbey of Croyland, in England, owned "two large foot
cloths woven with lions, to be laid before the high altar on great
festivals, and two shorter ones trailed all over with flowers,
for the feast days of the Apostles."

Under Church auspices in the twelfth century, the tapestry industry
rose to its most splendid perfection. When the secular looms were
started, the original beauty of the work was retained for a considerable
time; in the tenth century German craftsmen worked as individuals,
independently of Guilds or organizations. In the thirteenth century
the work was in a flourishing condition in France, where both looms
were in use. The upright loom is still used at the Gobelin factory.

As an adjunct to the stained glass windows in churches, there never
was a texture more harmonious than good mediæval tapestry. In 1260
the best tapestries in France were made by the Church exclusively;
in 1461 King René of Anjou bequeathed a magnificent tapestry in
twenty-seven subjects representing the Apocalypse, to "the church
of Monsieur St. Maurice," at Angers.

Although tapestry was made in larger quantities during the Renaissance,
the mediæval designs are better adapted to the material.

The royal chambers of the Kings of England were hung with tapestry,
and it was the designated duty of the Chamberlain to see to such
adornment. In 1294 there is mention of a special artist in tapestry,
who lived near Winchester; his name was Sewald, and he was further
known as "le tapenyr," which, according to M. G. Thomson, signifies

One is led to believe that tapestries were used as church adornments
before they were introduced into dwellings; for it was said, when
Queen Eleanor of Castile had her bedroom hung with tapestries, that
"it was like a church." At Westminster, a writer of 1631 alludes
to the "cloths of Arras which adorn the choir."

Sets of tapestries to hang entire apartments were known as "Hallings."
Among the tapestries which belonged to Charles V. was one "worked
with towers, fallow bucks and does, to put over the King's boat."
Among early recorded tapestries are those mentioned in the inventory
of Philip the Bold, in 1404, while that of Philip the Good tells of
his specimens, in 1420. Nothing can well be imagined more charming
than the description of a tapestried chamber in 1418; the room
being finished in white was decorated with paroquets and damsels
playing harps. This work was accomplished for the Duchess of Bavaria
by the tapestry maker, Jean of Florence.

Flanders tapestry was famous in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.
Arras particularly was the town celebrated for the beauty of its
work. This famous manufactory was founded prior to 1350, as there
is mention of work of that period. Before the town became known as
Arras, while it still retained its original name, Nomenticum, the
weavers were famous who worked there. In 282 A. D. the woven cloaks
of Nomenticum were spoken of by Flavius Vopiscus.

The earliest record of genuine Arras tapestry occurs in an order
from the Countess of Artois in 1313, when she directs her receiver
"de faire faire six tapis à Arras." Among the craftsmen at Arras
in 1389 was a Saracen, named Jehan de Croisètes, and in 1378 there
was a worker by the name of Huwart Wallois. Several of its workmen
emigrated to Lille, in the fifteenth century, among them one Simon
Lamoury and another, Jehan de Rausart. In 1419 the Council Chamber
of Ypres was ornamented with splendid tapestries by François de
Wechter, who designed them, and had them executed by Arras workmen.
The Van Eycks and Memlinc also designed tapestries, and there is no
doubt that the art would have continued to show a more consistent
regard for the demands of the material if Raphael had never executed
his brilliant cartoons. The effort to be Raphaelesque ruined the
effect of many a noble piece of technique, after that.

In 1302 a body of ten craftsmen formed a Corporation in Paris.
The names of several workmen at Lille have been handed down to
us. In 1318 Jehan Orghet is recorded, and in 1368, Willaume, a
high-warp worker. Penalties for false work were extreme. One of
the best known workers in France was Bataille, who was closely
followed by one Dourdain.


A famous Arras tapestry was made in 1386 by a weaver of the name
of Michel Bernard. It measured over two hundred and eighty-five
square yards, and represented the battle of Roosebecke. At this
time a tapestry worker lived, named Jehanne Aghehe, one of the
first attested women's names in connection with this art. In the
Treasury of the church of Douai there is mention of three cushions
made of high loom tapestry presented in 1386 by "la demoiselle
Englise." It is not known who this young lady may have been. France
and Flanders made the most desirable tapestries in the fourteenth
century. In Italy the art had little vogue until the fifteenth.

Very little tapestry was made in Spain in the Middle Ages,--the
earliest well known maker was named Gutierrez, in the time of Philip
IV. The picture by Velasquez, known as "The Weavers," represents
the interior of his manufactory.

A table cloth in mediæval times was called a "carpett:" these were
often very ornate, and it is useful to know that their use was not
for floor covering, for the inventories often mention "carpetts"
worked with pearls and silver tissue, which would have been singularly
inappropriate. The Arabs introduced the art of carpet weaving into
Spain. An Oriental, Edrisi, writing in the twelfth century, says
that such carpets were made at that time in Alicante, as could not
be produced elsewhere, owing to certain qualities in both air and
water which greatly benefited the wool used in their manufacture.

In the Travels of Jean Lagrange, the author says that all carpets
of Smyrna and Caramania are woven by women. As soon as a girl can
hold a shuttle, they stretch cords between two trees, to make a
warp, and then they give her all colours of wools, and leave her
to her own devices. They tell her, "It is for you to make your own
dowry." Then, according to the inborn art instinct of the child, she
begins her carpet. Naturally, traditions and association with others
engaged in the same pursuit assist in the scheme and arrangement;
usually the carpet is not finished until she is old enough to marry.
"Then," continues Lagrange, "two masters, two purchasers, present
themselves; the one carries off a carpet, and the other a wife."

Edward II.. of England owned a tapestry probably of English make,
described as "a green hanging of wool wove with figures of Kings
and Earls upon it." There was a roistering Britisher called John le
Tappistere, who was complained of by certain people near Oxford, as
having seized Master John of Shoreditch, and assaulted and imprisoned
him, confiscating his goods and charging him fifty pounds for ransom.
It is not stated what the gentleman from Shoreditch had done thus
to bring down upon him the wrath of John the weaver!

English weavers had rather the reputation of being fighters: in
1340 one George le Tapicier murdered John le Dextre of Leicester;
while Giles de la Hyde also slew Thomas Tapicier in 1385. Possibly
these rows occurred on account of a practical infringement upon
the manufacturing rights of others as set down in the rules of the
Company. There was a woman in Finch Lane who produced tapestry,
with a cotton back, "after the manner of the works of Arras:" this
was considered a dishonest business, and the work was ordered to
be burnt.

Roger van der Weyden designed a set of tapestries representing
the History of Herkinbald, the stern uncle who, with his own hand,
beheaded his nephew for wronging a young woman. Upon his death-bed,
Herkinbald refused to confess this act as a sin, claiming the murder
to have been justifiable and a positive virtue. Apparently the
Higher Powers were on his side, too, for, when the priest refused
the Eucharist to the impertinent Herkinbald, it is related that
the Host descended by a miracle and entered the lips of the dying
man. A dramatic story, of which van der Weyden made the most, in
designing his wonderfully decorative tapestries. The originals
were lost, but similar copies remain.

As early as 1441 tapestries were executed in Oudenardes; usually
these were composed of green foliage, and known as "verdures." In
time the names "verdure" and "Oudenarde" became interchangeably
associated with this class of tapestry. They represented woodland
and hunting scenes, and were also called "Tapestry verde," and
are alluded to by Chaucer.

Curious symbolic subjects were often used: for instance, for a
set of hangings for a banquet hall, what could be more whimsically
appropriate than the representation of "Dinner," giving a feast to
"Good Company," while "Banquet" and "Maladies" attack the guests!
This scene is followed by the arrest of "Souper" and "Banquet" by
"Experience," who condemns them both to die for their cruel treatment
of the Feasters!

There is an old poem written by a monk of Chester, named Bradshaw,
in which a large hall decorated with tapestries is described as

  "All herbs and flowers, fair and sweet,
   Were strawed in halls, and layd under their feet;
   Cloths of gold, and arras were hanged on the wall,
   Depainted with pictures and stories manifold
  Well wrought and craftely."

A set of tapestries was made by some of the monks of Troyes, who
worked upon the high loom, displaying scenes from the Life of the
Magdalen. This task was evidently not devoid of the lighter elements,
for in the bill, the good brothers made charge for such wine as
they drank "when they consulted together in regard to the life
of the Saint in question!"

Among the most interesting tapestries are those representing scenes
from the Wars of Troy, in South Kensington. They are crowded with
detail, and in this respect exhibit most satisfactorily the beauties
of the craft, which is enhanced by small intricacies, and rendered
less impressive when treated in broad masses of unrelieved woven
colour. Another magnificent set, bearing similar characteristics,
is the History of Clovis at Rheims.

There is a fascinating set of English tapestries representing the
Seasons, at Hatfield: these were probably woven at Barcheston.
The detail of minute animal and vegetable forms--the flora and
fauna, as it were in worsted--are unique for their conscientious
finish. They almost amount to catalogues of plants and beasts.
The one which displays Summer is a herbal and a Noah's Ark turned
loose about a full-sized Classical Deity, who presides in the centre
of the composition.

Among English makers of tapestries was a workman named John Bakes,
who was paid the magnificent sum of twelve pence a day, while in an
entry in another document he is said to have received only fourpence

The Hunting Tapestries belonging to the Duke of Devonshire are
as perfect specimens as any that exist of the best period of the
art. They are represented in colour in W. G. Thomson's admirable
work on Tapestries, and are thus available to most readers in some
public collection.

Another splendidly decorative specimen is at Hampton Court, being
a series of the Seven Deadly Sins. They measure about twenty-five
by thirteen feet each, and are worked in heavy wools and silks.

As technical facility developed, certain weaknesses began to show
themselves. Tapestry weavers had their favourite figures, which,
to save themselves trouble, they would often substitute for others
in the original design.

Arras tapestries were no longer made in the sixteenth
century, and the best work of that time was accomplished in the
Netherlands. About 1540 Brussels probably stood at the head of the
list of cities famous for the production of these costly textiles.
The Raphael tapestries were made there, by Peter van Aelst, under
the order of Pope Leo X. They were executed in the space of four
years, being finished in 1519, only a year before Raphael's death.

In the sixteenth century the Brussels workers began to make certain
"short cuts" not quite legitimate in an art of the highest standing,
such as touching up the faces with liquid dyes, and using the same
to enhance the effect after the work was finished. A law was passed
that this must not be done on any tapestry worth more than twelve
pence a yard. In spite of this trickery, the Netherlandish tapestries
led all others in popularity in that century.

It was almost invariable, especially in Flemish work, to treat
Scriptural subjects as dressed in the costume of the period in
which the tapestry happened to be made. When one sees the Prodigal
Son attired in a delightful Flemish costume of a well-appointed
dandy, and Adam presented to God the Father, both being clothed in
Netherlandish garments suitable for Burgomasters of the sixteenth
century, then we can believe that the following description, quoted
by the Countess of Wilton, is hardly overdrawn. "In a corner of
the apartment stood a bed, the tapestry of which was enwrought
with gaudy colours, representing Adam and Eve in the Garden
of Eden.... Adam was presenting our first mother with a large yellow
apple gathered from a tree which scarcely reached his knee....
To the left of Eve appeared a church, and a dark robed gentleman
holding something in his hand which looked like a pin cushion, but
doubtless was intended for a book; he seemed pointing to the holy
edifice, as if reminding them that they were not yet married! On
the ground lay the rib, out of which Eve, who stood a head higher
than Adam, had been formed: both of them were very respectably
clothed in the ancient Saxon costume; even the angel wore breeches,
which, being blue, contrasted well with his flaming red wings."

In France, the leading tapestry works were at Tours in the early
sixteenth century. A Flemish weaver, Jean Duval, started the work
there in 1540. Until 1552 he and his three sons laboured together
with great results, and they left a large number of craftsmen to
follow in their footsteps.

In Italy the art had almost died out in the early sixteenth century,
but revived in full and florid force under the Raphaelesque influence.

King René of Anjou collected tapestries so assiduously that the
care and repairing of them occupied the whole time of a staff of
workers, who were employed steadily, living in the palace, and
sleeping at night in the various apartments in which the hangings
were especially costly.

Queen Jeanne, the mother of Henri IV., was a skilled
worker in tapestry. To quote Miss Freer in the Life of Jeanne d'Albret,
"During the hours which the queen allowed herself for relaxation,
she worked tapestry and discoursed with some one of the learned men
whom she protected." This queen was of an active mental calibre and
one to whom physical repose was most repugnant. She was a regular
and pious attendant at church, but sitting still was torture to
her, and listening to the droning sermons put her to sleep. So,
with a courage to be admired, Jeanne "demanded permission from
the Synod to work tapestry during the sermon. This request was
granted; from thenceforth Queen Jeanne, bending decorously over
her tapestry frame, and busy with her needle, gave due attention."

The Chateau of Blois, during the reign of Louis XII. and Ann of
Brittany, is described as being regally appointed with tapestries:
"Those which were hung in the apartments of the king and queen,"
says the chronicler, "were all full of gold; and the tapestries
and embroideries of cloth of gold and of silk had others beneath
them ornamented with personages and histories as those were above.
Indeed, there was so great a number of rich tapestries, velvet
carpets, and bed coverings, of gold and silk, that there was not
a chamber, hall, or wardrobe, that was not full."

In an inventory of the Princess of Burgundy there occurs this curious
description of a tapestry: "The three tapestries of the Church
Militant, wrought in gold, whereon may be seen represented God Almighty
seated in majesty, and around him many cardinals, and below him many
princes who present to him a church."

Household luxury in England is indicated by a quaint writer in 1586:
"In noblemen's houses," he says, "it is not rare to see abundance of
arras, rich hangings, of tapestrie... Turkie wood, pewter, brasse,
and fine linen.... In times past the costly furniture stayed there,
whereas now it is discarded yet lower, even unto the inferior
artificers, and many farmers... have for the most part learned to
garnish their beds with tapestries and hangings, and their tables
with carpetts and fine napery."

Henry VIII. was devoted to tapestry collecting, also. An agent
who was buying for him in the Netherlands in 1538, wrote to the
king: "I have made a stay in my hands of two hundred ells of goodly
tapestry; there hath not been brought this twenty year eny so good
for the price." Henry VIII. had in his large collection many subjects,
among them such characteristic pieces as: "ten peeces of the rich
story of King David" (in which Bathsheba doubtless played an important
part), "seven peeces of the Stories of Ladies," "A peece with a man
and woman and a flagon," "A peece of verdure... having poppinjays
at the nether corners," "One peece of Susannah," "Six fine new
tapestries of the History of Helena and Paris."

A set of six "verdure" tapestries was owned by Cardinal Wolsey,
which "served for the hanging of Durham Hall of inferior days."
The hangings in a hall in Chester are described as depicting "Adam,
Noe, and his Shyppe." In 1563 a monk of Canterbury was mentioned as
a tapestry weaver. At York, Norwich, and other cities, were also to
be found "Arras Workers" during the sixteenth century.

There was an amusing law suit in 1598, which was brought by a gentleman,
Charles Lister, against one Mrs. Bridges, for accepting from him, on
the understanding of an engagement in marriage, a suite of tapestries
for her apartment. He sued for the return of his gifts!

Among the State Papers of James I., there is a letter in which
the King remarks "Sir Francis Crane desires to know if my baby
will have him to-hasten the making of that suite of tapestry that
he commanded him."

In Florence, the art flourished under the Medici. In 1546 a regular
Academy of instruction in tapestry weaving was set up, under the
direction of Flemish masters. All the leading artists of the Golden
Age furnished designs which, though frequently inappropriate for
being rendered in textile, were fine pictures, at any rate. In
Venice, too, there were work shops, but the influence of Italy was
Flemish in every case so far as technical instruction was concerned.
The most celebrated artists of the Renaissance made cartoons: Raphael,
Giulio Romano, Jouvenet, Le Brun, and numerous others, in various


The Gobelins work in Paris was inaugurated in the fifteenth century
under Jean Gobelins, a native of Rheims. His son, Philibert, and
later, many descendants persevered steadily at the work; the art
prospered under Francis I., the whole force of tapestry weavers being
brought together at Fontainebleau, and under Henry II., the direction
of the whole was given to the celebrated artist Philibert Delorme. In
1630 the Gobelins was fully established as a larger plant, and has
never made another move. The work has increased ever since those days,
on much the same general lines. Celebrated French artists have
designed tapestries: Watteau, Boucher, and others were interpreted
by the brilliant manager whose signature appears on the works,
Cozette, who was manager from 1736 until 1792. With this technical
perfection came the death of the art of tapestry: the pictures
might as well have been painted on canvas, and all feeling for the
material was lost, so that the naïve charm of the original workers
ceased to be a part of the production.

Among European collections now visible, the best is in Madrid,
where over six hundred tapestries may be seen, chiefly Flemish,
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The collection at the
Pitti Palace in Florence comprises six hundred, while in the Vatican
are preserved the original Raphael tapestries. South Kensington
Museum, too, is rich in interesting examples of various schools.
It is a very helpful collection to students, especially, although
not so large as some others.

In 1663, "two well intended statutes" were introduced dealing with
curiously opposite matters: one was to encourage linen and tapestry
manufacture in England, and the other was "for regulating the packing
of herrings!"

The famous English Mortlake tapestry manufactory was not established
until the seventeenth century, and that is rather late for us. The
progress of craftsmanship has been steady, especially at the Gobelins
in France. Many other centres of industry developed, however, in
various countries. The study of modern tapestry is a branch by
itself with which we are unable to concern ourselves now.



The materials used as groundwork for mediæval embroideries were
rich in themselves. Samit was the favourite--shimmering, and woven
originally of solid flat gold wire. Ciclatoun was also a brilliant
textile, as also was Cendal. Cendal silk is spoken of by early

The first use of silk is interesting to trace. A monopoly, a veritable
silk trust, was established in 533, in the Roman Empire. Women
were employed at the Court of Justinian to preside over the looms,
and the manufacture of silk was not allowed elsewhere. The only
hindrance to this scheme was that the silk itself had to be brought
from China. But in the reign of Justinian, two monks who had been
travelling in the Orient, brought to the emperor, as curiosities,
some silkworms and cocoons. They obtained some long hollow walking
sticks, which they packed full of silkworms' eggs, and thus imported
the producers of the raw material. The European silk industry, in
fabrics, embroideries, velvets, and such commodities, may owe its
origin to this bit of monastic enterprise in 550.

Silk garments were very costly, however, and it was
not every lady in early times who could have such luxuries. It is
said that even the Emperor Aurelian refused his wife her request
for just one single cloak of silk, saying: "No, I could never think
of buying such a thing, for it sells for its weight in gold!"

Fustian and taffeta were less costly, but frequently used in important
work, as also were sarcenet and camora. Velvet and satin were of later
date, not occurring until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Baudekin, a good silk and golden weave, was very popular.

Cut velvets with elaborate patterns were made in Genoa. The process
consisted in leaving the main ground in the original fine rib which
resulted from weaving, while in the pattern these little ribs were
split open, making that part of a different ply from the rest of
the material, in fact, being the finished velvet as we now know
it, while the ground remained uncut, and had more the appearance
of silk reps. Velvet is first mentioned in England in 1295, but
probably existed earlier on the Continent.

Both Roger de Wendover and Matthew Paris mention a stuff called
"imperial:" it was partly gold in weave, but there is some doubt
as to its actual texture.

Baudekin was a very costly textile of gold and silk which was used
largely in altar coverings and hangings, such as dossals; by degrees
the name became synonymous with "baldichin," and in Italy the whole
altar canopy is still called a _baldachino_.

During Royal Progresses the streets were always hung with rich cloth
of gold. As Chaucer makes allusion to streets

  "By ordinance throughout the city large
   Hanged with cloth of gold, and not with serge,"

so Leland tells how the Queen of Henry VII. was conducted to her
coronation and "all the stretes through which she should pass were
clenely dressed... with cloths of tapestry and Arras, and some
stretes, as Cheepe, hanged with rich cloths of gold, velvetts,
and silks." And in Machyn's Diary, he says that "as late as 1555
at Bow church in London, was hangyd with cloth of gold and with
rich Arras."

The word "satin" is derived from the silks of the Mediterranean,
called "aceytuni," which became "zetani" in Italian, and gradually
changed through French and English influence, to "satin." The first
mention of it in England is about 1350, when Bishop Grandison made
a gift of choice satins to Exeter Cathedral.

The Dalmatic of Charlemagne is embroidered on blue satin, although
this is a rare early example of the material. At Constantinople,
also, as early as 1204, Baldwin II. wore satin at his coronation.
It was nearly always made in a fiery red in the early days. It
is mentioned in a Welsh poem of the thirteenth century.

Benjamin of Tudela, a traveller who wrote in 1161, mentions that
the Jews were living in great numbers in Thebes, and that they
made silks there at that time. There is record that in the late
eleventh century a Norman Abbot brought home from Apulia a quantity
of heavy and fine silk, from which four copes were made. French
silks were not remarkable until the sixteenth century, while those
of the Netherlands led all others as early as the thirteenth.

Shot silks were popular in England in the sixteenth century. York
Cathedral possessed, in 1543, a "vestment of changeable taffety
for Good Friday."

St. Dunstan is reported to have once "tinted" a sacerdotal vestment
to oblige a lady, thus departing from his regular occupation as
goldsmith to perform the office of a dyer of stuff.

Many rich mediæval textiles were ornamented by designs, which usually
show interlaces and animal forms, and sometimes conventional floral
ornament. Patterns originated in the East, and, through Byzantine
influence, in Italy, and Saracenic in Spain, they were adopted and
modified by Europeans. In 1295 St. Paul's in London owned a hanging
"patterned with wheels and two-headed birds." Sicilian silks, and
many others of the contemporary textiles, display variations of
the "tree of life" pattern. This consists of a little conventional
shrub, sometimes hardly more than a "budding rod," with two birds
or animals advancing vis-à-vis on either side. Sometimes these
are two peacocks; often lions or leopards and frequently griffins
and various smaller animals. Whenever one sees a little tree or
a single stalk, no matter how conventionally treated, with a
couple of matched animals strutting up to each other on either
side, this pattern owes its origin to the old tradition of the
decorative motive usual in Persia and in Byzantium, the Tree of
Life, or Horn. The origin of patterns does not come within our
scope, and has been excellently treated in the various books of
Lewis Day, and other writers on this subject.

Textiles of Italian manufacture may be seen represented in the
paintings of the old masters: Orcagna, Francia, Crivelli, and others,
who delighted in the rendering of rich stuffs; later, they abound
in the creations of Veronese and Titian. A "favourite Italian
vegetable," as Dr. Rock quaintly expresses it, is the artichoke,
which, often, set in oval forms, is either outlined or worked solidly
in the fabric.

Almeria was a rich city in the thirteenth century, noted for its
textiles. A historian of that period writes: "Christians of all
nations came to its port to buy and to sell. From thence... they
travelled to other parts of the interior of the country, where
they loaded their vessels with such goods as they wanted. Costly
silken robes of the brightest colours are manufactured in Almeria."
Granada was famous too, a little later, for its silks and woven
goods. About 1562 Navagiero wrote: "All sorts of cloth and silks
are made there: the silks made at Granada are much esteemed all
over Spain; they are not so good as those that come from Italy.
There are several looms, but they do not yet know how to work them
well. They make good taffetas, sarcenet, and silk serges. The
velvets are not bad, but those that are made at Valencia are better
in quality."

Marco Polo says of the Persians in certain sections; "There are
excellent artificers in the cities, who make wonderful things in
gold, silk, and embroidery.... In veins of the mountains stones
are found, commonly called turquoises, and other jewels. There
also are made all sorts of arms and ammunition for war, and by the
women excellent needlework in silks, with all sorts of creatures
very admirably wrought therein." Marco Polo also reports the King
of Tartary as wearing on his birthday a most precious garment of
gold, while his barons wore the same, and had given them girdles of
gold and silver, and "pearls and garments of great price." This Khan
also "has the tenths of all wool, silk, and hemp, which he causes to
be made into clothes, in a house for that purpose appointed: for
all trades are bound one day in the week to serve him." He clothed
his armies with this tythe wool.

In Anglo-Saxon times a fabric composed of fine basket-weaving of
thin flat strips of pure gold was used; sometimes the flat metal
was woven on a warp of scarlet silk threads. Later strips of gilded
parchment were fraudulently substituted for the genuine flat metal
thread. Often the woof of gold strips was so solid and heavy that
it was necessary to have a silk warp of six strands, to support
its wear.

Gold cloth was of varying excellence, however: among the items in
an inventory for the Earl of Warwick in the time of Henry VI., there
is allusion to "one coat for My Lord's body, beat with fine gold;
two coats for heralds, beat with demi-gold."

It is generally assumed that the first wire-drawing machines were
made about 1360 in Germany; they were not used in England until
about 1560. Theophilus, however, in the eleventh century, tells
"Of the instruments through which wires are drawn," saying that
they consist of "two irons, three fingers in breadth, narrow above
and below, everywhere thin, and perforated with three or four ranges,
through which holes wires are drawn." This would seem to be a primitive
form of the more developed instrument. Wire drawing was introduced
into England by Christian Schutz about 1560. In 1623 was incorporated
in London, "The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wire-Drawers."
The preamble of their charter reads thus: "The Trade Art of Drawing
and flattening of gold and silver wire, and making and spinning
of gold and silver thread and stuffe." It seems as though there
were some kind of work that corresponded to wire-drawing, earlier
than its supposed introduction, for a petition was sent to King
Henry VI. in 1423, by the "wise and worthy Communes of London, &
the Wardens of Broderie in the said Citie," requesting protection
against "deceit and default in the work of divers persons occupying
the craft of embroidery;" and in 1461 "An act of Common Council
was passed respecting the gold-drawers," showing that the art was
known to some extent and practised at that time. In the reign of
George II., in 1742, "An act to prevent the counterfeiting of gold
and silver lace and for the settling and adjusting the proportions
of fine silver and silk, and for the better making of gold and silver
lace," was passed.

Ecclesiastical vestments were often trimmed with heavy gold fringe,
knotted "fretty wise," and the embroideries were further enriched
with jewels and small plaques of enamel. Matthew Paris relates a
circumstance of certain garments being so heavily weighted with
gold that the clergy could not walk in them, and, in order to get
the solid metal out again, it was necessary to burn the garments
and thus melt the gold.

Jewelled robes were often seen in the Middle Ages; a chasuble is
described as having been made for the Abbot of St. Albans, in the
twelfth century, which was practically covered with plaques of gold
and precious stones. Imagine the unpleasant physical sensation
of a bishop in 1404, who was obliged to wear a golden mitre of
which the ground was set with large pearls, bordered with balas
rubies, and sapphires, and trimmed with indefinite extra pearls!

The body of St. Cecilia, who was martyred in 230, was interred in
a garment of pure woven gold.

The cloth of solid gold which was used for state occasions was
called "tissue;" the thin paper in which it was wrapped when it
was laid away was known as tissue paper, and Mr. William Maskell
states that the name has clung to it, and that is why thin paper
is called "tissue paper" to-day.

St. Peter's in Rome possessed a great pair of silver curtains,
which hung at the entrance to the church, given by Pope Stephen
IV. in the eighth century.

Vitruvius tells how to preserve the gold in old embroidery, or
in worn-out textiles where the metal has been extensively used.
He says: "When gold is embroidered on a garment which is worn out,
and no longer fit for use, the cloth is burnt over the fire in
earthen pots. The ashes are thrown into water, and quicksilver
added to them. This collects all particles of gold, and unites
with them. The water is then poured off, and the residuum placed
in a cloth, which, when squeezed with the hands suffers the liquid
quicksilver to pass through the pores of the cloth, but retains
the gold in a mass within it."

An early allusion to asbestos woven as a cloth is made by Marco
Polo, showing that fire-proof fabrics were known in his time. In
the province of Chinchintalas, "there is a mountain wherein are
mines of steel... and also, as was reported, salamanders, of the
wool of which cloth was made, which if cast into the fire, cannot
burn. But that cloth is in reality made of stone in this manner,
as one of my companions a Turk, named Curifar, a man endued with
singular industry, informed me, who had charge of the minerals in
that province. A certain mineral is found in that mountain which
yields threads not unlike wool; and these being dried in the
sun, are bruised in a brazen mortar, and afterwards washed, and
whatsoever earthy substance sticks to them is taken away. Lastly,
these threads are spun like ordinary wool, and woven into cloth.
And when they would whiten those cloths, they cast them into the
fire for an hour, and then take them out unhurt whiter than snow.
After the same manner they cleanse them when they have taken any
spots, for no other washing is used to them, besides the fire."

In the Middle Ages it would have been possible, as Lady Alford
suggests, to play the game "Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral" with
textiles only! Between silk, hemp, cotton, gold, silver, wool,
flax, camel's hair, and asbestos, surely the three elements all
played their parts.

Since the first record of Eve having "sewn fig leaves together to
make aprons," women have used the needle in some form. In England,
it is said that the first needles were made by an Indian, in 1545,
before which time they were imported. The old play, "Gammer Gurton's
Needle," is based upon the extreme rarity of these domestic implements,
and the calamity occasioned in a family by their loss. There is a
curious old story about a needle, which was supposed to possess
magic powers. This needle is reported to have worked at night while
its owner was resting, saving her all personal responsibility about
her mending. When the old lady finally died, another owner claimed
this charmed needle, and began at once to test its powers. But, do
what she would, she was unable to force a thread through its obstinate
eye. At last, after trying all possible means to thread the needle,
she took a magnifying glass to examine and see what the impediment
was, and, lo! the eye of the needle was filled with a great tear,--it
was weeping for the loss of its old mistress, and no one was ever
able to thread it again!

Embroidery is usually regarded as strictly a woman's craft, but in
the Middle Ages the leading needleworkers were often men. The old
list of names given by Louis Farcy has almost an equal proportion of
workers of both sexes. But the finest work was certainly accomplished
by the conscientious dwellers in cloisters, and the nuns devoted
their vast leisure in those days to this art. Fuller observes:
"Nunneries were also good shee-schools, wherein the girls of the
neighbourhood were taught to read and work... that the sharpnesse
of their wits and suddennesse of their conceits (which even their
enemies must allow unto them!) might by education be improved into
a judicious solidity." In some of these schools the curriculum
included "Reading and sewing, threepence a week: a penny extra
for manners." An old thirteenth century work, called the "Kleine
Heldenbuch," contains a verse which may be thus translated:

  "Who taught me to embroider in a frame with silk?
   And to draw and design the wild and tame
   Beasts of the forest and field?
   Also to picture on plain surface:
   Round about to place golden borders,
   A narrow and a broader one,
   With stags and hinds lifelike."

A study of historic embroidery should be preceded by a general knowledge
of the principle stitches employed.

One of the simplest forms was chain stitch, in which one stitch
was taken through the loop of the stitch just laid. In the Middle
Ages it was often used. Sometimes, when the material was of a loose
weave, it was executed by means of a little hook--the probable
origin of crochet.

Tapestry stitch, of which one branch is cross-stitch, was formed by
laying close single stitches of uniform size upon a canvas specially
prepared for this work.


Fine embroidery in silk was usually executed in long smooth stitches
of irregular length, which merged into each other. This is generally
known as satin stitch, for the surface of the work is that of a satin
texture when the work is completed. This was frequently executed
upon linen, and then, when the entire surface had been hidden by the
close silk stitches, it was cut out and transferred on a brocade
background, this style of rendering being known as appliqué. Botticelli
recommended this work as most durable and satisfactory: it is oftenest
associated with church embroidery. A simple appliqué was also done
by cutting out pieces of one material and applying them to another,
hiding the edge-joinings by couching on a cord. As an improvement
upon painted banners to be used in processions, Botticelli introduced
this method of cutting out and resetting colours upon a different
ground. As Vasari says: "This he did that the colors might not
sink through, showing the tint of the cloth on each side." But
Dr. Rock points out that it is hardly fair to earlier artificers
to give the entire credit for this method of work to Botticelli,
since such cut work or appliqué was practised in Italy a hundred
years before Botticelli was born!

Sometimes solid masses of silk or gold thread were laid in ordered
flatness upon a material, and then sewn to it by long or short
stitches at right angles. This is known as couching, and is a very
effective way of economizing material by displaying it all on the
surface. As a rule, however, the surface wears off somewhat, but
it is possible to execute it so that it is as durable as embroidery
which has been rendered in separate stitches.

In Sicily it was a common practice to use coral in embroideries
as well as pearls. Coral work is usually called Sicilian work,
though it was also sometimes executed in Spain.

The garments worn by the Byzantines were very ornate; they were
made of woven silk and covered with elaborate devices. In the fourth
century the Bishop of Amasia ridiculed the extravagant dress of his
contemporaries. "When men appear in the streets thus dressed," he
says, "the passers by look at them as at painted walls. Their clothes
are pictures, which little children point out to one another. The
saintlier sort wear likenesses of Christ, the Marriage of Galilee,
and Lazarus raised from the dead." Allusion was made in a sermon:
"Persons who arrayed themselves like painted walls" "with beasts and
flowers all over them" were denounced!

In the early Dark Ages there was some prejudice against these rich
embroideries. In the sixth century the Bishop St. Cesaire of Arles
forbade his nuns to embroider robes with precious stones or painting
and flowers. King Withaf of Mercia willed to the Abbey of Croyland
"my purple mantle which I wore at my Coronation, to be made into
a cope, to be used by those who minister at the holy altar: and
also my golden veil, embroidered with the Siege of Troy, to be
hung up in the Church on my anniversary." St. Asterius preached to
his people, "Strive to follow in your lives the teachings of the
Gospel, rather than have the miracles of Our Redeemer embroidered
on your outward dress!" This prejudice, however, was not long lived,
and the embroidered vestments and garments continued to hold their
popularity all through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

It has been said on grave authority that "Woman is an animal that
delights in the toilette," while Petrarch, in 1366, recognized the
power of fashion over its votaries. "Who can see with patience,"
he writes, "the monstrous fantastical inventions which people of
our times have invented to deform rather than adorn their persons?
Who can behold without indignation their long pointed shoes, their
caps with feathers, their hair twisted and hanging down like
tails,... their bellies so cruelly squeezed with cords that they
suffer as much pain from vanity as the martyrs suffered for
religion!" And yet who shall say whether a "dress-reform" Laura would
have charmed any more surely the eye of the poet?

Chaucer, in England, also deplores the fashions of his day, alluding
to the "sinful costly array of clothing, namely, in too much superfluity
or else indisordinate scantiness!" Changing fashions have always been
the despair of writers who have tried to lay down rules for æsthetic
effect in dress. "An Englishman," says Harrison, "endeavouring
some time to write of our attire... when he saw what a difficult
piece of work he had taken in hand, he gave over his travail, and
onely drue a picture of a naked man unto whom he gave a pair of
shears in the one hand and a piece of cloth in the other, to the
end that he should shape his apparel after such fashion as himself
liked, sith he could find no garment that could please him any
while together: and this he called an Englishman."

Edward the Confessor wore State robes which had been beautifully
embroidered with gold by his accomplished wife, Edgitha. In the
Royal Rolls of Edward III., in 1335, we find allusion to two vests
of green velvet embroidered respectively with sea sirens and coats
of arms. The tunics worn over armour offered great opportunities to
the needleworker. They were richly embroidered, usually in heraldic
style. When Symon, Bishop of Ely, performed the ceremony of Churching
for Queen Philippa, the royal dame bestowed upon him the gown which
she wore on that occasion; it is described as a murrey-coloured
velvet, powdered with golden squirrels, and was of such voluminous
pattern that it was cut over into three copes! Bridal gowns were
sometimes given to churches, as well.

St. Louis of France was what might be called temperate in dress.
The Sire de Joinville says he "never saw a single embroidered coat
or ornamented saddle in the possession of the king, and reproved
his son for having such things. I replied that he would have acted
better if he had given them in charity, and had his dress made of
good sendal, lined and strengthened with his arms, like as the
king his father had done!"

At the marriage of the Lord of Touraine in 1389, the Duke of Burgundy
presented magnificent habits and clothing to his nephew the Count
of Nevers: among these were tunics, ornamented with embroidered
trees conventionally displayed on their backs, fronts, and sleeves;
others showed heraldic blazonry, while a blue velvet tunic was
covered with balas rubies set in pearls, alternating with suns
of solid gold with great solitaire pearls as centres. Again, in
1390, when the king visited Dijon, he presented to the same nephew a
set of harnesses for jousting. Some of them were composed largely of
sheets of beaten gold and silver. In some gold and silver marguerites
were introduced also.

Savonarola reproved the Florentine nuns for employing
their valuable time in manufacturing "gold laces with which to
adorn persons and houses." The Florentine gold lace was very popular
in England, in the days of Henry VIII., and later the art was taken
up by the "wire-drawers" of England, and a native industry took the
place of the imported article. Among prohibited gowns in Florence
was one owned by Donna Francesca degli Albizi, "a black mantle of
raised cloth: the ground is yellow, and over it are woven birds,
parrots, butterflies, red and white roses, and many figures in
vermilion and green, with pavilions and dragons, and yellow and
black letters and trees, and many other figures of various colours,
the whole lined with cloth in hues of black and vermilion." As
one reads this description, it seems as though the artistic sense
as much as conscientious scruples might have revolted and led to
its banishment!

Costumes for tournaments were also lavish in their splendour. In
1467 Benedetto Salutati ordered made for such a pageant all the
trappings for two horses, worked in two hundred pounds of silver
by Pollajuolo; thirty pounds of pearls were also used to trim the
garments of the sergeants. No wonder Savonarola was enthusiastic
in his denunciation of such extravagance.

Henry VIII. had "a pair of hose of purple silk and Venice gold,
woven like a caul." For one of his favoured lady friends, also,
there is an item, of a certain sum paid, for one pound of gold
for embroidering a nightgown.

The unrivalled excellence of English woollen cloths was made manifest
at an early period. There was a fabric produced at Norwich of such
superiority that a law was passed prohibiting monks from wearing it,
the reason being that it was considered "smart enough for military
men!" This was in 1422. The name of Worsted was given to a certain
wool because it was made at Worsted, a town in Norfolk; later the
"worsted thread" was sold for needleworkers.

Ladies made their own gold thread in the Middle Ages by winding
a fine flat gold wire, scarcely of more body than a foil, around
a silk thread.

Patches were embroidered into place upon such clothes or vestments
as were torn: those who did this work were as well recognized as
the original designers, and were called "healers" of clothes!

Embroidered bed hangings were very much in order in mediæval times
in England. In the eleventh century there lived a woman who had
emigrated from the Hebrides, and who had the reputation for witchcraft,
chiefly based upon the unusually exquisite needlework on her bed
curtains! The name of this reputed sorceress was Thergunna. Bequests
in important wills indicate the sumptuous styles which were usual
among people of position. The Fair Maid of Kent left to her son her
"new bed curtains of red velvet, embroidered with ostrich feathers
of silver, and heads of leopards of gold," while in 1380 the Earl
of March bequeathed his "large bed of black satin embroidered with
white lions and gold roses, and the escutcheons of the arms of
Mortimer and Ulster." This outfit must have resembled a Parisian
"first class" funeral! The widow of Henry II. slept in a sort of
mourning couch of black velvet, which must have made her feel as if
she too were laid out for her own burial!

A child's bedquilt was found mentioned in an inventory of furniture
at the Priory of Durham, in 1446, which was embroidered in the
four corners with the Evangelistic symbols. In the "Squier of Lowe
Degree," a fifteenth century romance, there is allusion to a bed,
of which the head sheet is described "with diamonds set and rubies
bright." The king of England, in 1388, refers, in a letter, to "a bed
of gold cloth." Wall hangings in bedrooms were also most elaborate,
and the effect of a chamber adorned with gold and needlework must
have been fairly regal. An embroiderer named Delobel made a set
of furnishings for the bedroom of Louis XIV. the work upon which
occupied three years. The subject was the Triumph of Venus.

In South Kensington Museum there is a fourteenth century linen cloth
of German workmanship, upon which occurs the legend of the unicorn,
running for protection to a maiden. An old Bestiary describes how
the unicorn, or as it is there called, the "monocerus," "is an
animal which has one horn on its head: it is caught by means of
a virgin." The unicorn and virgin, with a hunter in pursuit, is
quite a favourite bit of symbolism in the middle ages.

Another interesting piece of German embroidery in South Kensington
is a table cloth, worked on heavy canvas, in heraldic style: long
decorative inscriptions embellish the corners. A liberal translation
of these verses is given by Dr. Rock, some of the sentences being
quaint and interesting to quote. Evidently the embroideress indulged
in autobiography in the following: "And she, to honour the esquire
her husband, wished to adorn and increase his house furniture, and
there has worked, with her own hand, this and still many other
pretty cloths, to her memory." And in another corner, "Now follows
here my own birthday. When one wrote 1565 my mother's heart was
gladdened by my first cry. In the year 1585 I gave birth my self
to a daughter. Her name is Emilia Catharina, and she has been a
proper and praiseworthy child." Then, to her children the following
address is directed: "Do not forget your prayers in the morning. And
be temperate in your pleasures. And make yourselves acquainted with
the Word of God.... I beseech you to be sincere in all matters. That
will make you great and glorious. Honour everybody according to his
station: it will make you honourably known. You, my truly beloved sons,
beware of fiery wines... you, my truly beloved daughters, preserve
and guard your honour, and reflect before you do anything: many have
been led into evil by acting first and thinking afterwards." In
another compartment, a lament goes up in which she deplores the
death of her husband. "His age was sixty and eight years," she says.
"The dropsy has killed him. I, his afflicted Anna Blickin von
Liechtenperg who was left behind, have related it with my hand in
this cloth, that might be known to my children this greater sorrow
which God has sent me." The cloth is a naïve and unusual record of
German home life.

Ecclesiastical embroidery began in the fourth century. In earliest
days the work was enhanced with quantities of gold thread. The shroud
in which St. Cuthbert's body was wrapped is a mass of gold: a Latin
inscription on the vestments in which the body was clad may be thus
translated: "Queen to Alfred's son and successor, Edward the Elder,
was one Aelflaed, who caused this stole and maniple to be made for a
gift to Fridestan consecrated Bishop of Winchester, A. D. 905." The
maniple is of "woven gold, with spaces left vacant for needlework
embroidery." Such garments for burial were not uncommon; but they
have as a rule perished from their long residence underground.
St. Cuthbert's vestments are splendid examples of tenth century
work in England. After the death of King Edward II., and his wife
Aelflaed, Bishop Frithestan also having passed away, Athelstan, as
King, made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Cuthbert and bestowed
these valuable embroideries there. They were removed from the body
of the saint in 1827. The style of the work inclines to Byzantine.
The Saxon embroideries must have been very decorative: a robe is
described by Aldhelme in 709, as "of a most delicate thread of
purple, adorned with black circles and peacocks." At the church at
Croyland some vestments were decorated with birds of gold cut out
and appliqué and at Exeter they had "nothing about them but true

In the "Liber Eliensis," in the Muniment room at Ely, is an account
of a gift to the church by Queen Emma, the wife of King Knut, who
"on a certain day came to Ely in a boat, accompanied by his wife
the Queen Emma, and the chief nobles of his kingdom." This royal
present was "a purple cloth worked with gold and set with jewels
for St. Awdry's shrine," and the Monk Thomas assures us that "none
other could be found in the kingdom of the English of such richness
and beauty of workmanship."

The various stitches in English work had their several names, the
opus plumarium, or straight overlapping stitches, resembling the
feathers of a bird; the opus pluvarium, or cross stitch, and many
others. A great deal of work was accomplished by means of appliqué
in satin and silk, and sometimes the ground was painted, as has
already been described in Italian work. In the year 1246 Matthew
Paris writes: "About this time the Lord Pope, Innocent IV., having
observed that the ecclesiastical ornaments of some Englishmen,
such as choristers' copes and mitres, were embroidered in gold
thread, after a very desirable fashion, asked where these works
were made, and received in answer, 'England.' Then," said the Pope,
"England is surely a garden of delight for us; it is truly a never
failing Spring, and there where many things abound much may be
extorted." This far sighted Pope, with his semi-commercial views,
availed himself of his discovery.

In the days of Anastatius, ecclesiastical garments were spoken of
by name according to the motive of their designs: for instance,
the "peacock garment," the "elephant chasuble," and the "lion cope."
Fuller tells of the use of a pall as an ecclesiastical vestment,
remarking tersely: "It is made up of lamb's wool and superstition."

Mediæval embroiderers in England got into certain habits of work, so
that there are some designs which are almost as hall-marks to English
work; the Cherubim over the wheel is especially characteristic, as
is also the vase of lilies, and various heraldic devices which are
less frequently found in the embroidered work of European peoples.

The Syon Cope is perhaps the most conspicuous example of the mediæval
embroiderer's art. It was made by nuns about the end of the thirteenth
century, in a convent near Coventry. It is solid stitchery on a
canvas ground, "wrought about with divers colours" on green. The
design is laid out in a series of interlacing square forms, with
rounded and barbed sides and corners. In each of these is a figure
or a scriptural scene. The orphreys, or straight borders which go
down both fronts of the cope, are decorated with heraldic charges.
Much of the embroidery is raised, and wrought in the stitch known
as Opus Anglicanum. The effect was produced by pressing a heated
metal knob into the work at such points as were to be raised. The
real embroidery was executed on a flat surface, and then bossed up
by this means until it looked like bas-relief. The stitches in every
part run in zig-zags, the vestments, and even the nimbi about the
heads, are all executed with the stitches slanting in one direction,
from the centre of the cope outward, without consideration of the
positions of the figures. Each face is worked in circular progression
outward from the centre, as well. The interlaces are of crimson, and
look well on the green ground. The wheeled Cherubim is well developed
in the design of this famous cope, and is a pleasing decorative bit of
archaic ecclesiasticism. In the central design of the Crucifixion,
the figure of the Lord is rendered in silver on a gold ground. The
anatomy is according to the rules laid down by an old sermonizer,
in a book entitled "The Festival," wherein it is stated that the
body of Christ was "drawn on the cross as a skin of parchment on a
harrow, so that all his bones might be told." With such instruction,
there was nothing left for the mediæval embroiderers but to render
the figure with as much realistic emaciation as possible.

The heraldic ornaments on the Syon Cope are especially interesting
to all students of this graceful art. It is not our purpose here
to make much allusion to this aspect of the work, but it is of
general interest to know that on the orphreys, the devices of most
of the noble families of that day appear.


English embroidery fell off greatly in excellence during the Wars
of the Roses. In the later somewhat degenerate raised embroidery,
it was customary to represent the hair of angels by little tufted
curls of auburn silk!

Many of the most important examples of ancient ecclesiastical embroidery
are in South Kensington Museum. A pair of orphreys of the fifteenth
century, of German work (probably made at Cologne), shows a little
choir of angels playing on musical instruments. These figures are
cut out and applied on crimson silk, in what was called "cut work."
This differed entirely from what modern embroiderers mean by cut
work, as has been explained.

The Dalmatic of Charlemagne is given by Louis Farcy to the twelfth
century. He calls it the Dalmatic of Leo III. But Lady Alford claims
for this work a greater antiquity. Certainly, as one studies its
details, one is convinced that it is not quite a Gothic work, nor
yet is it Byzantine; for the figures have all the grace of Greek
work prior to the age of Byzantine stiffness. It is embroidered
chiefly in gold, on a delicate bluish satin ground, and has not
been transferred, although it has been carefully restored. The
central ornament on the front is a circular composition, and the
arrangement of the figures both here and on the back suggests that
Sir Edward Burne Jones must have made a study of this magnificent
dalmatic, from which it would seem that much of his inspiration
might have been drawn. The composition is singularly restful and
rhythmical. The little black outlines to the white silk faces, and
to the glowing figures, give this work a peculiarly decorative
quality, not often seen in other embroideries of the period. It is
unique and one of the most valuable examples of its art in the world.
It is now in the Treasury of the Vatican. When Charlemagne sang the
Gospel at High Mass on the day of his Coronation, this was his
vestment. It must have been a strangely gorgeous sight when Cola di
Rienzi, according to Lord Lindsay, took this dalmatic, and placed it
over his armour, and, with his crown and truncheon, ascended to the
palace of the Popes!

A very curious Italian piece of the fourteenth century is an altar
frontal, on which the subjects introduced are strange. It displays
scenes from the life of St. Ubaldo, with some incidents also in
that of St. Julian Hospitaler. St. Ubaldo is seen forgiving a mason
who, having run a wall across his private grounds, had knocked
the saint down for remonstrating. Another scene shows the death
bed of the saint, and the conversion of a possessed man at the
foot of the bed: a lady is throwing her arms above her head in
astonishment while the evil spirit flies from its victim into the
air. Later, the saint is seen going to the grave in a cart drawn
by oxen.


The peacock was symbolical both of knightly vigilance and of Christian
watchfulness. An old Anglo-Norman, Osmont, writes: "The eye-speckled
feathers should warn a man that never too often can he have his
eyes wide open, and gaze inwardly upon his own heart." These
dear people were so introspective and self-conscious, always looking
for trouble--in their own motives, even--that no doubt many good
impulses perished unnoticed, while the originator was chasing mental
phantoms of heresy and impurity.

Painting and jewelry were sometimes introduced in connection with
embroideries. In the celebrated Cope of St. John Lateran, the faces
and hands of the personages are rendered in painting; but this
method was more generally adopted in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, when sincerity counted for less than effect, and when
genuine religious fervour for giving one's time and best labour to
the Lord's service no longer dominated the workers. Gold thread was
used extensively in English work, and spangles were added at quite
an early period, as well as actual jewels set in floral designs.
The finest work was accomplished in the Gothic period, before the
Renaissance came with its aimless scrolls to detract from the dignity
of churchly ornament.

In the sixteenth century the winged angels have often a degenerate
similitude to tightly laced coryphées, who balance themselves upon
their wheels as if they were performing a vaudeville turn. They
are not as dignified as their archaic predecessors.

Very rich funeral palls were in vogue in the sixteenth century. A
description of Prince Arthur's burial in 1502 relates how numerous
palls were bestowed, apparently much as friends would send wreaths
or important floral tributes to-day. "The Lord Powys went to the
Queere Doore," writes Leland, "where two gentlemen ushers delivered
him a riche pall of cloth of gould of tissue, which he offered to
the corpse, where two Officers of the Armes received it, and laid it
along the corpse. The Lord Dudley in like manner offered a pall...
the Lord Grey Ruthen offered another, and every each of the three
Earls offered to the corpse three palls of the same cloth of gould...
all the palls were layd crosse over the corpse."

The account of the obsequies of Henry VII. also contains mention
of these funeral palls: the Earls and Dukes came in procession,
from the Vestry, with "certain palls, which everie of them did
bring solemnly between their hands and coming in order one before
another as they were in degree, unto the said herse, they kissed
their said palls... and laid them upon the King's corpse." At Ann
of Cleves' burial the same thing was repeated, in 1557. Finally
these rich shimmering hangings came to be known in England as "cloth
of pall," whether they were used for funerals or coronations, for
bridals or pageants.

The London City Guilds possessed magnificent palls; especially
well known is that of the Fishmongers, with its kneeling angels
swinging censers; this pall is frequently reproduced in works on
embroidery. It is embroidered magnificently with angels, saints,
and strange to say, mermaids. The peacock's wings of the angels
make a most decorative feature in this famous piece of old
embroidery. The Arms of the Company are also emblazoned.

French embroiderers are known by name in many instances; in 1299
allusion was made to "Clement le Brodeur," who furnished a cope for
the Count of Artois, and in 1316 a magnificent set of hangings was
made for the Queen, by one Gautier de Poulleigny. Nicolas Waquier was
armourer and embroiderer to King John in 1352. Among Court workers in
1384 were Perrin Gale, and Henriet Gautier. In the "Book of Rules"
by Etienne Boileau, governing the "Embroiderers and embroideresses
of the City of Paris," one of the chief laws was that no work should
be permitted in the evening, "because the work of the night cannot
be so good or so satisfactory as that accomplished in the day."
When one remembers the facilities for evening lighting in the middle
ages, one fully appreciates the truth of this statement.

Matthew Paris, in his Life of St. Alban, tells of an excellent
embroideress, Christine, Prioress of Margate, who lived in the
middle of the twelfth century. In the thirteenth century several
names occur. Adam de Bazinge made, in 1241, by order of Henry III.
of England, a cope for the Bishop of Hereford. Cunegonde, Abbess
of Goss, in Styria, accomplished numerous important works in that
period. Also, Henry III. employed Jean de Sumercote to make jewelled
robes of state.

On a certain thirteenth century chasuble are the words
"Penne fit me" (Penne made me), pointing to the existence of a
needleworker of that name. Among the names of the fourteenth century
are those of Gautier de Bruceles, Renier de Treit, Gautier de Poulogne,
and Jean de Laon, while Jean Harent of Calais is recorded as having
worked, for Mme. d'Artois, in 1319, a robe decorated "a bestelettes
et a testes." These names prove that the art had been taught in
many cities and countries: Ogier de Gant, Jean de Savoie, Etienne
le Hongre, and Roger de Varennes, all suggest a cosmopolitan and
dispersed number of workers, who finally all appeared in Paris.

René d'Anjou had in his employ a worker in embroidery, named Pierre
du Villant. This artist executed a set of needlework pieces for
the Cathedral of Angers, of such important proportions that they
were known collectively as "La Grande Broderie." In 1462, when
they were put in place, a special mass was performed by way of a
dedication. The letter which accompanied this princely donation
contained the following sentences: "We, René, by the Grace of God...
give... to this church... the adornments for a chapell all composd
of golden embroidery, comprising five pieces" (which are enumerated)
"and an altar cloth illustrated with scenes from the Passion of
Our Saviour.... Given in our castle in Angers, the fourth day of
March, 1462. René."


In 1479 another altar frontal was presented. Two other rich chapels
were endowed by René. One was known as La Chapelle Joyeuse, and the
other as La Grande Chapelle des Trépassés. It is likely that the
same embroiderer executed the pieces of all these.

A guild of embroiderers was in standing in Seville in 1433, where
Ordinances were enforced to protect from fraud and otherwise to
regulate this industry. The same laws were in existence in Toledo.
One of the finest and largest pieces of embroidery in Spain is
known as the Tent of Ferdinand and Isabella. This was used in 1488,
when certain English Ambassadors were entertained. The following
is their description of its use. "After the tilting was over, the
majesties returned to the palace, and took the Ambassadors with
them, and entered a large room... and there they sat under a rich
cloth of state of crimson velvet, richly embroidered, with the
arms of Castile and Aragon."

A curious effect must have been produced by a piece of embroidery
described in the inventory of Charles V., as "two little pillows
with savage beasts having the heads of armed men, and garnished
with pearls."

After the Reformation it became customary to use ecclesiastical
ornaments for domestic purposes. Heylin, in his "History of the
Reformation," makes mention of many "private men's parlours" which
"were hung with altar cloths, and their tables and beds covered
with copes instead of carpetts and coverlids."

Katherine of Aragon, while the wife of Henry VIII., consoled herself
in her unsatisfactory life by needlework: it is related that she
and her ladies "occupied themselves working with their own hands
something wrought in needlework, costly and artificially, which she
intended to the honour of God to bestow upon some churches."
Katherine of Aragon was such a devoted needlewoman, in fact, that on
one occasion Burnet records that she stepped out to speak to two
ambassadors, with a skein of silk about her neck, and explained that
she had been embroidering with her ladies when they were announced.
In an old sonnet she is thus commemorated:

  "She to the eighth king Henry married was
   And afterwards divorced, when virtuously,
   Although a queen, yet she her days did pass
   In working with the needle curiously."

Queen Elizabeth was also a clever embroiderer; she worked a book-cover
for Katherine Parr, bearing the initials K. P., and it is now in
the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Mary Queen of Scots was also said to be skilful with her needle;
in fact it seems to have been the consolation of most queens in
their restricted existence in those centuries. Dr. Rock considers
that the "corporal" which Mary Queen of Scots had bound about her
eyes at the time of her execution, was in reality a piece of her own
needle-work, probably wrought upon fine linen. Knight, in describing
the scene in his "Picturesque History of England," says: "Then the
maid Kennedy took a handkerchief edged with gold, in which the
Eucharist had formerly been enclosed, and fastened it over her eyes;"
so accounts differ and traditions allow considerable scope for varied
preferred interpretation.

It is stated that Catherine de Medicis was fond of needlework,
passing her evenings embroidering in silk "which was as perfect
as was possible," says Brantôme.

Anne of Brittany instructed three hundred of the children of the
nobles at her court, in the use of the needle. These children produced
several tapestries, which were presented by the queen to various

The volatile Countess of Shrewsbury, the much married "Bess of
Hardwick," was a good embroideress, who worked, probably, in company
with the Queen of Scots when that unfortunate woman was under the
guardianship of the Earl of Shrewsbury. One of these pieces is
signed E. S., and dated 1590.

A form of intricate pattern embroidery in black silk on fine linen
was executed in Spain in the sixteenth century, and was known as
"black work." Viscount Falkland owns some important specimens of
this curious work. It was introduced into England by Katherine of
Aragon, and became very popular, being exceedingly suitable and
serviceable for personal adornment. The black was often relieved
by gold or silver thread.

The Petit Point, or single square stitch on canvas, became popular
in England during the reign Elizabeth. It suggested Gobelins tapestry,
on a small scale, when finished, although the method of execution
is quite different, being needlework pure and simple.

In Elizabeth's time was incorporated the London
Company of Broderers, which flourished until about the reign of
Charles I., when there is a complaint registered that "trade was
so much decayed and grown out of use, that a great part of the
company, for want of employment, were much impoverished."

Raised embroidery, when it was padded with cotton, was called Stump
Work. This was made extensively by the nuns of Little Gidding in
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Decided changes and
developments took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
in all forms of embroidery, but these are not for us to consider
at present. A study of historic samples alone is most tempting,
but there is no space for the intrusion of any subject much later
than the Renaissance.



(_France and Italy_)

Sculpture is not properly speaking the "plastic art," as is often
understood. The real meaning of sculpture is work which is cut
into form, whereas plastic art is work that is moulded or cast
into form. Terra cotta, which is afterwards baked, is plastic;
and yet becomes hard; thus a Tanagra figurine is an example of
plastic art, while a Florentine marble statuette is a product of
sculpture. The two are often confounded. We shall allude to them
under different heads, taking for our consideration now only such
sculpture as is the result of cutting in the stone. The work of
Luca Della Robbia will not be treated as sculpture in this book.
Luca Della Robbia is a worker in plastic art, while Adam Kraft,
hewing directly at the stone, is a sculptor.

We have no occasion to study the art of the sculptor who produces
actual statues; only so far as sculpture is a companion to architecture,
and a decorative art, does it come within the scope of the arts and
crafts. Figure sculpture, then, is only considered when strictly
of a monumental character.

In attacking such a subject as sculpture in the Middle Ages it
is impossible to do more than indicate the general tendencies in
different countries. But there are certain defined characteristics an
observance of which will make clear to any reader various fundamental
principles by which it is easy to determine the approximate age and
style of works.

In the first place, the great general rule of treatment of stone
in the North and in the South is to be mentioned. In the Northern
countries, France, Germany, and England, the stone which was employed
for buildings and their decorations was obtainable in large blocks
and masses; it was what, for our purposes, we will call ordinary
stone, and could be used in the solid; therefore it was possible
for carving in the North to be rendered as deeply and as roundly as
the sculptor desired. In Southern countries, however, and chiefly in
Italy, the stone used for building was not ordinary, but semi-precious
stone. Marble, porphyry, and alabaster were available; and the use
of such material led to a different ideal in architecture and
decoration,--that of incrustation instead of solid piling. These
valuable stones of Italy could not be used, generally speaking,
in vast blocks, into which the chisel was at liberty to plough as
it pleased; when a mass of marble or alabaster was obtained, the
æsthetic soul of the Italian craftsman revolted against shutting
up all that beauty of veining and texture in the confines of a
solid square, of which only the two sides should ever be visible,
and often only one. So he cut his precious block into slices: made
slabs and shallow surfaces of it, and these he laid, as an outward
adornment to his building, upon a substructure of brick or rubble.

It is easy to perceive, then, the difference of the problem of the
sculptors of the North and the South. The plain, solid Northern
building was capable of unlimited enrichment by carving; this carving,
when deeply cut, with forcible projection, acted as a noble
embellishment in which the principal feature was a varied play of
light and shade; the stone having little charm of colour or texture
in itself, depended for its beauty entirely upon its bold relief,
its rounded statuary, and its well shaped chiselled ornament. The
shallow surface, already beautiful, both in colour and texture,
in the Southern building material, called only for enrichment in
low relief: ornament only slightly raised from the level or simply
perforating the thin slab of glowing stone on which it was used
was the more usual choice of the Italian craftsman.

This statement applies, of course, only to general principles of
the art of sculpture; there is some flat bas-relief in the North,
and some rounded sculpture in the South; but as a rule the tendencies
are as they have just been outlined.

Another difference between sculpture in the North and South is
due to the fact that in Italy the work was individual, as a rule,
and in France it was the labour of a Guild or company. In Italy
it is usually known who was the author of any striking piece of
sculpture, while in France it is the exception when a work is signed,
or the names of artisans recorded. In Italy, then, each piece was
made more with a view to its own display, than as a part of a
building, while in France statuary was regarded as an integral part
of the architecture, and rows of figures were used as commonly as
rows of columns in Italy. It is tragic to think of the personal skill
and brilliancy of all these great French craftsmen being absorbed in
one general reputation, while there were undoubtedly among them great
art personalities who would have stood equally with the Pisani if
they had been recognized.

A good deal of flat carving, especially in the interlace and acanthus
of Ravenna, was accomplished by commencing with a series of drilled
holes, which were afterwards channelled into each other and formed
patterns. When the subsequent finish is not particularly delicate,
it is quite easy to detect these symmetrical holes, but the effect,
under the circumstances, is not objectionable.


The process of cutting a bas-relief was generally to outline the
whole with an incision, and then cut away the background, leaving
the simple elevated flat value, the shape of the proposed design.
The modelling was then added by degrees, until the figure looked
like half of a rounded object. While it is often unpractical to refer
one's readers to examples of work in far and various countries, and
advise them instantly to examine them, it is frequently possible
to call attention to well-produced plates in certain modern
art books which are in nearly every public library. To understand
thoroughly the use of the drill in flat sculpture, I wish my
readers would refer to Fig. 121 in Mr. Russell Sturgis's "Artist's
Way of Working," Vol. II.

In a quaint treatise on Belles Lettres in France nearly two centuries
ago, by Carlencas, the writer says: "It is to no great purpose to
speak of the Gothick sculptures: for everybody knows that they
are the works of a rude art, formed in spite of nature and rules:
sad productions of barbrous and dull spirits, which disfigure our
old churches." Fie on a Frenchman who could so express himself! We
recall the story of how Viollet le Duc made the people of Paris
appreciate the wonderful carvings on Notre Dame. All the rage in
France was for Greek and Roman remains, and the people persisted
in their adoration of the antique, but would not deign to look
nearer home, at their great mediæval works of art. So the architect
had plaster casts made of the principal figures on the cathedral,
and these were treated so as to look like ancient marble statues;
he then opened an exhibition, purporting to show new discoveries
and excavations among antiques. The exhibition was thronged, and
everyone was deeply interested, expressing the greatest admiration
for the marvellously expressive sculptures. Viollet le Duc then
admitted what he had done, and confessing that these treasures
were to be found in their native city, advised them to pay more
attention to the beauties of Gothic art in Paris.

We will not enter into a discussion of the relative merits of Northern
and Southern art; whether the great revival really originated in
France or Italy; but this is certain: Nicolo Pisano lived in the
latter half of the thirteenth century, while the great sculptures
of Notre Dame, Paris, and those of Chartres, were executed half
a century earlier.

But prior to either were the Byzantine and Romanesque sculptures
in Italy and Southern France. Our attention must first be turned
to them. Charles Eliot Norton's definition of this word Romanesque
is as satisfactory as any that could be instanced: "It very nearly
corresponds to the term of Romance as applied to language. It signifies
the derivation of the main elements, both in plan and construction,
from the works of the later Roman Empire. But Romanesque architecture"
(and this applies equally to sculpture) "was not, as it has been
called, a corrupted imitation of the Roman architecture, any more
than the Provençal or the Italian language was a corrupted imitation
of the Latin. It was a new thing, the slowly matured product of
a long period of many influences."

All mediæval carving was subordinate to architecture, therefore
every piece of carving was designed with a view to being suitable to
appear in some special place. The most striking difference between
mediæval and later sculpture is that the latter is designed as
a thing apart, an object to be stood anywhere to be admired for
its intrinsic merit, instead of being a functional component
in a general scheme for beautifying a given building.

The use of the interlace in all primitive arts is very interesting.
It undoubtedly began in an unconscious imitation of local architecture.
For instance, in the British Isles, the building in earliest times
was with wattles: practically walls of basket work. William of
Malmsbury says that Glastonbury was "a mean structure of wattle
work," while of the Monastery of Iona, it is related that in 563,
Columba "sent forth his monks to gather twigs to build his hospice."
British baskets were famous even so far away as Rome. So the first
idea of ornament was to copy the interlacing forms. The same idea
was worked out synchronously in metal work, and in illuminated
books. Carving in stone, wood, and ivory, show the same influence.

Debased Roman sculptural forms were used in Italy during the fourth
and fifth centuries. Then Justinian introduced the Byzantine which
was grafted upon the Roman, producing a characteristic and fascinating
though barbaric combination. This was the Romanesque, or
Romano-Byzantine, in the North of Italy generally being recognized
as the Lombard style. The sculptures of this period, from the fifth
to the thirteenth century, are blunt and heavy, but full of quaint
expression due to the elemental and immature conditions of the
art. Many of the old Byzantine carvings are to be seen in Italy.

The Lombards, when invading Northern Italy,
brought with them a mighty smith, Paul the Deacon, who had much
skill with the hammer. When these rude Norsemen found themselves
among the æsthetic treasures of Byzantium, and saw the fair Italian
marbles, and the stately work of Theodoric and Justinian, they were
inflamed with zeal for artistic expression, and began to hew and
carve rough but spirited forms out of the Pisan and Carrara stones.
The animals which they sculptured were, as Ruskin has said, "all alive:
hungry and fierce, wild, with a life-like spring." The Byzantine
work was quiescent: the designs formal, decent, and monumental. But
the Lombards threw into their work their own restless energy, and
some of their cruelty and relentlessness. Queen Theodolinda, in
her palace at Monza, encouraged the arts; it was because of her
appreciative comprehension of such things that St. Gregory sent
her the famous Iron Crown, of which a description has been given, on
the occasion of the baptism of her son. Under the influence of these
subsequently civilized barbarians many of the greatest specimens of
carving in North Italy came into being. The most delightful little
stumpy saints and sacred emblems may be found on the façade of
St. Michele at Pavia, and also at Lucca, and on the Baptistery
at Parma. The sculptor who produced these works at Parma was a
very interesting craftsman, named Antelami. His Descent from the
Cross is one of the most striking pieces of early sculpture before
the Pisani. He lived in the twelfth century. The figures are of
Byzantine proportions and forms, but have a good deal of grace and
suggestion of movement.

Among the early names known in Italy is that of Magister Orso,
of Verona. Another, in the ninth century, was Magister Pacifico,
and in the twelfth there came Guglielmus, who carved the charming
naïve wild hunting scenes on the portal of St. Zeno of Verona.
These reliefs represent Theodoric on horseback, followed by an
able company of men and horses which, according to legend, were
supplied by the infernal powers. The eyes of these fugitives have
much expression, being rendered with a drill, and standing out
in the design as little black holes--fierce and effective.

There is a fine round window at St. Zeno at Verona, designed and
executed by one Briolottus, which, intended to represent the Wheel
of Fortune, is decorated all over with little clinging figures,
some falling and some climbing, and has the motto: "I elevate some
mortals and depose others: I give good or evil to all: I clothe
the naked and strip the clothed: in me if any one trust he will
be turned to derision."

Perhaps the most wonderful carvings on the church of St. Zeno at
Verona are over the arched entrance to the crypt. These, being
chiefly grotesque animal forms, are signed by Adaminus. Among the
humourous little conceits is a couple of strutting cocks carrying
between them a dead fox slung on a rod. Ruskin has characterized
the carvings at Verona, especially those on the porch, as being
among the best examples of the true function of flat decorative
carving in stone. He says: "The primary condition is that the mass
shall be beautifully rounded, and disposed with due discretion and
order;... sculpture is essentially the production of a pleasant
bossiness or roundness of surface. The pleasantness of that bossy
condition to the eye is irrespective of imitation on one side, and
of structure on the other." The more one considers this statement,
the more he is convinced of its comprehensiveness. If the lights
and shadows fall pleasantly, how little one stops to inquire, "What
is the subject? Do I consider that horse well proportioned, or do
I not? Is that woman in good drawing?" Effectiveness is almost
independent of detail, except as that detail affects the law of
proportion. There are varying degrees of relief: from flat (where
the ornament is hardly more than incised, and the background planed
away) to a practically solid round figure cut almost entirely free
of its ground.

In Venice, until the revival in the thirteenth century, the Greek
Byzantine influence was marked. There is no more complete storehouse
of the art of the East adapted to mediæval conditions than the
Church of St. Mark's. If space permitted, nothing could be more
delightful than to examine in detail these marvellous capitals and
archivolts which Ruskin has so lovingly immortalized for English
readers. Of all decorative sculpture there is none more satisfying
from the ornamental point of view than the Byzantine interlace
and vine forms so usual in Venice. The only place where these
may be seen to even greater advantage is Ravenna. The pierced
marble screens and capitals, with their restful combinations of
interlacing bands and delicate foliate forms, are nowhere surpassed.
The use of the acanthus leaf conventionalized in a strictly primitive
fashion characterizes most of the Byzantine work in Italy. With
these are combined delightful stiff peacocks, and curious bunches
of grapes, rosettes, and animal forms of quaint grotesqueness.
Such work exemplifies specially what has been said regarding the
use of flat thin slabs for sculptural purposes in the South of
Europe. Nearly all these carvings are executed in fine marbles
and alabasters. The chief works of this period in the round are
lions and gryphons supporting columns as at Ancona and Perugia,
and many other Italian cities.

In Rome there were several sculptors of the name of Peter. One
of them, Peter Amabilis, worked about 1197; and another, Peter
le Orfever, went to England and worked on the tomb of Edward the
Confessor at Westminster.

In Bologna is an interesting crucifix probably carved in the eighth
or ninth century. Christ's figure is upon the cross and that of
his mother stands near. The sculptor was Petrus Albericus. On the
cross is an inscription in the form of a dialogue: "My son?" "What,
Mother?" "Are you God?" "I am." "Why do you hang on the cross?"
"That Mankind may not perish."

The Masters of Stone and Wood were among the early Guilds and
Corporations of Florence. Charlemagne patronized this industry and
helped to develop it. Of craftsmen in these two branches exclusive
of master builders, and recognized artists, there were, in 1299,
about a hundred and forty-six members of the Guild.

Italy was backward for a good while in the progress of art, for
while great activities were going on in the North, the Doge of
Venice in 976 was obliged to import artists from Constantinople
to decorate St. Mark's church.

The tombs of this early period in Italy, as elsewhere, are significant
and beautiful. Recumbent figures, with their hands devoutly pressed
together, are usually seen, lying sometimes on couches and sometimes
under architectural canopies.

The first great original Italian sculptor of the Renaissance was
Nicola Pisano. He lived through almost the whole of the thirteenth
century, being born about 1204, and dying in 1278. What were the
early influences of Nicola Pisano, that helped to make him so much
more more modern, more truly classic, than any of his age? In the
first place, he was born at the moment when interest in ancient
art was beginning to awaken; the early thirteenth century. In the
Campo Santo of Pisa may be seen two of the most potent factors in
his æsthetic education, the Greek sarcophagus on which was carved the
Hunting of Meleager, and the Greek urn with Bacchic figures wreathing
it in classic symmetry. With his mind tuned to the beautiful, the
boy Nioola gazed at the work of genuine pagan Greek artists,
who knew the sinuousness of the human form and the joy of living
with no thought of the morrow. These joyous pagan elements, grafted
on solemn religious surroundings and influences, combined to produce
his peculiar genius. Basing his early endeavours on these specimens
of genuine classical Greek art, there resulted his wonderful pulpits
at Pisa and Siena, and his matchlessly graceful little Madonnas
denote the Hellenistic sentiment for beauty. His work was a marked
departure from the Byzantine and Romanesque work which constituted
Italian sculpture up to that period. An examination of his designs
and methods proves his immense originality. By profession he was
an architect. Of his pulpit in Siena Charles Eliot Norton speaks
with much appreciation. Alluding to the lions used as bases to its
columns, he says: "These are the first realistic representations
of living animals which the mediæval revival of art has produced;
and in vivacity and energy of rendering, and in the thoroughly
artistic treatment of leonine spirit and form, they have never
been surpassed." It is usually claimed that one may learn much of
the rise of Gothic sculpture by studying the models in the South
Kensington Museum. In a foot-note to such a statement in a book
edited by Ruskin, the indignant editor has observed, "You cannot
do anything of the kind. Pisan sculpture can only be studied in
the original marble: half its virtue is in the chiselling!" Nicola
was assisted in the work on his shrine of St. Dominic at Bologna
by one Fra Guglielmo Agnelli, a monk of a very pious turn, who,
nevertheless, committed a curious theft, which was never discovered
until his own death-bed confession. He absconded with a bone of
St. Dominic, which he kept for private devotions all his subsequent
life! An old chronicler says, naïvely: "If piety can absolve from
theft, Fra Guglielmo is to be praised, though never to be imitated."


Andrea Pisano was Nicola's greatest scholar, though not his son.
He took the name of his master after the mediæval custom. His work
was largely in bronze, and the earlier gates of the Baptistery in
Florence are by him. We have already alluded to the later gates
by Ghiberti, when speaking of bronze. Andrea had the honour to
teach the celebrated Orcagna,--more painter than sculptor,--whose
most noted work in this line was the Tabernacle at Or San Michele.
Among the loveliest of the figures sculptured by the Pisani are
the angels standing in a group, blowing trumpets, on the pulpit at
Pistoja, the work of Giovanni. Among Nicola's pupils were his son
Giovanni, Donatello, Arnolfo di Cambio, and Lorenzo Maitani, who
executed the delightful sculptures on the façade of the Cathedral
of Orvieto,--perhaps the most interesting set of bas-reliefs in
detail of the Early Renaissance, although in general symmetrical
"bossiness" of effect, so much approved by Ruskin, they are very
uneven. In this respect they come rather under the head of realistic
than of decorative art.

Lorenzo Maitani was a genuine leader of his guild of craftsmen,
and superintended the large body of architects who worked at
Orvieto, stone masons, mosaicists, bronze founders, painters,
and minor workmen. He lived until 1330, and practically devoted
his life to Orvieto. It is uncertain whether any of the Pisani
were employed in any capacity, although for a time it was
popularly supposed that the four piers on the façade were their
work. An iconographic description of these sculptures would occupy
too much time here, but one or two features of special interest
should be noted: the little portrait relief of the master Maitani
himself occurs on the fourth pier, among the Elect in heaven, wearing
his workman's cap and carrying his architect's square. Only his
head and shoulders can be seen at the extreme left of the second
tier of sculptures. In accordance with an early tradition, that
Virgil was in some wise a prophet, and that he had foretold the
coming of Christ, he is here introduced, on the second pier, near
the base, crowned with laurel. The incident of the cutting off of
the servant's ear, by Peter, is positively entertaining. Peter
is sawing away industriously at the offending member; a fisherman
ought to understand a more deft use of the knife! In the scenes
of the Creation, depicted on the first pier, Maitani has proved
himself a real nature lover in the tender way he has demonstrated
the joy of the birds at finding the use of their wings.

The earliest sculptures in France were very rude,--it was rather
a process than an art to decorate a building with carvings as the
Gauls did! But the latent race talent was there; as soon as the
Romanesque and Byzantine influences were felt, a definite school
of sculpture was formed in France; almost at once they seized on
the best elements of the craft and abandoned the worthless, and
the great note of a national art was struck in the figures at
Chartres, Paris, Rheims, and other cathedrals of the Ile de France.

Prior to this flowering of art in Northern France, the churches
of the South of France developed a charming Romanesque of their
own, a little different from that in Italy. A monk named Tutilon,
of the monastery of St. Gall, was among the most famous sculptors
of the Romanesque period. Another name is that of Hughes, Abbot of
Montier-en-Der. At the end of the tenth century one Morard, under
the patronage of King Robert, built and ornamented the Church of St.
Germain des Près, Paris, while Guillaume, an Abbot at Dijon, was
at the head of the works of forty monasteries. Guillaume probably
had almost as wide an influence upon French art as St. Bernward
had on the German, or Nicola Pisano on that of Italy. In Metz were
two noted architects, Adelard and Gontran, who superintended the
building of fourteen churches, and an early chronicler says that
the expense was so great that "the imperial treasury would scarce
have sufficed for it."

At Arles are two of the most famous monuments of Romanesque art,
the porches of St. Trophime, and of St. Gilles. The latter exhibits
almost classical feeling and influence; the former is much blunter
and more Byzantine; both are highly interesting for purposes
of study, being elaborately ornamented with figure sculptures and
other decorative motives.

Abbot Suger, the art-craftsman par excellence of the Ile de France,
was the sculptor in chief of St. Denis from 1137 to 1180. This
magnificent façade is harmonious in its treatment, betokening plainly
that one brain conceived and carried out the plan. We have not the
names of the minor architects and sculptors who were employed,
but doubtless they were the scholars and followers of Suger, and
rendered work in a similar manner.

There are some names which have been handed down from early times
in Normandy: one Otho, another Garnier, and a third, Anquetil,
while a crucifix carved by Auquilinus of Moissac was popularly
believed to have been created by divine means. If one will compare
the statues of St. Trophime of Arles with those at St. Denis, it
will be found that the latter are better rounded, those at St.
Trophime being coarsely blocked out; although at first glance one
would say that there was little to choose between them.

The old font at Amiens is very ancient, older than the church. It
is seven feet long, and stands on short square piers: it resembles
a stone coffin, and was apparently so made that a grown person
might be baptized by immersion, by lying at full length. Angels
holding scrolls are carved at its four corners, otherwise it is
very plain. There is an ancient Byzantine crucifix at Amiens, on
which the figure of Our Lord is fully draped, and on his head is
a royal crown instead of thorns. The figure, too, is erect, as if
to invite homage by its outstretched arms, instead of suggesting
that the arms had to bear the weight of the body. Indeed, it is a
Christ triumphant and regnant though crucified--a very unusual
treatment of the subject in the Middle Ages. It was brought from the
East, in all probability, by a returning warrior from the Crusades.

The foundation of Chartres was very early: the first Bishop St.
Aventin occupied his see as early as 200 A. D. The early Gothic type
in figure sculpture is always characterized by a few features in
common, though different districts produced varying forms and facial
expressions. The figures are always narrow, and much elongated, from
a monumental sentiment which governed the design of the period. The
influence of the Caryatid may have remained in the consciousness of
later artists, leading them to make their figures conform so far as
expedient to the proportions of the columns which stood behind them
and supported them. In any case, it was considered an indispensable
condition that these proportions should be maintained, and has come
to be regarded as an architectural necessity. As soon as sculptors
began to consider their figures as realistic representations of
human beings instead of ornamental motives in their buildings,
the art declined, and poor results followed.

The west porch of Chartres dates from the twelfth century. The church
was injured by fire in 1194. In 1226 certain restorations were made,
and an old chronicle says that at that time it was quite fire-proof,
remarking: "It has nothing to fear from any earthly fire from this
time to the day of Judgment, and will save from fires eternal the
many Christians who by their alms have helped in its rebuilding."
The whole edifice was consecrated by St. Louis on Oct. 17, 1260.
The King gave the north porch, and several of the windows, and the
whole royal family was present at this impressive function.

About the time of William the Conqueror it became customary to
carve effigies on tombstones, at first simple figures in low relief
lying on flat slabs: this idea being soon elaborated, however,
into canopied tombs, which grew year by year more ornate, until
Gothic structures enriched with finials and crockets began to be
erected in churches to such an extent that the interior of the
edifice was quite filled with these dignified little buildings.
In many instances it is quite impossible to obtain any view of
the sanctuary except looking directly down the central aisle; the
whole ambulatory is often one continuous succession of exquisite
sepulchral monuments.


Perhaps the most satisfying monument of French Gothic style is
the tomb of the elder son of St. Louis at St. Denis. The majesty
of the recumbent figure is striking, but the little procession of
mourners about the main body of the tomb is absolutely unrivalled
in art of this character. The device of little weeping figures
surrounding the lower part of a tomb is also carried out in an exquisite
way on the tomb of Aymer de Valence in Westminster.

Some interesting saints are carved on the north portal of Amiens,
among others, St. Ulpha, a virgin who is chiefly renowned for having
lived in a chalk cave near Amiens, where she was greatly annoyed
by frogs. Undaunted, she prayed so lustily and industriously, that
she finally succeeded in silencing them!

The thirteenth century revival in France was really a new birth;
almost more than a Renaissance. It is a question among archæologists
if France was not really more original and more brilliant than Italy
in this respect. A glance at such figures as the Virgin from the
Gilded Portal at Amiens, and another Virgin from the same cathedral,
will show the change which came over the spirit of art in that one
city during the thirteenth century. The figure on the right door
of the western façade is a work of the early part of the century.
She is grave and dignified in bearing, her hand extended in favour,
while the Child gives the blessing in calm majesty. This figure has
the spirit of a goddess receiving homage, and bestowing grace: it
is conventional and monumental. The Virgin from the Gilded Portal
is of a later generation. Her attention is given to the Child,
and her aspect is human and spirited,--almost merry. It may be
said to be less religious than the other statue, but it is filled
with more modern grace and charm, and glorifies the idea of happy
maternity: every angle and fold of the drapery is full of life
and action without being over realistic. There is much in common
between this pleasing statue and the Virgins of the Pisani in Italy.

Professor Moore considers the statue of the Virgin on the Portal
of the Virgin at the west end of Notre Dame in Paris as about the
best example of Gothic figure sculpture in France. He says further
that the finest statues in portals of any age are those of the
north porch at Paris. The Virgin here is marvellously fine also.
It combines the dignity and monumental qualities of the first of
the Virgins at Amiens, with the living buoyancy of the Virgin on
the Gilded Portal. It is the clear result of a study of nature
grafted on Byzantine traditions. It dates from 1250.

While sculpture was practised chiefly by monastic artists, it retained
the archaic and traditional elements. When trained carvers from
secular life began to take the chisel, the spirit of the world
entered in. For a time this was a marked improvement: later the
pendulum swung too far, and decadence set in.

A favourite device on carved tympana above portals was the Last
Judgment. Michael with the scales, engaged in weighing souls, was
the tall central figure, and the two depressed saucers of the scales
help considerably in filling the triangular space usually left
over a Gothic doorway. At Chartres, there is an example of this
subject, in which Mortal Sin, typified by a devil and two toads, are
being weighed against the soul of a departed hero. As is customary
in such compositions, a little devil is seen pulling on the side
of the scale in which he is most interested!

One of the most cheerful and delightful figures at Chartres is
that of the very tall angel holding a sun dial, on the corner of
the South tower. A certain optimistic inconsequence is his chief
characteristic, as if he really believed that the hours bore more
of happiness than of sorrow to the world.

There is no limit to the originality and the symbolic messages
of the Gothic grotesques. Two whole books might be written upon
this subject alone to do it justice; but a few notable instances
of these charming little adornments to the stern structures of
the Middle Ages must be noticed here. The little medallions at
Amiens deserve some attention. They represent the Virtues and Vices,
the Follies, and other ethical qualities. Some of them deal with
Scriptural scenes. "Churlishness" is figured by a woman kicking
over her cup-bearer. Apropos of her attitude, Ruskin observes that
the final forms of French churlishness are to be discovered in
the feminine gestures in the can-can. He adds: "See the favourite
print shops in Paris." Times have certainly changed little!

One of these Amiens reliefs, signifying "Rebellion," is that of a
man snapping his fingers at his bishop! Another known as "Atheism"
is variously interpreted. A man is seen stepping out of his shoes at
the church porch. Ruskin explains this as meaning that the infidel
is shown in contradistinction to the faithful who is supposed
to have "his feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace;"
but Abbé Roze thinks it more likely that this figure represents
an unfrocked monk abandoning the church.

One of these displays the beasts in Nineveh, and a little squat
monkey, developing into a devil, is wittily characterized by Ruskin
as reversing the Darwinian theory.

The statues above these little quatrefoils are over seven feet
in height, differing slightly, and evidently portrait sculptures
inspired by living models, adapted to their more austere use in
this situation.

A quiet and inconspicuous example of exquisite refinement in Gothic
bas-relief is to be seen in the medallioned "Portail aux Libraires"
at the Cathedral in Rouen. This doorway was built in 1278 by Jean
Davi, who must have been one of the first sculptors of his time.
The medallions are a series of little grotesques, some of them
ineffably entertaining, and others expressive of real depth of
knowledge and thought. Ruskin has eulogized some of these little
figures: one as having in its eye "the expression which is never
seen but in the eye of a dog gnawing something in jest, and preparing
to start away with it." Again, he detects a wonderful piece of
realism and appreciative work in the face of a man who leans with
his head on his hand in thought: the wrinkles pushed up under his
eye are especially commended.

In the south transept at Amiens is a piece of elaborate
sculpture in four compartments, which are the figures of many saints.
There is a legend in connection with those figures: when the millers
were about to select a patron saint, they agreed to choose the saint
on whose head a dove, released for the purpose, should alight;
but as the bird elected to settle on the head of a demon, they
abandoned their plan! The figures in these carvings are almost
free of the ground; they appear to be a collection of separate
statuettes, the scenes being laid in three or four planes. It is
not restrained bas-relief; but the effect is extremely rich. The
sculptures in high relief, but in more conventional proportion
than these, which occur on the dividing wall between the choir and
the north aisle, are thoroughly satisfactory. They are coloured;
they were executed in 1531, and they represent scenes in the life
of the Baptist. In the panel where Salomé is portrayed as dancing,
a grave little monkey is seen watching her from under the table.
The similar screen surrounding the sanctuary at Paris was the work
of the chief cathedral architect, Jean Renoy, with whom worked
his nephew, Jehan le Bouteiller. These stone carved screens are
quite usual in the Ile de France. The finest are at Chartres, where
they go straight around the ambulatory, the whole choir being fenced
in, as it were, about the apse, by this exquisite work. This screen
is more effective, too, for being left in the natural colour of
the stone: where these sculptures are painted, as they usually
are, they suggest wood carvings, and have not as much dignity as
when the stone is fully recognized.

The Door of St. Marcel has the oldest carving on Notre Dame in
Paris. The plate representing the iron work, in Chapter IV., shows
the carving on this portal, which is the same that has Biscornette's
famous hinges. The central figure of St. Marcel himself presents
the saint in the act of reproving a naughty dragon which had had
the indiscretion to devour the body of a rich but wicked lady. The
dragon is seen issuing from the dismantled tomb of this unfortunate
person. The dragon repented his act, when the saint had finished
admonishing him, and showed his attachment and gratitude for thus
being led in paths of rectitude, by following the saint for four
miles, apparently walking much as a seal would walk, beseeching
the saint to forgive him. But Marcel was firm, and punished the
serpent, saying to him: "Go forth and inhabit the deserts or plunge
thyself into the sea;" and, as St. Patrick rid the Celtic land of
snakes, so St. Marcel seems to have banished dragons from fair


At Chartres there are eighteen hundred statues, and almost as many
at Amiens and at Rheims and Paris. One reason for the superiority
of French figure sculpture in the thirteenth century, over that
existing in other countries, is that the French used models. There
has been preserved the sketch book of a mediæval French architect,
Vilard de Honcourt, which is filled with studies from life: and why
should we suppose him to be the only one who worked in this way?

Rheims Cathedral is the Mecca of the student of mediæval sculpture.
The array of statues on the exterior is amazing, and a walk around
the great structure reveals unexpected riches in corbels, gargoyles,
and other grotesques, hidden at all heights, each a veritable work
of art, repaying the closest study, and inviting the enthusiast
to undue extravagance at a shop in the vicinity, which advertises
naïvely, that it is an "Artistical Photograph Laboratory."

On the door of St. Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris, there is a portrait
statue of St. Geneviève, holding a lighted candle, while "the devil
in little" sits on her shoulder, exerting himself to blow it out!
It is quite a droll conceit of the thirteenth century.

Of the leaf forms in Gothic sculpture, three styles are enough to
generalize about. The early work usually represented springlike
leaves, clinging, half-developed, and buds. Later, a more luxuriant
foliage was attempted: the leaves and stalks were twisted, and
the style was more like that actually seen in nature. Then came
an overblown period, when the leaves were positively detached,
and the style was lost. The foliage was no longer integral, but
was applied.

There is little of the personal element to be exploited in dealing
with the sculptors in the Middle Ages. Until the days of the Renaissance
individual artists were scarcely recognized; master masons employed
"Imagers" as casually as we would employ brick-layers or plasterers;
and no matter how brilliant the work, it was all included in the general
term "building."

The first piece of signed sculpture in France is a tympanum in the
south transept at Paris, representing the Stoning of Stephen. It
is by Jean de Chelles, in 1257. St. Louis of France was a patron of
arts, and took much interest in his sculptors. There were two Jean
de Montereau, who carved sacred subjects in quite an extraordinary
way. Jean de Soignoles, in 1359, was designated as "Macon et Ymageur."
One of the chief "imageurs," as they were called, was Jacques Haag,
who flourished in the latter half of the fifteenth century, in
Amiens. This artist was imprisoned for sweating coin, but in 1481
the king pardoned him. He executed large statues for the city gates,
of St. Michael and St. Firmin, in 1464 and 1489. There was a sculptor
in Paris in the fourteenth century, one Hennequin de Liege, who
made several tombs in black and white marble, among them that of
Blanche de France, and the effigy of Queen Philippa at Westminster.

It was customary both in France and England to use colour on Gothic
architecture. It is curious to realize that the façade of Notre
Dame in Paris was originally a great colour scheme. A literary
relic, the "Voyage of an Armenian Bishop," named Martyr, in the
year 1490, alludes to the beauty of this cathedral of Paris, as
being ablaze with gold and colour.

An old record of the screen of the chapel of St. Andrew
at Westminster mentions that it was "adorned with curious carvings
and engravings, and other imagery work of birds, flowers, cherubims,
devices, mottoes, and coats of arms of many of the chief nobility
painted thereon. All done at the cost of Edmond Kirton, Abbot, who
lies buried on the south side of the chapel under a plain gray
marble slab." H. Keepe, who wrote of Westminster Abbey in 1683,
mentioned the virgin over the Chapter House door as being "all
richly enamelled and set forth with blue, some vestigia of all
which are still remaining, whereby to judge of the former splendour
and beauty thereof." Accounts make frequent mention of painters
employed, one being "Peter of Spain," and another William of
Westminster, who was called the "king's beloved painter."

King René of Anjou was an amateur of much versatility; he painted
and made many illuminations: among other volumes, copies of his own
works in prose and verse. Aside from his personal claim to renown
in the arts, he founded a school in which artists and sculptors
were included. One of the chief sculptors was Jean Poncet, who
was followed in the king's favour by his son Pons Poncet. Poor
Pons was something of a back-slider, being rather dissipated; but
King René was fond of him, and gave him work to do when he was
reduced to poverty. The monument to his nurse, Tiphanie, at Saumur,
was entrusted to Pons Poncet. After the death of Pons, the chief
sculptor of the court was Jacques Moreau.



(_England and Germany_)

A progressive history of English sculpture in stone could be compiled
by going from church to church, and studying the tympana, over
the doors, in Romanesque and Norman styles, and in following the
works in the spandrils between the arches in early Gothic work.
First we find rude sculptures, not unlike those in France. The
Saxon work like the two low reliefs now to be seen in Chichester
Cathedral show dug-out lines and almost flat modelling; then the
Norman, slightly rounded, are full of historic interest and
significance, though often lacking in beauty. The two old panels
alluded to, now in Chichester, were supposed to have been brought
from Selsea Cathedral, having been executed about the twelfth century.
There is a good deal of Byzantine feeling in them; one represents
the Raising of Lazarus, and the other, Our Lord entering the house
of Mary and Martha. The figures are long and stiff, and there is
a certain quality in the treatment of draperies not unlike that
in the figures at Chartres.

Then follows the very early Gothic, like the delightful
little spandrils in the chapter house at Salisbury, and at Westminster,
familiar to all travellers. They are full of life, partly through the
unanatomic contortions by means of which they are made to express
their emotions. Often one sees elbows bent the wrong way to emphasize
the gesture of denunciation, or a foot stepping quite across the
instep of its mate in order to suggest speed of motion. Early Gothic
work in England is usually bas-relief; one does not find the statue
as early as in France. In 1176 William of Sens went over to England,
to work on Canterbury Cathedral, and after that French influence
was felt in most of the best English work in that century. Before
the year 1200 there was little more than ornamented spaces, enriched
by carving; after that time, figure sculpture began in earnest,
and, in statues and in effigies, became a large part of the
craftsmanship of the thirteenth century.

The transition was gradual. First small separate heads began to
obtain, as corbels, and were bracketed at the junctures of the
arch-mouldings in the arcade and triforium of churches. Then on
the capitals little figures began to emerge from the clusters of
foliage. In many cases the figures are very inferior to the faces,
as if more time and study had been given to expressing emotions
than to displaying form. The grotesque became very general. Satire
and caricature had no other vehicle in the Middle Ages than the
carvings in and out of the buildings, for the cartoon had not yet
become possible, and painting offered but a limited scope to the
wit, especially in the North; in Italy this outlet for humour was
added to that of the sculptor.

Of the special examples of great figure sculpture in England the
façade at Wells is usually considered the most significant. The
angel choir at Lincoln, too, has great interest; there is real
power in some of the figures, especially the angel with the flaming
sword driving Adam and Eve from Eden, and the one holding aloft a
small figure,--probably typical of the Creation. At Salisbury, too,
there is much splendid figure sculpture; it is cause for regret
that the names of so few of the craftsmen have survived.

Wells Cathedral is one of the most interesting spots in which to
study English Gothic sculpture. Its beautiful West Front is covered
with tier after tier of heroes and saints; it was finished in 1242.
This is the year that Cimabue was three years old; Niccola Pisano
had lived during its building, Amiens was finished forty-six years
later, and Orvieto was begun thirty-six years later. It is literally
the earliest specimen of so advanced and complete a museum of sculpture
in the West. Many critics have assumed that the statues on the West
Front of Wells were executed by foreign workmen; but there are
no special characteristics of any known foreign school in these
figures. Messrs. Prior and Gardner have recently expressed their
opinion that these statues, like most of the thirteenth century
work in England, are of native origin. The theory is that two kinds
of influence were brought to bear to create English "imagers."
In the first place, goldsmiths and ivory carvers had been making
figures on a small scale: their trade was gradually expanded until
it reached the execution of statues for the outside ornament of
buildings. The figures carved by such artists are inclined to be
squat, these craftsmen having often been hampered by being obliged
to accommodate their design to their material, and to treat the
human figure to appear in spaces of such shapes as circles, squares,
and trefoils. Another class of workers who finally turned their
attention to statuary, were the carvers of sepulchral slabs: these
slabs had for a long time shown the effigies of the deceased. This
theory accounts for both types of figures that are found in English
Gothic,--the extremely attenuated, and the blunt squat statues. At
Wells it would seem that both classes of workmen were employed,
some of the statues being short and some extremely tall. They were
executed, evidently, at different periods, the façade being gradually
decorated, sometimes in groups of several statues, and sometimes
in simple pairs. This theory, too, lends a far greater interest
to the west front than the theory that it was all carried out at
once, from one intentional design.

St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Baptism, is here represented,
holding a child on his arm, and standing in water up to his knees.
The water, being treated in a very conventional way, coiling about
the lower limbs, is so suggestive of tiers of flat discs, that
it has won for this statue the popular name of "the pancake
man," for he certainly looks as if he had taken up his position
in the midst of a pile of pancakes, into which he had sunk.

The old statue of St. Hugh at Lincoln is an attractive early Gothic
work. In 1743 he was removed from his precarious perch on the top
of a stone pinnacle, and was placed more firmly afterwards. In a
letter from the Clerk of the Works this process was described.
"I must acquaint you that I took down the antient image of St.
Hugh, which is about six foot high, and stood upon the summit of a
stone pinnacle at the South corner of the West Front... and pulled
down twenty-two feet of the pinnacle itself, which was ready to
tumble into ruins, the shell being but six inches thick, and the
ribs so much decayed that it declined visibly.... I hope to see
the saint fixed upon a firmer basis before the Winter." On the top
of a turret opposite St. Hugh is the statue of the Swineherd of
Stowe. This personage became famous through contributing a peck of
silver pennies toward the building of the cathedral. As is usually
the case, the saint and the donor therefore occupy positions of
equal exaltation! The swineherd is equipped with a winding horn.
A foolish tradition without foundation maintains that this figure
does not represent the Swineherd at all, but is a play upon the
name of Bishop Bloet,--the horn being intended to suggest "Blow
it!" It seems hardly possible to credit the mediæval wit with no
keener sense of humour than to perpetrate such a far-fetched pun.

The Lincoln Imp, who sits enthroned at the foot of a cul-de-lampe
in the choir, is so familiar to every child, now, through his
photographs and casts, that it is hardly necessary to describe
him. But many visitors to the cathedral fail to come across the old
legend of his origin. It is as follows: "The wind one day brought
two imps to view the new Minster at Lincoln. Both imps were greatly
impressed with the magnitude and beauty of the structure, and one
of them, smitten by a fatal curiosity, slipped inside the building
to see what was going on. His temerity, however, cost him dear,
for he was so petrified with astonishment, that his heart became
as stone within him, and he remained rooted to the spot. The other
imp, full of grief at the loss of his brother, flew madly round
the Minster, seeking in vain for the lost one. At length, being
wearied out, he alighted, quite unwittingly, upon the shoulders
of a certain witch, and was also, and in like manner, instantly
turned to stone. But the wind still haunts the Minster precincts,
waiting their return, now hopelessly desolate, now raging with
fury." A verse, also, is interesting in this connection:

  "The Bishop we know died long ago,
   The wind still waits, nor will he go,
   Till he has a chance of beating his foe.
   But the devil hopped without a limp,
   And at once took shape as the Lincoln Imp.
   And there he sits atop of a column,
   And grins at the people who gaze so solemn,
   Moreover, he mocks at the wind below,
   And says: 'You may wait till doomsday, O!'"

The effigies in the Round Church at the Temple in London have created
much discussion. They represent Crusaders, two dating from the
twelfth century, and seven from the thirteenth. Most of them have
their feet crossed, and the British antiquarian mind has exploited
and tormented itself for some centuries in order to prove, or to
disprove, that this signifies that the warriors were crusaders who
had actually fought. There seems now to be rather a concensus of
opinion that they do not represent Knights Templars, but "associates
of the Temple." As none of them can be certainly identified, this
controversy would appear to be of little consequence to the world
at large. The effigies are extremely interesting from an artistic
point of view, and, in repairing them, in 1840, Mr. Richardson
discovered traces of coloured enamels and gilding, which must have
rendered them most attractive.

Henry III. of England was a genuine art patron, and even evinced
some of the spirit of socialism so dear to the heart of William
Morris, for the old records relate that the Master Mason, John
of Gloucester, was in the habit of taking wine each day with the
King! This shows that Henry recognized the levelling as Well as
the raising power of the arts. In 1255 the king sent five casks of
wine to the mason, in payment for five with which John of Gloucester
had accommodated his Majesty at Oxford! This is an intimate and
agreeable departure from the despotic and grim reputation of early
Kings of England.

In 1321 the greatest mediæval craftsman in England was Alan de
Walsingham, who built the great octagon from which Ely derives its
chief character among English cathedrals. In a fourteenth century
manuscript in the British Museum is a tribute to him, which is
thus translated by Dean Stubbs (now Bishop of Truro):

  "A Sacrist good and Prior benign,
   A builder he of genius fine:
   The flower of craftsmen, Alan, Prior,
   Now lying entombed before the choir...
   And when, one night, the old tower fell,
   This new one he built, and mark it well."

This octagon was erected to the glory of God and to St. Etheldreda,
the Queen Abbess of Ely, known frequently as St. Awdry. Around
the base of the octagon, at the crests of the great piers which
carry it, Prior Alan had carved the Deeds of the Saint in a series
of decorative bosses which deserve close study. The scene of her
marriage, her subsequently taking the veil at Coldingham, and the
various miracles over which she presided, terminate in the death
and "chesting" of the saint. This ancient term is very literal,
as the body was placed in a stone coffin above the ground, and
therefore the word "burial" would be incorrect.

The tomb of Queen Eleanor in Westminster is of Purbeck marble,
treated in the style of Southern sculpture, being cut in thin slabs
and enriched with low relief ornamentation. The recumbent effigy
is in bronze, and was cast, as has been stated, by Master William
Torel. Master Walter of Durham painted the lower portion. Master
Richard Crundale was in charge of the general work.

Master John of St. Albans worked in about 1257, and was designated
"sculptor of the king's images." There was at this time a school
of sculpture at the Abbey. This Westminster School of Artificers
supplied statuettes and other sculptured ornaments to order for
various places. One of the craftsmen was Alexander "le imaginator."
In the Rolls of the Works at Westminster, there is an entry, "Master
John, with a carpenter and assistant at St. Albans, worked on the
lectern." This referred to a copy which was ordered of a rarely
beautiful lectern at St. Albans' cathedral, which had been made by
the "incomparable Walter of Colchester." Labour was cheap! There
is record of three shillings being paid to John Benet for three

Among Westminster labourers was one known as Brother Ralph, the
Convert; this individual was a reformed Jew. Among the craftsmen
selected to receive wine from the convent with "special grace" is
the goldsmith, Master R. de Fremlingham, who was then the Abbey

There was a master mason in 1326, who worked at Westminster and
in various other places on His Majesty's Service. This was William
Ramsay, who also superintended the building then in progress at
St. Paul's, and was a man of such importance in his art, that the
mayor and aldermen ordered that he should "not be placed on juries
or inquests" during the time of his activity. He was also chief
mason at the Tower. But in spite of the city fathers it was not
possible to keep this worthy person out of court! For he and some
of his friends, in 1332, practically kidnapped a youth of fourteen
named Robert Huberd, took him forcibly from his appointed guardian,
and married him out of hand to William Ramsay's daughter Agnes,
the reason for this step being evidently that the boy had money.
Upon the complaint of his guardian, Robert was given his choice
whether he would remain with his bride or return to his former
home. He deliberately chose his new relations, and so, as the
marriage was quite legal according to existing laws, everything
went pleasantly for Master William! It made no difference, either,
in the respect of the community or the king for the master mason;
in 1344, he was appointed to superintend the building at Windsor,
and was made a member of the Common Council in 1347. Verily, the
Old Testament days were not the last in which every man "did that
which was right in his own eyes."

Carter gives some curious historical explanations of some very
quaint and little-known sculptures in a frieze high up in the Chapel
of Edward the Confessor in Westminster. One of them represents the
Trial of Queen Emma, and is quite a spirited scene. The little
accusing hands raised against the central figure of the queen,
are unique in effect in a carving of this character. Queen Emma
was accused of so many misdemeanours, poor lady! She had agreed to
marry the enemy of her kingdom, King Canute: she gave no aid to her
sons, Edward the Confessor and Alfred, when in exile; and she was
also behaving in a very unsuitable manner with Alwin, Bishop of
Winchester: she seems to have been versatile in crime, and it is
no wonder that she was invited to withdraw from her high estate.

The burial of Henry V. is interestingly described in an old manuscript
of nearly contemporary origin: "His body was embalmed and cired and
laid on a royal carriage, and an image like to him was laid upon
the corpse, open: and with divers banners, and horses, covered
with the arms of England and France, St. Edward and St. Edmund...
and brought with great solemnity to Westminster, and worshipfully
buried; and after was laid on his tomb a royal image like to himself,
of silver and gilt, which was made at the cost of Queen Katherine...
he ordained in his life the place of his sepulchre, where he is
now buried, and every daye III. masses perpetually to be sungen
in a fair chapel over his sepulchre." This exquisite arrangement
of a little raised chantry, and the noble tomb itself, was the
work of Master Mapilton, who came from Durham in 1416.

Mr. W. R. Lethaby calls attention to the practical and expedient
way in which mediæval carvers of effigies utilized their long blocks
of stone: "Notice," he says, "how... the angels at the head and
the beast at the foot were put in just to square out the block,
and how all the points of high relief come to one plane so that
a drawing board might be firmly placed on the statue." Only such
cutting away as was actually necessary was encouraged; the figure
was usually represented as putting the earthly powers beneath his
feet, while angels ministered at his head. St. Louis ordered a
crown of thorns to be placed on his head when he was dying, and
the crown of France placed at his feet. The little niches around
the tombs, in which usually stood figures of saints, were called
"hovels." It is amusing to learn this to-day, with our long established
association of the word with poverty and squalor.

Henry VII. left directions for the design of his tomb. Among other
stipulations, it was to be adorned with "ymages" of his patron
saints "of copper and gilte." Henry then "calls and cries" to his
guardian saints and directs that the tomb shall have "a grate,
in manner of a closure, of coper and gilte," which was added by
English craftsmen. Inside this grille in the early days was an
altar, containing a unique relic,--a leg of St. George.

Sculpture and all other decorative arts reached their ultimatum in
England about the time of the construction of Henry VII.'s chapel
at Westminster. The foundation stone was laid in 1502, by Henry
himself. Of the interesting monuments and carvings contained in it,
the most beautiful is the celebrated bronze figure by Torregiano
on the tomb of the king and queen, which was designed during their
lives. Torregiano was born in 1470, and died in 1522, so he is
not quite a mediæval figure, but in connection with his wonderful
work we must consider his career a moment. Vasari says that he had
"more pride than true artistic excellence." He was constantly
interfering with Michelangelo, with whom he was a student in Florence,
and on one memorable occasion they came to blows: and that was the
day when "Torregiano struck Michelangelo on the nose with his fist,
using such terrible violence and crushing that feature in such a
manner that the proper form could never be restored to it, and
Michelangelo had his nose flattened by that blow all his life." So
Torregiano fled from the Medicean wrath which would have descended
upon him. After a short career as a soldier, impatient at not being
rapidly promoted, he returned to his old profession of a sculptor.
He went to England, where, says Vasari, "he executed many works in
marble, bronze, and wood, for the king." The chief of these was the
striking tomb of Henry VII. and the queen. Torregiano's agreement
was to make it for a thousand pounds: also there is a contract which
he signed with Henry VIII., agreeing to construct a similar tomb
also for that monarch, to be one quarter part larger than that of
Henry VII., but this was not carried out.

St. Anthony appears on a little sculptured medallion on the tomb
of Henry VII., with a small pig trotting beside him. This is St.
Anthony of Vienna, not of Padua. His legend is as follows. In an
old document, Newcourt's Repertorium, it is related that "the monks
of St. Anthony with their importunate begging, contrary to the
example of St. Anthony, are so troublesome, as, if men give them
nothing, they will presently threaten them with St. Anthony's
fire; so that many simple people, out of fear or blind zeal, every
year use to bestow on them a fat pig, or porker, which they have
ordinarily painted in their pictures of St. Anthony, whereby they
may procure their good will and their prayers, and be secure from
their menaces."

Torregiano's contract read that he should "make well, surely, cleanly,
and workmanlike, curiously, and substantially" the marble tomb
with "images, beasts, and other things, of copper, gilte." Another
craftsman who exercised his skill in this chapel was Lawrence Imber,
image maker, and in 1500 the names of John Hudd, sculptor, and
Nicolas Delphyn, occur. Some of the figures and statuettes on the
tomb were also made by Drawswerd of York.

On the outer ribs of Henry VII.'s chapel may be detected certain
little symmetrically disposed bosses, which at first glance one
would suppose to be inconspicuous crockets. But in an admirable
spirit of humour, the sculptor has here carved a series of griffins,
in procession, holding on for dear life, in the attitudes of children
sliding down the banisters. They are delightfully animated and

The well-known figures of the Vices which stand around the quadrangle
at Magdalen College, Oxford, are interpreted by an old Latin manuscript
in the college. The statues should properly be known as the Virtues
and Vices, for some of them represent such moral qualities as Vigilance,
Sobriety, and Affection. It is indeed a shock to learn from this
presumably authoritative source, that the entertaining figure of a
patient nondescript animal, upon whose back a small reptile clings,
is _not_ intended to typify "back biting," but is intended for a
"hippopotamus, or river-horse, carrying his young one upon his
shoulders; this is the emblem of a good tutor, or fellow of the
college, who is set to watch over the youth." But a large number
of the statues are devoted to the Vices, which generally explain


No more spirited semi-secular carvings are to be seen in England
than the delightful row of the "Beverly Minstrels." They stand on
brackets round a column in St. Mary's Church, Beverly, and are
exhibited as singing and playing on musical instruments. They were
probably carved and presented by the Minstrels or Waits, themselves,
or at any rate at their expense, for an angel near by holds a tablet
inscribed: "This pyllor made the meynstyrls." These "waits" were
quite an institution, being a kind of police to go about day and
night and inspect the precincts, announcing break of day by blowing
a horn, and calling the workmen together by a similar signal. The
figures are of about the period of Henry VII.


The general excellence of sculpture in Germany is said to be lower
than that of France; in fact, such mediæval German sculpture as
is specially fine is based upon French work. Still, while this
statement holds good in a general way, there are marked departures,
and examples of extremely interesting and often original sculpture
in Germany, although until the work of such great masters as Albrecht
Dürer, Adam Kraft, and Viet Stoss, the wood carver, who are much
later, there is not as prolific a display of the sculptor's genius as
in France.

The figures on the Choir screen at Hildesheim are rather heavy,
and decidedly Romanesque; but the whole effect is most delightful.
Some of the heads have almost Gothic beauty. The screen is of about
1186, and the figures are made of stucco; but it is exceptionally
good stucco, very different in character from the later work, which
Browning has designated as "stucco twiddlings everywhere."

Much good German sculpture may be seen in Nüremberg. The Schöner
Brunnen, the beautiful fountain, is a delight, in spite of the
fact that one is not looking at the original, which was relegated
to the museum for safe keeping long ago. The carving, too, on the
Frauenkirche, and St. Sebald's, and on St. Lorenz, is as fine as
anything one will find in Germany. Another exception stands out
in the memory. Nothing is more exquisite than the Bride's Door,
at St. Sebald's, in Nüremberg; the figures of the Wise and Foolish
Virgins who guard the entrance could hardly be surpassed in the
realm of realistic sculpture, retaining at the same time a just
proportion of monumental feeling. They are bewitching and dainty,
full of grace not often seen in German work of that period.

The figures on the outside of Bamberg Cathedral are also as fine
as anything in France, and there are some striking examples at
Naumburg, but often the figures in German work lack lightness and
length, which are such charming elements in the French Gothic

At Strasburg the Cathedral is generally conceded to be the most
interesting and ornate of the thirteenth century work in Germany,
although, as has been indicated, French influence is largely
responsible. A very small deposit of this influence escaped into
the Netherlands, and St. Gudule in Brussels shows some good carving
in Gothic style.

A gruesome statue on St. Sebald's in Nüremberg represents the
puritanical idea of "the world," by exhibiting a good-looking young
woman, whose back is that of a corpse; the shroud is open, and the
half decomposed body is displayed, with snakes and toads depredating
upon it.

Among the early Renaissance artists in Nüremberg, was Hans Decker,
who was named in the Burgher Lists of 1449. He may have had influence
upon the youth of Adam Kraft, whose great pyx in St. Lorenz's is
known to everyone who has visited Germany.

Adam Kraft was born in Nüremberg in the early fifteenth century and
his work is a curious link between Gothic and Renaissance styles.
His chief characteristic is expressed by P. J. Rée, who says: "The
essence of his art is best described as a naïve realism sustained
by tender and warm religious zeal." Adam Kraft carved the Stations
of the Cross, to occupy, on the road to St. John's Cemetery in
Nüremberg, the same relative distances apart as those of the actual
scenes between Pilate's house and Golgotha. Easter Sepulchres were
often enriched with very beautiful sculptures by the first masters.
Adam Kraft carved the noble scene of the Burial of Christ in St.
John's churchyard in Nüremberg.


It is curious that the same mind and hand which conceived and carved
these short stumpy figures, should have made the marvel of slim
grace, the Tabernacle, or Pyx, at St. Lorenz. A figure of the artist
kneeling, together with two workmen, one old and one young, supports
the beautiful shrine, which rears itself in graduated stages to
the tall Gothic roof, where it follows the curve of a rib, and
turns over at the top exactly like some beautiful clinging plant
departing from its support, and flowering into an exquisitely
proportioned spiral. It suggests a gigantic crozier. Before it was
known what a slender metal core followed this wonderful growth,
on the inside, there was a tradition that Kraft had discovered
"a wonderful method for softening and moulding hard stones." The
charming relief by Kraft on the Weighing Office exhibits quite
another side of his genius; here three men are engaged in weighing
a bale of goods in a pair of scales: a charming arrangement of
proportion naturally grows out of this theme, which may have been
a survival in the mind of the artist of his memory of the numerous
tympana with the Judgment of Michael weighing souls. The design is
most attractive, and the decorative feeling is enhanced by two
coats of arms and a little Gothic tracery running across the top.
When Adam Kraft died in 1508, the art of sculpture practically
ceased in Nüremberg.

[Illustration: RELIEF BY ADAM KRAFT]



If the Germans were somewhat less original than the French, English,
and Italians in their stone carving, they made up for this deficiency
by a very remarkable skill in wood carving. Being later, in period,
this art was usually characterized by more naturalism than that
of sculpture in stone.

In Germany the art of sculpture in wood is said to have been in full
favour as early as the thirteenth century. There are two excellent
wooden monuments, one at Laach erected to Count Palatine Henry III.,
who died in 1095, and another to Count Henry III. of Sayne, in
1246. The carving shows signs of the transition to Gothic forms.
Large wooden crucifixes were carved in Germany in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries. Byzantine feeling is usual in these figures,
which are frequently larger than life.

Mediæval wood carving developed chiefly along the line of altar
pieces and of grotesque adornments of choir stalls. Among the most
interesting of these are the "miserere" seats, of which we shall
speak at more length.

The general methods of wood carving resemble somewhat
those of stone carving; that is to say, flat relief, round relief,
and entirely disengaged figures occur in both, while in both the
drill is used as a starting point in many forms of design. As with
the other arts, this of carving in wood emanated from the monastery.


The monk Tutilo, of St. Gall, was very gifted. The old chronicle
tells us that "he was eloquent, with a fine voice, skilful in carving,
and a painter. A musician, like his companions, but in all kinds
of wind and stringed instruments... he excelled everybody. In building
and in his other arts he was eminent." Tutilo was a monk of the ninth

A celebrated wood carving of the thirteenth century, on a large
scale, is the door of the Church of St. Sabina in Rome. It is divided
into many small panels, finely carved. These little reliefs are
crowded with figures, very spirited in action.

Painted and carved shields and hatchments were popular. The Italian
artists made these with great refinement. Sometimes stucco was
employed instead of genuine carving, and occasionally the work was
embossed on leather. They were painted in heraldic colours, and
gold, and nothing could be more decorative. Even Giotto produced
certain works of this description, as well as a carved crucifix.

Altar pieces were first carved and painted, the backgrounds being
gilded. By degrees stucco for the figures came in to replace the
wood: after that, they were gradually modelled in lower relief,
until finally they became painted pictures with slightly raised
portions, and the average Florentine altar piece resulted. With
the advance in painting, and the ability to portray the round,
the necessity for carved details diminished.

Orders from a great distance were sometimes sent to the Florentine
Masters of Wood,--the choir stalls in Cambridge, in King's College
Chapel, were executed by them, in spite of the fact that Torregiano
alluded to them as "beasts of English."

An early French wood carver was Girard d'Orleans, who, in 1379,
carved for Charles V. "ung tableau de boys de quatre pieces." Ruskin
considers the choir stalls in Amiens the best worth seeing in France;
he speaks of the "carpenter's work" with admiration, for no nails
are used, nor is the strength of glue relied upon; every bit is true
"joinery," mortised, and held by the skill and conscientiousness
of its construction. Of later work in wood it is a magnificent
example. The master joiner, Arnold Boulin, undertook the construction
of the stalls in 1508. He engaged Anton Avernier, an image maker,
to carve the statuettes and figures which occur in the course of
the work. Another joiner, Alexander Hust, is reported as working
as well, and in 1511, both he and Boulin travelled to Rouen, to
study the stalls in the cathedral there. Two Franciscan monks,
"expert and renowned in working in wood," came from Abbeville to
give judgment and approval, their expenses being paid for this

Jean Troupin, a "simple workman at the wages of three sous a day,"
was added to the staff of workers in 1516, and in one of the stalls
he has carved his own portrait, with the inscription, "Jan Troupin,
God take care of thee." In 1522 the entire work was completed, and
was satisfactorily terminated on St. John's day, representing the
entire labour of six or eight men for about fourteen years.

In the fifteenth century Germany led all countries in the art of
wood carving. Painting was nearly always allied to this art in
ecclesiastical use. The sculptured forms were gilded and painted,
and, in some cases, might almost be taken for figures in faience,
so high was the polish. Small altars, with carved reredos and
frontals, were very popular, both for church and closet. The style
employed was pictorial, figures and scenes being treated with great
naturalism. One of the famous makers of such altar pieces was Lucas
Möser, in the earlier part of the fifteenth century. A little later
came Hans Schülein, and then followed Freidrich Herlin, who carved
the fine altar in Rothenburg. Jorg Syrlin of Ulm and his son of the
same name cover the latter half of the century.

Bavaria was the chief province in which sculptors in wood flourished.
The figures are rather stumpy sometimes, and the draperies rather
heavy and lacking in delicate grace, but the works are far more
numerous than those of other districts, and vary enormously in

Then followed the great carvers of the early Renaissance--Adam
Kraft, and Veit Stoss, contemporaries of Peter Vischer and Albrecht
Dürer, whom we must consider for a little, although they hardly
can be called mediæval workmen.

Veit Stoss was born in the early fifteenth century, in Nüremberg.
He went to Cracow when he was about thirty years of age, and spent
some years working hard. He returned to his native city, however,
in 1496, and worked there for the rest of his life. A delicate
specimen of his craft is the Rosenkranztafel, a wood carving in
the Germanic Museum, which exhibits medallions in relief, representing
the Communion of Saints, with a wreath of roses encircling it. Around
the border of this oblong composition there are small square reliefs,
and a Last Judgment which is full of grim humour occupies the lower
part of the space. Among the amusing incidents represented, is that
of a redeemed soul, quite naked, climbing up a vine to reach heaven,
in which God the Father is in the act of "receiving" Adam and Eve,
shaking hands most sociably! The friends of this aspiring climber
are "boosting" him from below; the most deliciously realistic proof
that Stoss had no use for the theory of a winged hereafter!

Veit Stoss was a very versatile craftsman. Besides his wonderful
wood carvings, for which he is chiefly noted, he was a bridge-builder,
a stone-mason, a bronze caster, painter of altars, and engraver on
copper! Like all such variously talented persons, he suffered somewhat
from restlessness and preferred work to peace,--but his compensation
lay in the varied joys of creative works. His naturalism was marked
in all that he did: a naïve old chronicler remarks that he made
some life-sized coloured figures of Adam and Eve, "so fashioned
that one was _afraid_ that they were alive!" Veit Stoss was an
interesting individual. He was not especially moral in all his ways,
narrowly escaping being executed for forgery; but his brilliancy as
a technician was unsurpassed. He lived until 1533, when he died
in Nüremberg as a very old man. One of his most delightful
achievements is the great medallion with an open background, which
hangs in the centre of the Church of St. Lorenz. It shows two large
and graceful figures,--Mary and the Angel Gabriel, the subject
being the Annunciation. A wreath of angels and flowers surrounds
the whole, with small medallions representing the seven joys of the
Virgin. It is a masterly work, and was presented by Anton Tucher
in 1518. Veit Stoss was the leading figure among wood carvers of
the Renaissance, although Albrecht Dürer combined this with his
many accomplishments, as well.

Some of the carvings in wood in the chapel of Henry VII. at Westminster,
are adapted from drawings by Albrecht Dürer, and are probably the
work of Germans. Two of these, Derrick van Grove and Giles van
Castel, were working at St. George's, Windsor, about the same time.

The very finest example of Nüremberg carving, however, is the famous
wooden Madonna, which has been ascribed to Peter Vischer the Younger,
both by Herr von Bezold and by Cecil Headlam. It seems very reasonable
after a study of the other works of this remarkable son of Peter
Vischer, for there is no other carver of the period, in all Nüremberg,
who could have executed such a flawlessly lovely figure.

One of the noted wood carvers in Spain in the Renaissance, was
Alonso Cano. He was a native of Granada and was born in 1601. His
father was a carver of "retablos," and brought the boy up to follow
his profession. Cano was also a painter of considerable merit, but
as a sculptor in wood he was particularly successful. His first
conspicuous work was a new high altar for the church of Lebrija,
which came to him on account of the death of his father, who was
commencing the work in 1630, when his life was suddenly cut off.
Alonso made this altar so beautifully, that he was paid two hundred
and fifty ducats more than he asked! Columns and cornices are arranged
so as to frame four excellent statues. These carvings have been
esteemed so highly that artists came to study them all the way from
Flanders. The altar is coloured, like most of the Spanish retablos.
Cano was a pugnacious character, always getting into scrapes, using
his stiletto, and being obliged to shift his residence on short
notice. It is remarkable that his erratic life did not interfere with
his work, which seems to have gone calmly on in spite of domestic and
civic difficulties. Among his works at various places, where his
destiny took him, was a tabernacle for the Cathedral of Malaga.
He had worked for some time at the designs for this tabernacle,
when it was whispered to him that the Bishop of Malaga intended
to get a bargain, and meant to beat him down in his charges. So,
packing up his plans and drawings, and getting on his mule. Cano
observed, "These drawings are either to be given away for nothing,
or else they are to bring two thousand ducats." The news of his
departure caused alarm among those in authority, and he was urged
to bring back the designs, and receive his own price.

Cano carved a life-size crucifix for Queen Mariana, which she presented
to the Convent of Monserrati at Madrid. Alonso Cano entered the
Church and became canon of the Cathedral of Granada. But all his
talents had no effect upon his final prosperity: he died in extreme
want in 1667, the Cathedral records showing that he was the recipient
of charity, five hundred reals being voted to "the canon Cano,
being sick and very poor, and without means to pay the doctor."
Another record mentions the purchase of "poultry and sweet-meats"
also for him.

Cano made one piece of sculpture in marble, a guardian angel for
the Convent at Granada, but this no longer exists. Some of his
architectural drawings are preserved in the Louvre. Ford says that
his St. Francesco in Toledo is "a masterpiece of cadaverous ecstatic

The grotesques which played so large a part in church art are bewailed
by St. Bernard: "What is the use," he asks, "of those absurd
monstrosities displayed in the cloisters before the reading monks?...
Why are unclean monkeys and savage lions, and monstrous centaurs
and semi-men, and spotted tigers, and fighting soldiers, and
pipe-playing hunters, represented?" Then St. Bernard inadvertently
admits the charm of all these grotesques, by adding: "The variety
of form is everywhere so great, that marbles are more pleasant
reading than manuscripts, and the whole day is spent in looking
at them instead of in meditating on the law of God." St. Bernard
concludes with the universal argument: "Oh, God, if one is not
ashamed of these puerilities, why does not one at least spare the
expense?" A hundred years later, the clergy were censured by the
Prior de Coinsi for allowing "wild cats and lions" to stand equal
with the saints.


The real test of a fine grotesque--a genuine Gothic monster--is, that
he shall, in spite of his monstrosity, retain a certain anatomical
consistency: it must be conceivable that the animal organism could
have developed along these lines. In the thirteenth century, this
is always possible; but in much later times, and in the Renaissance,
the grotesques simply became comic and degraded, and lacking in
humour: in a later chapter this idea will be developed further.

The art of the choir stalls and miserere seats was a natural ebullition
of the humourous instinct, which had so little opportunity for
exploiting itself in monastic seclusion. The joke was hidden away,
under the seat, out of sight of visitors, or laymen: inconspicuous,
but furtively entertaining. There was no self-consciousness in its
elaboration, it was often executed for pure love of fun and whittling;
and for that very reason embodies all the most attractive qualities of
its art. There was no covert intention to produce a genre history of
contemporary life and manners, as has sometimes been claimed. These
things were accidentally introduced in the work, but the carvers
had no idea of ministering to this or any other educational theory.
Like all light-hearted expression of personality, the miserere
stalls have proved of inestimable worth to the world of art, as a
record of human skill and genial mirth.


A good many of the vices of the times were portrayed on the miserere
seats. The "backbiter" is frequently seen, in most unlovely form,
and two persons gossiping with an "unseen witness" in the shape
of an avenging friend, looking on and waiting for his opportunity
to strike! Gluttons and misers are always accompanied by familiar
devils, who prod and goad them into such sin as shall make them
their prey at the last. Among favourite subjects on miserere seats
is the "alewife." No wonder ale drinking proved so large a factor in
the jokes of the fraternity, for the rate at which it was consumed,
in this age when it took the place of both tea and coffee, was
enormous. The inmates of St. Cross Hospital, Winchester, who were
alluded to as "impotents," received daily one gallon of beer each,
with two extra quarts on holidays! If this were the allowance of
pensioners, what must have been the proportion among the well-to-do?
In 1558 there is a record of a dishonest beer seller who gave only a
pint for a penny drink, instead of the customary quart! The subject
of the alewife who had cheated her customers, being dragged to hell
by demons, is often treated by the carvers with much relish, in
the sacred precincts of the church choir!


At Ludlow there is a relief which shows the unlucky lady carried
on the back of a demon, hanging with her head upside down, while a
smiling "recording imp" is making notes in a scroll concerning her!
In one of the Chester Mysteries, the Ale Wife is made to confess
her own shortcomings:

  "Some time I was a taverner,
   A gentle gossip and a tapster,
   Of wine and ale a trusty brewer,
     Which woe hath me wrought.

   Of cans I kept no true measure,
   My cups I sold at my pleasure,
   Deceiving many a creature,
     Though my ale were nought!"

There is a curious miserere in Holderness representing a nun between
two hares: she is looking out with a smile, and winking!

At Ripon the stalls show Jonah being thrown to the whale, and the
same Jonah being subsequently relinquished by the sea monster. The
whale is represented by a large bland smiling head, with gaping
jaws, occurring in the midst of the water, and Jonah takes the
usual "header" familiar in mediæval art, wherever this episode is

A popular treatment of the stall was the foliate mask; stems issuing
from the mouth of the mask and developing into leaves and vines.
This is an entirely foolish and unlovely design: in most cases
it is quite lacking in real humour, and makes one think more of
the senseless Roman grotesques and those of the Renaissance. The
mediæval quaintness is missing.

At Beverly a woman is represented beating a man, while a dog is
helping himself out of the soup cauldron. The misereres at Beverly
date from about 1520.

Animals as musicians, too, were often introduced,--pigs playing
on viols, or pipes, an ass performing on the harp, and similar
eccentricities may be found in numerous places, while Reynard the
Fox in all his forms abounds.

The choir stalls at Lincoln exhibit beautiful carving
and design: they date from the fourteenth century, and were given by
the treasurer, John de Welburne. There are many delightful miserere
seats, many of the selections in this case being from the legend
of Reynard the Fox.

Abbot Islip of Westminster was a great personality, influencing
his times and the place where his genius expressed itself. He was
very constant and thorough in repairing and restoring at the Abbey,
and under his direction much fine painting and illuminating were
accomplished. The special periods of artistic activity in most of
the cathedrals may be traced to the personal influence of some
cultured ecclesiastic.

A very beautiful specimen of English carving is the curious oak
chest at York Cathedral, on which St. George fighting the dragon
is well rendered. However, the termination of the story differs
from that usually associated with this legend, for the lady leads
off the subdued dragon in a leash, and the very abject crawl of
the creature is depicted with much humour.

Mediæval ivory carving practically commenced with the fourth century;
in speaking of the tools employed, it is safe to say that they
corresponded to those used by sculptors in wood. It is generally
believed by authorities that there was some method by which ivory
could be taken from the whole rounded surface of the tusk, and then,
by soaking, or other treatment, rendered sufficiently malleable to
be bent out into a large flat sheet: for some of the large mediæval
ivories are much wider than the diameter of any known possible tusk.
There are recipes in the early treatises which tell how to soften
the ivory that it may be more easily sculptured: in the Mappae
Clavicula, in the twelfth century, directions are given for preparing
a bath in which to steep ivory, in order to make it soft. In the
Sloane MS. occurs another recipe for the same purpose.

Ahab's "ivory house which he made" must have been either covered
with a very thin veneer, or else the ivory was used as inlay, which
was often the case, in connection with ebony. Ezekiel alludes to
this combination. Ivory and gold were used by the Greeks in their
famous Chryselephantine statues, in which cases thin plates of
ivory formed the face, hands, and exposed parts, the rest being
overlaid with gold, This art originated with the brothers Dipœnus
and Scillis, about 570 B. C., in Crete.

"In sculpturing ivory," says Theophilus, "first form a tablet of
the magnitude you may wish, and superposing chalk, portray with
a lead the figures according to your pleasure, and with a pointed
instrument mark the lines that they may appear: then carve the
grounds as deeply as you wish with different instruments, and sculp
the figures or other things you please, according to your invention
and skill." He tells how to make a knife handle with open work
carvings, through which a gold ground is visible: and extremely
handsome would such a knife be when completed, according to Theophilus'
directions. He also tells how to redden ivory. "There is likewise
an herb called 'rubrica,' the root of which is long, slender, and
of a red colour; this being dug up is dried in the sun and is pounded
in a mortar with the pestle, and so being scraped into a pot, and a
lye poured over it, is then cooked. In this, when it has well boiled,
the bone of the elephant or fish or stag, being placed, is made red."
Mediæval chessmen were made in ivory: very likely the need for a red
stain was felt chiefly for such pieces.

The celebrated Consular Diptychs date from the fourth century onwards.
It was the custom for Consuls to present to senators and other
officials these little folding ivory tablets, and the adornment
of Diptychs was one of the chief functions of the ivory worker.
Some of them were quite ambitious in size; in the British Museum
is a Diptych measuring over sixteen inches by five: the tusk from
which this was made must have been almost unique in size. It is
a Byzantine work, and has the figure of an angel carved upon it.

Gregory the Great sent a gift of ivory to Theodolinda, Queen of
the Lombards, in 600. This is decorated with three figures, and
is a most interesting diptych.

The earliest diptych, however, is of the year 406, known as the
Diptych of Probus, on which may be seen a bas-relief portrait of
Emperor Honorius. On the Diptych of Philoxenus is a Greek verse
signifying, "I, Philoxenus, being Consul, offer this present to
the wise Senate." An interesting diptych, sixteen inches by six,
is inscribed, "Flavius Strategius Apius, illustrious man, count
of the most fervent servants, and consul in ordinary." This
consul was invested in 539; the work was made in Rome, but it
is the property of the Cathedral of Orviedo in Spain, where it
is regarded as a priceless treasure.

Claudian, in the fourth century, alludes to diptychs, speaking of
"huge tusks cut with steel into tablets and gleaming with gold,
engraved with the illustrious name of the Consul, circulated among
great and small, and the great wonder of the Indies, the elephant,
wanders about in tuskless shame!" In Magaster, a city which according
to Marco Polo, was governed by "four old men," they sold "vast
quantities of elephants' teeth."

Rabanus, a follower of Alcuin, born in 776, was the author of an
interesting encyclopædia, rejoicing in the comprehensive title,
"On the Universe." This work is in twenty-two books, which are
supposed to cover all possible subjects upon which a reader might
be curious.... The seventeenth book is on "the dust and soil of
the earth," under which uninviting head he includes all kinds of
stones, common and precious; salt, flint, sand, lime, jet, asbestos,
and the Persian moonstone, of whose brightness he claims that it
"waxes and wanes with the moon." Later he devotes some space to
pearls, crystals, and glass. Metals follow, and marbles and _ivory_,
though why the latter should be classed among minerals we shall
never understand.


The Roman diptychs were often used as after-dinner gifts to
distinguished guests. They were presented on various occasions.
In the Epistles of Symmachus, the writer says: "To my Lord and
Prince I sent a diptych edged with gold. I presented other friends
also with these ivory note books."

While elephant's tusks provided ivory for the southern races, the
more northern peoples used the walrus and narwhale tusks. In Germany
this was often the case. The fabulous unicorn's horn, which is so
often alluded to in early literature, was undoubtedly from the
narwhale, although its possessor always supposed that he had secured
the more remarkable horn which was said to decorate the unicorn.

Triptychs followed diptychs in natural sequence. These, in the Middle
Ages, were usually of a devotional character, although sometimes
secular subjects occur. Letters were sometimes written on ivory
tablets, which were supposed to be again used in forwarding a reply.
St. Augustine apologizes for writing on parchment, explaining, "My
ivory tablets I sent with letters to your uncle; if you have any
of my tablets, please send them in case of similar emergencies."
Tablets fitted with wax linings were used also in schools, as children
now use slates.

Ivory diptychs were fashionable gifts and keepsakes in the later
Roman imperial days. They took the place which had been occupied
in earlier days by illuminated books, such as were produced by
Lala of Cyzicus, of whom mention will be made in connection with
book illuminators.


After the triptychs came sets of five leaves, hinged together;
sometimes these were arranged in groups of four around a central
plaque. Often they were intended to be used as book covers.
Occasionally the five leaves were made up of classical ivories
which had been altered in such a way that they now had Christian
significance. The beautiful diptych in the Bargello, representing
Adam in the Earthly Paradise, may easily have been originally
intended for Orpheus, especially since Eve is absent! The treatment
is rather classical, and was probably adapted to its later name.
Some diptychs which were used afterwards for ecclesiastical
purposes, show signs of having had the Consular inscription erased,
and the wax removed, while Christian sentiments were written or
incised within the book itself. Parts of the service were also
occasionally transcribed on diptychs. In Milan the Rites contain
these passages: "The lesson ended, a scholar, vested in a surplice,
takes the ivory tablets from the altar or ambo, and ascends the
pulpit;" and in another place a similar allusion occurs: "When the
Deacon chants the Alleluia, the key bearer for the week hands the
ivory tablets to him at the exit of the choir."

Anastatius, in his Life of Pope Agatho, tells of a form of posthumous
excommunication which was sometimes practised: "They took away from
the diptychs... wherever it could be done, the names and figures
of these patriarchs, Cyrus, Sergius, Paul, Pyrrhus, and Peter,
through whom error had been brought among the orthodox."

Among ivory carvings in Carlovingian times may be
cited a casket with ornamental colonettes sent by Eginhard to his
son. In 823, Louis le Debonaire owned a statuette, a diptych, and
a coffer, while in 845 the Archbishop of Rheims placed an order
for ivory book covers, for the works of St. Jerome, a Lectionary,
and other works.

The largest and best known ivory carving of the middle ages is
the throne of Maximian, Archbishop of Ravenna. This entire chair,
with an arched back and arms, is composed of ivory in intricately
carved plaques. It is considerably over three feet in height, and is
a superb example of the best art of the sixth century. Photographs
and reproductions of it may be seen in most works dealing with
this subject. Scenes from Scripture are set all over it, divided
by charming meanders of deeply cut vine motives. Some authorities
consider the figures inferior to the other decorations: of course
in any delineation of the human form, the archaic element is more
keenly felt than when it appears in foliate forms or conventional
patterns. Diptychs being often taken in considerable numbers and
set into large works of ivory, has led some authorities to suppose
that the Ravenna throne was made of such a collection; but this
is contradicted by Passeri in 1759, who alludes to the panels in
the following terms: "They might readily be taken by the ignorant
for diptychs.... This they are not, for they cannot be taken from
the consular diptychs which had their own ornamentation, referring
to the consultate and the insignia, differing from the sculpture
destined for other purposes. Hence they are obviously mistaken who
count certain tablets as diptychs which have no ascription to any
consul, but represent the Muses, Bacchantes, or Gods. These seem
to me to have been book covers." Probably the selected form of an
upright tablet for the majority of ivory carvings is based on
economic principles: the best use of the most surface from any
square block of material is to cut it in thin slices. In their
architecture the southern mediæval builders so treated stone, building
a substructure of brick and laying a slab or veneer of the more
costly material on its surface: with ivory this same principle
was followed, and the shape of the tusk, being long and narrow,
naturally determined the form of the resulting tablets.

The Throne of Ivan III. in Moscow and that of St. Peter in Rome
are also magnificent monuments of this art. Ivory caskets were the
chief manifestation of taste in that medium, during the period of
transition from the eighth century until the revival of Byzantine
skill in the tenth century. This form of sculpture was at its best
at a time when stone sculpture was on the decline.

There is a fascinating book cover in Ravenna which is a good example
of sixth century work of various kinds. In the centre, Christ is
seen, enthroned under a kind of palmetto canopy; above him, on
a long panel, are two flying angels displaying a cross set in a
wreath; at either end stand little squat figures, with balls and
crosses in their hands. Scenes from the miracles of Our Lord occupy
the two side panels, which are subdivided so that there are four
scenes in all; they are so quaint as to be really grotesque, but
have a certain blunt charm which is enhanced by the creamy lumpiness
of the material in which they are rendered. The healing of the
blind, raising of the dead, and the command to the man by the pool
to take up his bed and walk, are accurately represented; the bed
in this instance is a form of couch with a wooden frame and
mattress, the carrying of which would necessitate an unusual amount
of strength on the part of even a strong, well man. One of the most
naïve of these panels of the miracles is the curing of "one
possessed:" the boy is tied with cords by the wrists and ankles,
while, at the touch of the Master, a little demon is seen issuing
from the top of the head of the sufferer, waving its arms proudly
to celebrate its freedom! Underneath is a small scene of the three
Children in the Fiery Furnace; they look as if they were presenting
a vaudeville turn, being spirited in action, and very dramatic.
Below all, is a masterly panel of Jonah and the whale,--an old
favourite, frequently appearing in mediæval art. The whale,
positively smiling and sportive, eagerly awaits his prey at the
right. Jonah is making a graceful dive from the ship, apparently
with an effort to land in the very jaws of the whale. At the
opposite side, the whale, having coughed up his victim, looks
disappointed, while Jonah, in an attitude of lassitude suggestive
of sea-sickness, reclines on a bank; an angel, with one finger
lifted as if in reproach, is hurrying towards him.

An ingenuous ivory carving of the ninth century in Carlovingian
style is a book cover on which is depicted the finding of St. Gall,
by tame bears in the wilderness. These bears, walking decorously
on their hind legs, are figured as carrying bread to the hungry
saint: one holds a long French loaf of a familiar pattern, and
the other a breakfast roll!

Bernward of Hildesheim had a branch for ivory carving in his celebrated
academy, to which allusion has been made.

Ivory drinking horns were among the most beautiful and ornate examples
of secular ivories. They were called Oliphants, because the tusks
of elephants were chiefly used in their manufacture. In 1515 the
Earl of Ormonde leaves in his will "a little white horn of ivory
garnished at both ends with gold," and in St. Paul's in the thirteenth
century, there is mention of "a great horn of ivory engraved with
beasts and birds." The Horn of Ulphas at York is an example of the
great drinking horns from which the Saxons and Danes, in early
days, drank in token of transfer of lands; as we are told by an old
chronicler, "When he gave the horn that was to convey his estate,
he filled it with wine, and went on his knees before the altar...
so that he drank it off in testimony that thereby he gave them
his lands." This horn was given by Ulphas to the Cathedral with
certain lands, a little before the Conquest, and placed by him
on the altar.

Interesting ivories are often the pastoral staves
carried by bishops. That of Otho Bishop of Hildesheim in 1260 is
inscribed in the various parts: "Persuade by the lower part; rule
by the middle; and correct by the point." These were apparently
the symbolic functions of the crozier. The French Gothic ivory
croziers are perhaps more beautiful than others, the little figures
standing in the carved volutes being especially delicate and graceful.


Before a mediæval bishop could perform mass he was enveloped in
a wrapper, and his hair was combed "respectfully and lightly" (no
tugging!) by the deacon. This being a part of the regular ceremonial,
special carved combs of ivory, known as Liturgical Combs, were used.
Many of them remain in collections, and they are often ornamented in
the most delightful way, with little processions and Scriptural scenes
in bas-relief. In the Regalia of England, there was mentioned among
things destroyed in 1649, "One old comb of horn, worth nothing."
According to Davenport, this may have been the comb used in smoothing
the king's hair on the occasion of a Coronation.

The rich pulpit at Aix la Chapelle is covered with plates of gold
set with stones and ivory carvings; these are very fine. It was
given to the cathedral by the Emperor Henry II. The inscription
may be thus translated: "Artfully brightened in gold and precious
stones, this pulpit is here dedicated by King Henry with reverence,
desirous of celestial glory: richly it is decorated with his own
treasures, for you, most Holy Virgin, in order that you may obtain
the highest gain as a future reward for him." The sentiment is
not entirely disinterested; but are not motives generally mixed?
St. Bernard preached a Crusade from this pulpit in 1146. The ivory
carvings are very ancient, and remarkably fine, representing figures
from the Greek myths.

Ivory handles were usual for the fly-fan, or flabellum, used at
the altar, to keep flies and other insects away from the Elements.
One entry in an inventory in 1429 might be confusing if one did not
know of this custom: the article is mentioned as "one muscifugium
de pecock" meaning a fly-fan of peacock's feathers!

Small round ivory boxes elaborately sculptured were used both for
Reserving the Host and for containing relics. In the inventory of
the Church of St. Mary Hill, London, was mentioned, in the fifteenth
century, "a lytill yvory cofyr with relyks." At Durham, in 1383,
there is an account of an "ivory casket conteining a vestment of
St. John the Baptist," and in the fourteenth century, in the same
collection, was "a tooth of St. Gendulphus, good for the Falling
Sickness, in a small ivory pyx."


Ivory mirror backs lent themselves well to decorations of a more
secular nature: these are often carved with the Siege of the Castle
of Love, and with scenes from the old Romances; tournaments were
very popular, with ladies in balconies above pelting the heroes
with roses as large as themselves, and the tutor Aristotle "playing
horse" was a great favourite. Little elopements on horseback were
very much liked, too, as subjects; sometimes rows of heroes on steeds
appear, standing under windows, from which, in a most wholesale
way, whole nunneries or boarding-schools seem to be descending to
fly with them. One of these mirrors shows Huon of Bordeaux playing
at chess with the king's daughter: another represents a castle,
which occupies the upper centre of the circle, and under the window
is a drawbridge, across which passes a procession of mounted knights.
One of these has paused, and, standing balancing himself in a most
precarious way on the pommels of his saddle, is assisting a lady to
descend from a window. Below are seen others, or perhaps the same
lovers, in a later stage of the game, escaping in a boat. At the
windows are the heads of other ladies awaiting their turn to be
carried off.

[Illustration: IVORY MIRROR CASE, 1340]

An ivory chest of simple square shape, once the property of the Rev.
Mr. Bowle, is given in detail by Carter in the Ancient Specimens,
and is as interesting an example of allegorical romance as can
be imagined. Observe the attitude of the knight who has laid his
sword across a chasm in order to use it as a bridge. He is proceeding
on all fours, with unbent knees, right up the sharp edge of the blade!

Among small box shrines which soon developed in Christian times
from the Consular diptychs is one, in the inventory of Roger de
Mortimer, "a lyttle long box of yvory, with an ymage of Our ladye
therein closed."

The differences in expression between French, English, and German
ivory carvings is quite interesting. The French faces and figures
have always a piquancy of action: the nose is a little retroussée
and the eyelids long. The German shows more solidity of person,
less transitoriness and lightness about the figure, and the nose
is blunter. The English carvings are often spirited, so as to be
almost grotesque in their strenuousness, and the tool-mark is visible,
giving ruggedness and interest.

Nothing could be more exquisite than the Gothic shrines in ivory
made in the thirteenth century, but descriptions, unless accompanied
by illustrations, could give little idea of their individual charm,
for the subject is usually the same: the Virgin and child, in the
central portion of the triptych, while scenes from the Passion
occupy the spaces on either side, in the wings.

Statuettes in the round were rare in early Christian times: one of
the Good Shepherd in the Basilewski collection is almost unique,
but pyxes in cylindrical form were made, the sculpture on them
being in relief. In small ivory statuettes it was necessary to
follow the natural curve of the tusk in carving the figure, hence
the usual twisted, and sometimes almost contorted forms often seen
in these specimens. Later, this peculiarity was copied in stone,
unconsciously, simply because the style had become customary. One
of the most charming little groups of figures in ivory is in the
Louvre, the Coronation of the Virgin. The two central figures are
flanked by delightful jocular little angels, who have that
characteristic close-lipped, cat-like smile, which is a regular
feature in all French sculpture of the Gothic type. In a little
triptych of the fourteenth century, now in London, there is the
rather unusual scene of Joseph, sitting opposite the Virgin, and
holding the Infant in his arms.

Among the few names of mediæval ivory carvers known, are Henry de
Grès, in 1391, Héliot, 1390, and Henry de Senlis, in 1484. Héliot
is recorded as having produced for Philip the Bold "two large ivory
tablets with images, one of which is the... life of Monsieur St.
John Baptist." This polite description occurs in the Accounts of
Amiot Arnaut, in 1392.

A curious freak of the Gothic period was the making of ivory statuettes
of the Virgin, which opened down the centre (like the Iron Maiden
of Nüremberg), and disclosed within a series of Scriptural scenes
sculptured on the back and on both sides. These images were called
Vierges Ouvrantes, and were decidedly more curious than beautiful.

In the British Museum is a specimen of northern work, a basket cut
out from the bone of a whale; it is Norse in workmanship, and there
is a Runic inscription about the border, which has been thus

  "The whale's bones from the fishes' flood
   I lifted on Fergen Hill:
   He was dashed to death in his gambols
   And aground he swam in the shallows."

Fergen Hill refers to an eminence near Durham.


Some very ancient chessmen are preserved in the British Museum, in
particular a set called the Lewis Chessmen. They were discovered
in the last century, being laid bare by the pick axe of a labourer.
These chessmen have strange staring eyes; when the workman saw
them, he took them for gnomes who had come up out of the bowels
of the earth, to annoy him, and he rushed off in terror to report
what proved to be an important archæological discovery.

One of the chessmen of Charlemagne is to be seen in Paris: he rides
an elephant, and is attended by a cortège, all in one piece. Sometimes
these men are very elaborate ivory carvings in themselves.

As Mr. Maskell points out that bishops did not wear mitres, according
to high authority, until after the year 1000, it is unlikely that
any of the ancient chessmen in which the Bishop appears in a mitre
should be of earlier date than the eleventh century. There is one
fine Anglo-Saxon set of draughts in which the white pieces are
of walrus ivory, and the black pieces, of genuine jet.

Paxes, which were passed about in church for the Kiss of Peace,
were sometimes made of ivory.

There are few remains of early Spanish ivory sculpture. Among them
is a casket curiously and intricately ornamented and decorated,
with the following inscription: "In the Name of God, The Blessing
of God, the complete felicity, the happiness, the fulfilment of
the hope of good works, and the adjourning of the fatal period
of death, be with Hagib Seifo.... This box was made by his orders
under the inspection of his slave Nomayr, in the year 395." Ivory
caskets in Spain were often used to contain perfumes, or to serve as
jewel boxes. It was customary, also, to use them to convey presents
of relics to churches. Ivory was largely used in Spain for inlay
in fine furniture.

King Don Sancho ordered a shrine, in 1033, to contain the relics
of St. Millan. The ivory plaques which are set about this shrine
are interesting specimens of Spanish art under Oriental domination.
Under one little figure is inscribed Apparitio Scholastico, and
Remirus Rex under another, while a figure of a sculptor carving a
shield, with a workman standing by him, is labelled "Magistro and
Ridolpho his son."

Few individual ivory carvers are known by name. A French artist,
Jean Labraellier, worked in ivory for Charles V. of France; and
in Germany it must have been quite a fashionable pursuit in high
life; the Elector of Saxony, August the Pious, who died in 1586,
was an ivory worker, and there are two snuff-boxes shown as the
work of Peter the Great. The Elector of Brandenburgh and Maximilian
of Bavaria both carved ivory for their own recreation. In the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were many well-known
sculptors who turned their attention to ivory; but our researches
hardly carry us so far.

For a moment, however, I must touch on the subject of billiard
balls. It may interest our readers to know that the size of the
little black dot on a ball indicates its quality. The nerve which
runs through a tusk, is visible at this point, and a ball made from
the ivory near the end of the tusk, where the nerve has tapered
off to its smallest proportions, is the best ball. The finest balls
of all are made from short stubby tusks, which are known as "ball
teeth." The ivory in these is closer in grain, and they are much
more expensive. Very large tusks are more liable to have coarse
grained bony spaces near the centre.



There are three kinds of inlay, one where the pattern is incised,
and a plastic filling pressed in, and allowed to harden, on the
principle of a niello; another, where both the piece to be set
in and the background are cut out separately; and a third, where
a number of small bits are fitted together as in a mosaic. The
pavement in Siena is an example of the first process. The second
process is often accomplished with a fine saw, like what is popularly
known as a jig saw, cutting the same pattern in light and dark
wood, one layer over another; the dark can then be set into the
light, and the light in the dark without more than one cutting
for both. The mosaic of small pieces can be seen in any of the
Southern churches, and, indeed, now in nearly every country. It
was the chief wall treatment of the middle ages.


About the year 764, Maestro Giudetto ornamented the delightful
Church of St. Michele at Lucca. This work, or at least the best of
it, is a procession of various little partly heraldic and partly
grotesque animals, inlaid with white marble on a ground of green
serpentine. They are full of the best expression of mediæval art.
The Lion of Florence, the Hare of Pisa, the Stork of Perugia, the
Dragon of Pistoja, are all to be seen in these simple mosaics,
if one chooses to consider them as such, hardly more than white
silhouettes, and yet full of life and vigour. The effect is that
of a vast piece of lace,--the real cut work of the period. Absurd
little trees, as space fillers, are set in the green and white
marble. Every reader will remember how Ruskin was enthusiastic over
these little creatures, and no one can fail to feel their charm.

The pavements at the Florentine Baptistery and at San Miniato are
interesting examples of inlay in black and white marble. They are
early works, and are the natural forerunners of the marvellous
pavement at Siena, which is the most remarkable of its kind in the

The pavement masters worked in varying methods. The first of these
was the joining together of large flat pieces of marble, cut in
the shapes of the general design, and then outlining on them an
actual black drawing by means of deeply cut channels, filled with
hard black cement. The channels were first cut superficially and
then emphasized and deepened by the use of a drill, in a series
of holes.


Later workers used black marbles for the backgrounds, red for the
ground, and white for the figures, sometimes adding touches of
yellow inlay for decorations, jewels, and so forth. Some of the
workers even used gray marble to represent shadows, but this was
very difficult, and those who attempted less chiaroscuro were more
successful from a decorator's point of view.

This work covered centuries. The earliest date of the ornamental
work in Siena is 1369. From 1413 to 1423 Domenico del Coro, a famous
worker in glass and in intarsia, was superintendent of the works. The
beauty and spirit of much of the earlier inlay have been impaired
by restoration, but the whole effect is unique, and on so vast a
scale that one hesitates to criticize it just as one hesitates
to criticize the windows at Gouda.

One compartment of the floor is in genuine mosaic, dating from
1373. The designer is unknown, but the feeling is very Sienese;
Romulus and Remus are seen in their customary relation to the
domesticated wolf, while the symbolical animals of various Italian
cities are arranged in a series of circles around this centrepiece.
One of the most striking designs is that of Absalom, hanging by
his hair. It is in sharp black and white, and the foliage of the
trees is remarkably decorative, rendered with interesting minutiæ.
This is attributed to Pietro del Minella, and was begun in 1447.

A very interesting composition is that of the Parable of the Mote and
the Beam. This is an early work, about 1375; it shows two gentlemen
in the costume of the period, arguing in courtly style, one apparently
declaiming to the other how much better it would be for him if
it were not for the mote in his eye, while from the eye of the
speaker himself extends, at an impossible angle, a huge wedge of
wood, longer than his head, from which he appears to suffer no
inconvenience, and which seems to have defied the laws of gravitation!

The renowned Matteo da Siena worked on the pavement; he designed
the scene of the Massacre of the Innocents--it seems to have been
always his favourite subject. He was apparently of a morbid turn.

In 1505 Pinturicchio was paid for a work on the floor: "To master
Bernardino Pinturicchio, ptr., for his labour in making a cartoon
for the design of Fortune, which is now being made in the Cathedral,
on this 13th day of March, 12 Lires for our said Master Alberto."
The mosaic is in red, black, and white, while other coloured marbles
are introduced in the ornamental parts of the design, several of which
have been renewed. Fortune herself has been restored, also, as have
most of the lower figures in the composition. Her precariousness
is well indicated by her action in resting one foot on a ball, and
the other on an unstable little boat which floats, with broken
mast, by the shore. She holds a sail above her head, so that she
is liable to be swayed by varying winds. The three upper figures
are in a better state of preservation than the others.


There was also in France some interest in mosaic during the eleventh
century. At St. Remi in Rheims was a celebrated pavement in which
enamels were used as well as marbles. Among the designs which appeared
on this pavement, which must have positively rivalled Siena in its
glory, was a group of the Seven Arts, as well as numerous Biblical
scenes. It is said that certain bits of valuable stone, like jasper,
were exhibited in marble settings, like "precious stones in a ring."
There were other French pavements, of the eleventh century, which
were similar in their construction, in which terra cotta was employed
for the reds.

"Pietra Dura" was a mosaic laid upon either a thick wood or a marble
foundation. Lapis lazuli, malachite, and jasper were used largely,
as well as bloodstones, onyx, and Rosso Antico. In Florentine Pietra
Dura work, the inlay of two hard and equally cut materials reached
its climax.

Arnolfo del Cambio, who built the Cathedral of Sta. Maria Fiore in
Florence, being its architect from 1294 till 1310, was the first
in that city to use coloured slabs and panels of marble in a sort
of flat mosaic on a vast scale on the outside of buildings. His
example has been extensively followed throughout Italy. The art
of Pietra Dura mosaic began under Cosimo I. who imported it, if
one may use such an expression, from Lombardy. It was used chiefly,
like Gobelins Tapestry, to make very costly presents, otherwise
unprocurable, for grandees and crowned heads. For a long time the
work was a Royal monopoly. There are several interesting examples
in the Pitti Palace, in this case in the form of tables. Flowers,
fruits, shells, and even figures and landscapes have been represented
in this manner.

Six masters of the art of Pietra Dura came from Milan in 1580,
to instruct the Florentines: and a portrait of Cosimo I. was the
first important result of their labours. It was executed by Maestro
Francesco Ferucci. The Medicean Mausoleum in Florence exhibits
magnificent specimens of this craft.

In the time of Ferdinand I. the art was carried by Florentines
to India, where it was used in decorating some of the palaces.
Under Ferdinand II. Pietra Dura reached its climax, there being
in Florence at this time a most noted Frenchman, Luigi Siriès,
who settled in Florence in 1722. He refined the art by ceasing to
use the stone as a pigment in producing pictures, and employing
it for the more legitimate purposes of decoration. Some of the
large tables in the Pitti are his work. Flowers and shells on a
porphyry ground were especially characteristic of Siriès. There was
a famous inlayer of tables, long before this time, named Antonio
Leopardi, who lived from 1450 to 1525.

The inlay of wood has been called marquetry and intarsia, and was
used principally on furniture and choir stalls. Labarte gives the
origin of this art in Italy to the twelfth century. The Guild of
Carpenters in Florence had a branch of Intarsiatura workers, which
included all forms of inlay in wood. It is really more correct
to speak of intarsia when we allude to early Italian work, the
word being derived from "interserere," the Latin for "insert;"
while marquetry originates in France, much later, from "marqueter,"
to mark. Italian wood inlay began in Siena, where one Manuello is
reported to have worked in the Cathedral in 1259. Intarsia was
also made in Orvieto at this time. Vasari did not hold the art in
high estimation, saying that it was practised by "those persons who
possessed more patience than skill in design," and I confess to a
furtive concurrence in Vasari's opinion. He criticizes it a little
illogically, however, when he goes on to say that the "work soon
becomes dark, and is always in danger of perishing from the worms
and by fire," for in these respects it is no more perishable than
any great painting on canvas or panel. Vasari always is a little
extreme, as we know.

The earliest Italian workers took a solid block of wood, chiselled
out a sunken design, and then filled in the depression with other
woods. The only enemy to such work was dampness, which might loosen
the glue, or cause the small thin bits to swell or warp. The glue
was applied always when the surfaces were perfectly clean, and
the whole was pressed, being screwed down on heated metal plates,
that all might dry evenly.

In 1478 there were thirty-four workshops of intarsia makers in
Florence. The personal history of several of the Italian workers
in inlay is still available, and, as it makes a craft seem much
more vital when the names of the craftsmen are known to us, it
will be interesting to glance at a few names of prominent artists
in this branch of work. Bernardo Agnolo and his family are among
them; and Domenico and Giovanni Tasso were wood-carvers who worked
with Michelangelo. Among the "Novelli," there is a quaint tale
called "The Fat Ebony Carver," which is interesting to read in this

Benedetto da Maiano, one of the "most solemn" workers in intarsia in
Florence, became disgusted with his art after one trying experience,
and ever after turned his attention to other carving. Vasari's
version of the affair is as follows. Benedetto had been making
two beautiful chests, all inlaid most elaborately, and carried
them to the Court of Hungary, to exhibit the workmanship. "When
he had made obeisance to the king, and had been kindly received,
he brought forward his cases and had them unpacked... but it was
then he discovered that the humidity of the sea voyage had softened
the glue to such an extent that when the waxed cloths in which
the coffers had been wrapped were opened, almost all the pieces
were found sticking to them, and so fell to the ground! Whether
Benedetto stood amazed and confounded at such an event, in the
presence of so many nobles, let every one judge for himself."

A famous family of wood inlayers were the del Tasso, who came from
S. Gervasio. One of the brothers, Giambattista, was a wag, and
is said to have wasted much time in amusement and standing about
criticizing the methods of others. He was a friend of Cellini, and
all his cronies pronounce him to have been a good fellow. On one
occasion he had a good dose of the spirit of criticism, himself,
from a visiting abbot, who stopped to see the Medicean tomb, where
Tasso happened to be working. Tasso was requested to show the stranger
about, which he did. The abbot began by depreciating the beauty of
the building, remarking that Michelangelo's figures in the Sacristy
did not interest him, and on his way up the stairs, he chanced to
look out of a window and caught sight of Brunelleschi's dome. When
the dull ecclesiastic began to say that this dome did not merit
the admiration which it raised, the exasperated Tasso, who was
loyal to his friends, could stand no more. Il Lasca recounts what
happened: "Pulling the abbot backward with force, he made him
tumble down the staircase, and he took good care to fall himself
on top of him, and calling out that the frater had been taken mad,
he bound his arms and legs with cords... and then taking him,
hanging over his shoulders, he carried him to a room near,
stretched him on the ground, and left him there in the dark, taking
away the key." We will hope that if Tasso himself was too prone to
criticism, he may have learned a lesson from this didactic monastic,
and was more tolerant in the future.

Of the work of Canozio, a worker of about the same time, Matteo
Colaccio in 1486, writes, "In visiting these intarsiad figures I
was so much taken with the exquisiteness of the work that I could
not withold myself from praising the author to heaven!" He refers
thus ecstatically to the Stalls at St. Antonio at Padua, which
were inlaid by Canozio, assisted by other masters. For his work
in the Church of St. Domenico in Reggio, the contract called for
some curious observances: he was bound by this to buy material
for fifty lire, to work one third of the whole undertaking for
fifty lire, to earn another fifty lire for each succeeding third,
and then to give "forty-eight planks to the Lady," whatever that may
mean! Among the instruments mentioned are: "Two screw profiles: one
outliner: four one-handed little planes: rods for making cornices:
two large squares and one grafonetto: three chisels, one glued and
one all of iron: a pair of big pincers: two little axes: and a bench
to put the tarsia on." Pyrography has its birth in intarsia, where
singeing was sometimes employed as a shading in realistic designs.

In the Study of the Palace at Urbino, there is mention of "arm
chairs encircling a table all mosaicked with tarsia, and carved
by Maestro Giacomo of Florence," a worker of considerable repute.
One of the first to adopt the use of ivory, pearl, and silver for
inlay was Andrea Massari of Siena. In this same way inlay of
tortoise-shell and brass was made,--the two layers were sawed out
together, and then counterchanged so as to give the pattern in
each material upon the other. Cabinets are often treated in this
way. Ivory and sandal-wood or ebony, too, have been sometimes thus
combined. In Spain cabinets were often made of a sort of mosaic of
ebony and silver; in 1574 a Prohibtion was issued against using
silver in this way, since it was becoming scarce.

In De Luna's "Diologos Familiarea," a Spanish work of 1669, the
following conversation is given: "How much has your worship paid
for this cabinet? It is worth more than forty ducats. What wood
is it made of? The red is of mahogany, from Habaña, and the black
is made of ebony, and the white of ivory. You will find the
workmanship excellent." This proves that inlaid cabinets were
usual in Spain.

Ebony being expensive, it was sometimes simulated with stain. An
old fifteenth century recipe says: "Take boxwood and lay in oil
with sulphur for a night, then let it stew for an hour, and it
will become as black as coal." An old Italian book enjoins the
polishing of this imitation ebony as follows: "Is the wood to be
polished with burnt pumice stone? Rub the work carefully with canvas
and this powder, and then wash the piece with Dutch lime water so
that it may be more beautifully polished... then the rind of a
pomegranate must be steeped, and the wood smeared over with it,
and set to dry, but in the shade."

Inlay was often imitated; the elaborate marquetry cabinets in Sta.
Maria della Grazia in Milan which are proudly displayed are in
reality, according to Mr. Russell Sturgis, cleverly painted to
simulate the real inlaid wood. Mr. Hamilton Jackson says that these,
being by Luini, are intended to be known as paintings, but to imitate

Intarsia was made also among the monasteries. The Olivetans practised
this art extensively, and, much as some monasteries had scriptoria
for the production of books, so others had carpenter's shops and
studios where, according to Michele Caffi, they showed "great talent
for working in wood, succeeding to the heirship of the art of tarsia
in coloured woods, which they got from Tuscany." One of the more
important of the Olivetan Monasteries was St. Michele in Bosco, where
the noted worker in tarsia, Fra Raffaello da Brescia, made some
magnificent choir stalls. In 1521 these were finished, but they were
largely destroyed by the mob in the suppression of the convents in
the eighteenth century. In 1812 eighteen of the stalls were saved,
bought by the Marquis Malvezzi, and placed in St. Petronio. He tried
also to save the canopies, but these had been sold for firewood at
about twopence each!

The stalls of St. Domenico at Bologna are by Fra Damiano of Bergamo;
it is said of him that his woods were coloured so marvellously
that the art of tarsia was by him raised to the rank of that of
painting! He was a Dominican monk in Bologna most of his life.
When Charles V. visited the choir of St. Domenico, and saw these
stalls, he would not believe that the work was accomplished by
inlay, and actually cut a piece out with his sword by way of

Castiglione the Courtier expresses himself with much admiration
of the work of Fra Damiano, "rather divine than human." Of the
technical perfection of the workmanship he adds: "Though these
works are executed with inlaid pieces, the eye cannot even by the
greatest exertion detect the joints.... I think, indeed, I am certain,
that it will be called the eighth wonder of the world." (Count
Castiglione did not perhaps realize what a wonderful world he lived
in!) But at any rate there is no objection to subscribing to his
eulogy: "All that I could say would be little enough of his rare and
singular virtue, and on the goodness of his religious and holy life."
Another frate who wrote about that time alluded to Fra Damiano as
"putting together woods with so much art that they appear as pictures
painted with the brush."

In Germany there was some interesting intarsia made by the Elfen
Brothers, of St. Michael's in Hildesheim, who produced beautiful
chancel furniture. Hans Stengel of Nüremberg, too, was renowned
in this art.

After the Renaissance marquetry ran riot in France, but that is
out of the province of our present study.

The art of mosaic making has changed very little during the centuries.
Nearly all the technical methods now used were known to the ancients.
In fact, this art is rather an elemental one, and any departure
from old established rules is liable to lead the worker into a
new craft; his art becomes that of the inlayer or the enameller
when he attempts to use larger pieces in cloissons, or to fuse
bits together by any process.

Mosaic is a natural outgrowth from other inlaying; when an elaborate
design had to be set up, quite too complicated to be treated in
tortuously-cut large pieces, the craftsman naturally decided to
render the whole work with small pieces, which demanded less accurate
shaping of each piece. Originally, undoubtedly, each bit of glass or
stone was laid in the soft plaster of wall or floor; but now a more
labour saving method has obtained; it is amusing to watch the modern
rest-cure. Instead of an artist working in square bits of glass to
carry out his design, throwing his interest and personality into the
work, a labourer sits leisurely before a large cartoon, on which he
glues pieces of mosaic the prescribed colour and size, mechanically
fitting them over the design until it is completely covered. Then
this sheet of paper, with the mosaic glued to it, is slapped on to
the plaster wall, having the stones next to the plaster, so that,
until it is dry, all that can be seen is the sheet of paper apparently
fixed on the wall. But lo! the grand transformation! The paper is
washed off, leaving in place the finished product--a very accurate
imitation of the picture on which the artist laboured, all in place in
the wall, every stone evenly set as if it had been polished--entirely
missing the charm of the irregular faceted effect of an old
mosaic--again mechanical facility kills the spirit of an art.

Much early mosaic, known as Cosmati Work, is inlaid into marble,
in geometric designs; twisted columns of this class of work may be
seen in profusion in Rome, and the façade of Orvieto is similarly
decorated. Our illustration will demonstrate the technical process
as well as a description.

The mosaic base of Edward the Confessor's shrine is inscribed to
the effect that it was wrought by Peter of Rome. It was a dignified
specimen of the best Cosmati. All the gold glass which once played
its part in the scheme of decoration has been picked out, and in
fact most of the pieces in the pattern are missing.


The mosaic pavement in Westminster Abbey Presbytery is as fine
an example of Roman Cosmati mosaic as one can see north of the
Alps. An inscription, almost obliterated, is interpreted by Mr.
Lethaby as signifying, that in the year 1268 "Henry III. being
King, and Odericus the cementarius, Richard de Ware, Abbot, brought
the porphyry and divers jaspers and marbles of Thaso from Rome." In
another place a sort of enigma, drawn from an arbitrary combination
of animal forms and numbers, marks a chart for determining the end
of the world! There is also a beautiful mosaic tomb at Westminster,
inlaid with an interlacing pattern in a ground of marble, like the
work so usual in Rome, and in Palermo, and other Southern centres
of the art.

While the material used in mosaic wall decoration is sometimes a
natural product, like marble, porphyry, coral, or alabaster, the
picture is composed for the most part of artificially prepared
smalts--opaque glass of various colours, made in sheets and then
cut up into cubes. An infinite variety in gradations of colour
and texture is thus made possible.

The gold grounds which one sees in nearly all mosaics are constructed
in an interesting way. Each cube is composed of plain rather coarse
glass, of a greenish tinge, upon which is laid gold leaf. Over
this leaf is another film of glass, extremely thin, so that the
actual metal is isolated between two glasses, and is thus impervious
to such qualities in the air as would tarnish it or cause it to
deteriorate. To prevent an uninteresting evenness of surface on
which the sun's rays would glint in a trying manner, it was usual
to lay the gold cubes in a slightly irregular manner, so that
each facet, as it were, should reflect at a different angle,
and the texture, especially in the gold grounds, never became
monotonous. One does not realize the importance of this custom
until one sees a cheap modern mosaic laid absolutely flat, and then
it is evident how necessary this broken surface is to good effect.
Any one who has tried to analyze the reason for the superiority of
old French stained glass over any other, will be surprised, if
he goes close to the wall, under one of the marvellous windows
of Chartres, for instance, and looks up, to see that the whole
fabric is warped and bent at a thousand angles,--it is not only
the quality of the ancient glass, nor its colour, that gives this
unattainable expression to these windows, but the accidental warping
and wear of centuries have laid each bit of glass at a different
angle, so that the refraction of the light is quite different from
any possible reflection on the smooth surface of a modern window.

The dangers of a clear gold ground were, felt more fully by the
workers at Ravenna and Rome, than in Venice. Architectural schemes
were introduced to break up the surface: clouds and backgrounds,
fields of flowers, and trees, and such devices, were used to prevent
the monotony of the unbroken glint. But in Venice the decorators
were brave; their faith in their material was unbounded, and they
not only frankly laid gold in enormous masses on flat wall and
cupola, but they even moulded the edges and archivolts without
separate ribs or strips to relieve them; the gold is carried all
over the edges, which are rounded into curves to receive the mosaic,
so that the effect is that of the entire upper part of the church
having been _pressed_ into shape out of solid gold. The lights on
these rounded edges are incomparably rich.

It is equally important to vary the plain values of the colour,
and this was accomplished by means of dilution and contrast in
tints instead of by unevenness of surface, although in many of the
most satisfactory mosaics, both means have been employed. Plain
tints in mosaic can be relieved in a most delightful way by the
introduction of little separate cubes of unrelated colour, and
the artist who best understands this use of mass and dot is the
best maker of mosaic. The actual craft of construction is similar
everywhere, but the use of what we may regard as the pigment has
possibilities similar to the colours of a painter. The manipulation
being of necessity slow, it is more difficult to convey the idea
of spontaneity in design than it is in a fresco painting.

To follow briefly the history of mosaic as used in the Dark Ages,
the Middle Ages, and the period of the Renaissance, it is interesting
to note that by the fourth century mosaic was the principal decoration
in ecclesiastical buildings. Contantine employed this art very
extensively. Of his period, however, few examples remain. The most
notable is the little church of Sta. Constanza, the vaults of which
are ornamented in this way, with a fine running pattern of vines,
interspersed with figures on a small scale. The Libel Pontificalis
tells how Constantine built the Basilica of St. Agnese at the request
of his daughter, and also a baptistery in the same place, where
Constance was baptized, by Bishop Sylvester.

Among the most interesting early mosaics is the apse of the Church
of St. Pudentiana in Rome. Barbet de Jouy, who has written extensively
on this mosaic, considers it to be an eighth century achievement.
But a later archæologist, M. Rossi, believes it to have been made
in the fourth century, in which theory he is upheld by M. Vitet. The
design is that of a company of saints gathered about the Throne on
which God the Father sits to pass judgment. In certain restorations
and alterations made in 1588 two of these figures were cut away, and
the lower halves of those remaining were also removed, so that the
figures are now only half length. The faces and figures are drawn
in a very striking manner, being realistic and full of graceful
action, very different from the mosaics of a later period, which
were dominated by Byzantine tradition.

In France were many specimens of the mosaics of the fifth century.
But literary descriptions are all that have survived of these works,
which might once have been seen at Nantes, Tours, and Clermont.


Ravenna is the shrine of the craft in the fifth and sixth centuries.
It is useless in so small a space to attempt to describe or do
justice to these incomparable walls, where gleam the marvellous
procession of white robed virgins, and where glitters the royal
cortège of Justinian and Theodora. The acme of the art was reached
when these mural decorations were planned and executed, and the
churches of Ravenna may be considered the central museum of the
world for a study of mosaic.

Among those who worked at Ravenna a few names have descended. These
craftsmen were, Cuserius, Paulus, Janus, Statius and Stephanus,
but their histories are vague. Theodoric also brought some mosaic
artists from Rome to work in Ravenna, which fact accounts for a
Latin influence discernible in these mosaics, which are in many
instances free from Byzantine stiffness. The details of the textiles
in the great mosaics of Justinian and Theodora are rarely beautiful.
The chlamys with which Justinian is garbed is covered with circular
interlaces with birds in them; on the border of the Empress's robe
are embroideries of the three Magi presenting their gifts; on one
of the robes of the attendants there is a pattern of ducks swimming,
while another is ornamented with leaves of a five-pointed form.

There is a mosaic in the Tomb of Galla Placida in Ravenna, representing
St. Lawrence, cheerfully approaching his gridiron, with the Cross
and an open book encumbering his hands, while in a convenient corner
stands a little piece of furniture resembling a meat-safe, containing
the Four Gospels. The saint is walking briskly, and is fully draped;
the gridiron is of the proportions of a cot bedstead, and has a raging
fire beneath it,--a gruesome suggestion of the martyrdom.

No finer examples of the art of the colourist in mosaic can be
seen than in the procession of Virgins at San Apollinaire Nuovo
in Ravenna. Cool, restrained, and satisfying, the composition has
all the elements of chromatic perfection. In the golden background
occasional dots of light and dark brown serve to deepen the tone
into a slightly bronze colour. The effect is especially scintillating
and rich, more like hammered gold than a flat sheet. The colours
in the trees are dark and light green, while the Virgins, in brown
robes, with white draperies over them, are relieved with little
touches of gold. The whole tone being thus green and russet, with
purplish lines about the halos, is an unusual colour-scheme, and
can hardly carry such conviction in a description as when it is

In the East, the Church of Sta. Sophia at Constantinople exhibited
the most magnificent specimens of this work; the building was
constructed under Constantine, by the architects Anthemius and
Isidore, and the entire interior, walls and dome included, was covered
by mosaic pictures.

Among important works of the seventh century is the apse of St.
Agnese, in Rome. Honorius decorated the church, about 630, and it
is one of the most effective mosaics in Rome. At St. John Lateran,
also, Pope John IV. caused a splendid work to be carried out,
which has been reported as being as "brilliant as the sacred waters."

In the eighth century a magnificent achievement was accomplished
in the monastery of Centula, in Picardie, but all traces of this
have been lost, for the convent was burnt in 1131. The eighth was
not an active century for the arts, for in 726 Leo's edict was sent
forth, prohibiting all forms of image worship, and at a Council
at Constantinople in 754 it was decided that all iconographic
representation and all use of symbols (except in the Sacrament) were
blasphemous. Idolatrous monuments were destroyed, and the iconoclasts
continued their devastations until the death of Theophilus in 842.
Fortunately this wave of zeal was checked before the destruction of
the mosaics in Ravenna and Rome, but very few specimens survived
in France.

In the ninth century a great many important monuments were added,
and a majority of the mosaics which may still be seen, date from
that time: they are not first in quality, however, although they
are more numerous. After this, there was a period of inanition,
in this art as in all others, while the pseudo-prophets awaited
the ending of the world. After the year 1000 had passed, and the
astonished people found that they were still alive, and that the
world appeared as stable as formerly, interest began to revive,
and the new birth of art produced some significant examples in the
field of mosaic. There was some activity in Germany, for a time,
the versatile Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim adding this craft to
his numerous accomplishments, although it is probable that his
works resembled the graffiti and inlaid work rather than the
mosaics composed of cubes of smalt.

At the Monastery of Monte Cassino in the eleventh century was an
interesting personality,--the Abbé Didier, its Superior. About
1066 he brought workers from Constantinople, who decorated the apse
and walls of the basilica under his direction. At the same time,
he established a school at the monastery, and the young members
were instructed in the arts and crafts of mosaic and inlay, and
the illumination of books. Greek influence was thus carried into
Italy through Monte Cassino.

In the twelfth century the celebrated Suger of St. Denis decorated
one of the porches of his church with mosaic, in smalt, marbles,
and gold; animal and human forms were introduced in the ornament.
But this may not have been work actually executed on the spot,
for another narrator tells us that Suger brought home from Italy,
on one of his journeys, a mosaic, which was placed over the door
at St. Denis; as it is no longer in its position, it is not easy
to determine which account is correct.

The mosaics at St. Mark's in Venice were chiefly the work of two
centuries and a half. Greek artists were employed in the main,
bringing their own tesseræ and marbles. In 1204 there was special
activity in this line, at the time when the Venetians took
Constantinople. After this, an establishment for making the smalts
and gold glass was set up at Murano, and Venice no longer imported
its material.

The old Cathedral at Torcello has one of the most perfect examples
of the twelfth century mosaic in the world. The entire west end of
the church is covered with a rich display of figures and Scriptural
scenes. A very lurid Hell is exhibited at the lower corner, in the
depths of which are seen stewing, several Saracens, with large
hoop earrings. Their faces are highly expressive of discomfort.
This mosaic is full of genuine feeling; one of the subjects is
Amphitrite riding a seahorse, among those who rise to the surface
when "the sea gives up its dead." The Redeemed are seen crowding
round Abraham, who holds one in his bosom; they are like an infant
class, and are dressed in uniform pinafores, intended to look like
little ecclesiastical vestments! The Dead who are being given up by
the Earth are being vomited forth by wild animals--this is original,
and I believe, almost the only occasion on which this form of literal
resurrection is represented.

In the thirteenth century a large number of mosaic artists appeared
in Florence, many of whose names and histories are available. In the
Baptistery, Andrea Tafi, who lived between 1213 and 1294, decorated the
cupola. With him were two assistants who are known by name--Apollonius
a Greek, which in part accounts for the stiff Byzantine figures in
this work, and another who has left his signature, "Jacobus Sancti
Francisci Frater"--evidently a monastic craftsman. Gaddo Gaddi
also assisted in this work, executing the Prophets which occur
under the windows, and professing to combine in his style "the
Greek manner and that of Cimabue." Apollonius taught Andrea Tafi
how to compose the smalt and to mix the cement, but this latter
was evidently unsuccessful, for in the next century the mosaic
detached itself and fell badly, when Agnolo Gaddi, the grandson
of Gaddo, was engaged to restore it. Tafi, Gaddi, and Jacobus were
considered as a promising firm, and they undertook other large works
in mosaic. They commenced the apse at Pisa, which was finished
in 1321 by Vicini, Cimabue designing the colossal figure of Christ
which thus dominates the cathedral.

Vasari says that Andrea Tafi was considered "an excellent, nay,
a divine artist" in his specialty. Andrea, himself more modest,
visited Venice, and deigned to take instruction from Greek mosaic
workers, who were employed at St. Mark's. One of them, Apollonius,
became attached to Tafi, and this is how he came to accompany him
to Florence. The work on the Baptistery was done actually _in situ_,
every cube being set directly in the plaster. The work is still
extant, and the technical and constructive features are perfect,
since their restoration. It is amusing to read Vasari's patronizing
account of Tafi; from the late Renaissance point of view, the mosaic
worker seemed to be a barbarous Goth at best: "The good fortune
of Andrea was really great," says Vasari, "to be born in an age
which, doing all things in the rudest manner, could value so highly
the works of an artist who really merited so little, not to say

Gaddo Gaddi was a painstaking worker in mosaic, executing some
works on a small scale entirely in eggshells of varying tints. In
the Baroncelli chapel in Florence is a painting by Taddeo Gaddi,
in which occur the portraits of his father, Gaddo Gaddi, and Andrea

About this time the delightful mosaic at St. Clemente, in Rome,
was executed. With its central cross and graceful vine decorations,
it stands out unique among the groups of saints and seraphs, of
angels and hierarchies, of most of the Roman apsidal ornaments. The
mosaic in the basilica of St. John Lateran is by Jacopo Torriti.
In the design there are two inconspicuous figures, intentionally
smaller than the others, of two monks on their knees, working,
with measure and compass. These represent Jacopo Torriti and his
co-worker, Camerino. One of them is inscribed (translated) "Jacopo
Torriti, painter, did this work," and the other, "Brother Jacopo
Camerino, companion of the master worker, commends himself to the
blessed John." The tools and implements used by mosaic artists are
represented in the hands of these two monks. Torriti was apparently
a greater man in some respects than his contemporaries. He based his
art rather on Roman than Greek tradition, and his works exhibit
less Byzantine formality than many mosaics of the period. On
the apse of Sta. Maria Maggiore there appears a signature, "Jacopo
Torriti made this work in mosaic." Gaddo Gaddi also added a composition
below the vault, about 1308.

The well-known mosaic called the Navicella in the atrium of St.
Peter's, Rome, was originally made by Giotto. It has been much
restored and altered, but some of the original design undoubtedly
remains. Giotto went to Rome to undertake this work in 1298; but the
present mosaic is largely the restoration of Bernini, who can hardly
be considered as a sympathetic interpreter of the early Florentine
style. Vasari speaks of the Navicella as "a truly wonderful work,
and deservedly eulogized by all enlightened judges." He marvels
at the way in which Giotto has produced harmony and interchange of
light and shade so cleverly: "with mere pieces of glass" (Vasari
is so naïvely overwhelmed with ignorance when he comes to deal
with handicraft) especially on the large sail of the boat.

In Venice, the Mascoli chapel was ornamented by scenes from the
life of the Virgin, in 1430. The artist was Michele Zambono, who
designed and superintended the work himself. At Or San Michele in
Florence, the painter Peselli, or Guliano Arrigo, decorated the
tabernacle, in 1416. Among other artists who entered the field of
mosaic, were Baldovinetti and Domenico Ghirlandajo, the painter who
originated the motto: "The only painting for eternity is mosaic."

In the sixteenth century the art of mosaic ceased to
observe due limitations. The ideal was to reproduce exactly in
mosaic such pictures as were prepared by Titian, Pordenone, Raphael,
and other realistic painters. Georges Sand, in her charming novel,
"Les Maitres Mosaïstes," gives one the atmosphere of the workshops
in Venice in this later period. Tintoretto and Zuccato, the aged
painter, are discussing the durability of mosaic:--"Since it resists
so well," says Zuccato, "how comes it that the Seignory is repairing
all the domes of St. Mark's, which to-day are as bare as my skull?"
To which Tintoretto makes answer: "Because at the time when they
were decorated with mosaics, Greek artists were scarce in Venice.
They came from a distance, and remained but a short time: their
apprentices were hastily trained, and executed the works entrusted
to them without knowing their business, and without being able
to give them the necessary solidity. Now that this art has been
cultivated in Venice, century after century, we have become as
skilful as even the Greeks were." The two sons of Zuccato, who
are engaged in this work, confide to each other their trials and
difficulties in the undertaking: like artists of all ages, they
cannot easily convince their patrons that they comprehend their art
better than their employers! Francesco complains of the Procurator,
who is commissioned to examine the work: "He is not an artist.
He sees in mosaic only an application of particles more or less
brilliant. Perfection of tone, beauty of design, ingenuity of
composition, are nothing to him.... Did I not try in vain the
other day to make him understand that the old pieces of gilded
crystal used by our ancestors and a little tarnished by time,
were more favourable to colour than those manufactured to-day?"
"Indeed, you make a mistake, Messer Francesco," said he, "in
handing over to the Bianchini all the gold of modern manufacture.
The Commissioners have decided that the old will do mixed with
the new."... "But did I not in vain try to make him understand
that this brilliant gold would hurt the faces, and completely ruin
the effect of colour?"... The answer of the Procurator was, "The
Bianchini do not scruple to use it, and their mosaics please the
eye much better than yours," so his brother Valerio, laughing,
asks, "What need of worrying yourself after such a decision as
that? Suppress the shadows, cut a breadth of material from a great
plate of enamel and lay it over the breast of St. Nicaise, render
St. Cecilia's beautiful hair with a badly cut tile, a pretty lamb
for St. John the Baptist, and the Commission will double your salary
and the public clap its hands. Really, my brother, you who dream
of glory, I do not understand how you can pledge yourself to the
worship of art." "I dream of glory, it is true," replied Francesco,
"but of a glory that is lasting, not the vain popularity of a day.
I should like to leave an honoured name, if not an illustrious
one, and make those who examine the cupolas of St. Mark's five
hundred years hence say, 'This was the work of a conscientious
artist.'" A description follows of the scene of the mosaic workers
pursuing their calling. "Here was heard abusive language, there
the joyous song; further on, the jest; above, the hammer: below,
the trowel: now the dull and continuous thud of the tampon on the
mosaics, and anon the clear and crystal like clicking of the glassware
rolling from the baskets on to the pavement, in waves of rubies and
emeralds. Then the fearful grating of the scraper on the cornice,
and finally the sharp rasping cry of the saw in the marble, to say
nothing of the low masses said at the end of the chapel in spite
of the racket."


The Zuccati were very independent skilled workmen, as well as being
able to design their own subjects. They were, in the judgment of
Georges Sand, superior to another of the masters in charge of the
works, Bozza, who was less of a man, although an artist of some
merit. Later than these men, there were few mosaic workers of high
standing; in Florence the art degenerated into a mere decorative
inlay of semi-precious material, heraldic in feeling, costly and
decorative, but an entirely different art from that of the Greeks
and Romans. Lapis-lazuli with gold veinings, malachite, coral,
alabaster, and rare marbles superseded the smalts and gold of an
elder day.



One cannot enter a book shop or a library to-day without realizing
how many thousands of books are in constant circulation. There was
an age when books were laboriously but most beautifully written,
instead of being thus quickly manufactured by the aid of the
type-setting machine; the material on which the glossy text was
executed was vellum instead of the cheap paper of to-day, the
illustrations, instead of being easily reproduced by photographic
processes, were veritable miniature paintings, most decorative,
ablaze with colour and fine gold,--in these times it is easy to
forget that there was ever a period when the making of a single
book occupied years, and sometimes the life-time of one or two

In those days, when the transcription of books was one of the chief
occupations in religious houses, the recluse monk, in the quiet
of the scriptorium, was, in spite of his seclusion, and indeed,
by reason of it, the chief link between the world of letters and
the world of men.

The earliest known example of work by a European monk dates from
the year 517; but shortly after this there was a great increase
in book making, and monasteries were founded especially for the
purpose of perpetuating literature. The first establishment of
this sort was the monastery of Vivaria, in Southern Italy, founded
by Cassiodorus, a Greek who lived between the years 479 and 575,
and who had been the scribe (or "private secretary") of Theodoric
the Goth. About the same time, St. Columba in Ireland founded a
house with the intention of multiplying books, so that in the sixth
century, in both the extreme North and in the South, the religious
orders had commenced the great work of preserving for future ages
the literature of the past and of their own times.

Before examining the books themselves, it will be interesting to
observe the conditions under which the work was accomplished. Sometimes
the scriptorium was a large hall or studio, with various desks
about; sometimes the North walk of the cloister was divided into
little cells, called "carrels," in each of which was room for the
writer, his desk, and a little shelf for his inks and colours.
These carrels may be seen in unusual perfection in Gloucester. In
very cold weather a small brazier of charcoal was also introduced.

Cassiodorus writes thus of the privilege of being a copyist of
holy books. "He may fill his mind with the Scriptures while copying
the sayings of the Lord; with his fingers he gives life to men
and arms against the wiles of the Devil; as the antiquarius copies
the word of Christ, so many wounds does he inflict upon Satan. What
he writes in his cell will be carried far and wide over distant
provinces. Man multiplies the word of Heaven: if I may dare so to
speak, the three fingers of his right hand are made to represent
the utterances of the Holy Trinity. The fast travelling reed writes
down the holy words, thus avenging the malice of the wicked one,
who caused a reed to be used to smite the head of the Saviour."

When the scriptorium was consecrated, these words were used (and
they would be most fitting words to-day, in the consecration of
libraries or class rooms which are to be devoted to religious study):
"Vouchsafe, O, Lord, to bless this workroom of thy servants, that all
which they write therein may be comprehended by their intelligence,
and realized by their work." Scriptorium work was considered equal
to labour in the fields. In the Rule of St. Fereol, in the sixth
century, there is this clause: "He who doth not turn up the earth
with his plough, ought to write the parchment with his fingers."
The Capitulary of Charlemagne contains this phrase: "Do not permit
your scribes or pupils, either in reading or writing, to garble the
text; when you are preparing copies of the Gospels, the Psalter,
or the Missal, see that the work is confided to men of mature age,
who will write with due care." Some of the scribes were prolific
book transcribers. Jacob of Breslau, who died in 1480, copied so
many books that it is said that "six horses could with difficulty
bear the burden of them!"

The work of each scriptorium was devoted first to the completion
of the library of the individual monastery, and after that, to
other houses, or to such patrons as were rich enough to order books
to be transcribed for their own use. The library of a monastery
was as much a feature as the scriptorium. The monks were not like
the rising literary man, who, when asked if he had read "Pendennis"
replied, "No--I never read books--I write them." Every scribe was
also a reader. There was a regular system of lending books from
the central store. A librarian was in charge, and every monk was
supposed to have some book which he was engaged in reading "straight
through" as the Rule of St. Benedict enjoins, just as much as the one
which he was writing. As silence was obligatory in the scriptorium
and library, as well as in the cloisters, they were forced to apply
for the volumes which they desired by signs. For a general work,
the sign was to extend the hand and make a movement as if turning
over the leaves of a book. If a Missal was wanted, the sign of the
cross was added to the same form; for a Gospel, the sign of the
cross was made upon the forehead, while those who wished tracts to
read, should lay one hand on the mouth and the other on the stomach;
a Capitulary was indicated by the gesture of raising the clasped
hands to heaven, while a Psalter could be obtained by raising the
hands above the head in the form of a crown. As the good brothers
were not possessed of much religious charity, they indicated a
secular book by scratching their ears, as dogs are supposed to
do, to imply the suggestion that the infidel who wrote such a book
was no better than a dog!

This extract is made from a book in one of the early monastic libraries.
"Oh, Lord, send the blessing of thy Holy Spirit upon these books,
that, cleansing them from all earthly things, they may mercifully
enlighten our hearts, and give us true understanding, and grant
that by their teaching they may brightly preserve and make a full
abundance of good works according to Thy will." The books were
kept in cupboards, with doors; in the Customs of the Augustine
Priory of Barnwell, these directions are given: "The press in which
the books are kept ought to be lined with wood, that the damp of
the walls may not moisten or stain the books. The press should be
divided vertically as well as horizontally, by sundry partitions,
on which the books may be ranged so as to be separated from one
another, for fear they be packed so close as to injure one another,
or to delay those who want them."

We read of the "chained books" of the Middle Ages, and I think
there is a popular belief that this referred to the fact that the
Bible was kept in the priest's hands, and chained so that the people
should not be able to read it for themselves and become familiar
with every part of it. This, however, is a mistake. It was the
books in the libraries which were chained, so that dishonest people
should not make way with them! In one Chapter Library, there occurs
a denunciation of such thieves, and instructions how to fasten the
volumes. It reads as follows: "Since to the great reproach of the
Nation, and a greater one to our Holy Religion, the thievish
disposition of some who enter libraries to learn no good there,
hath made it necessary to secure the sacred volumes themselves
with chains (which are better deserved by those ill persons, who
have too much learning to be hanged, and too little to be honest),
care shall be taken that the chains should neither be too long nor
too clumsy, more than the use of them requires: and that the loops
whereby they are fastened to the books may be rivetted on such a
part of the cover, and so smoothly, as not to gall or graze the
books, while they are moved to or from their respective places.
And forasmuch as the more convenient way to place books in
libraries is to turn their backs out showing the title and other
decent ornaments in gilt work which ought not to be hidden, this
new method of fixing the chain to the back of the book is
recommended until one more suitable shall be contrived."

Numerous monasteries in England devoted much time to scriptorium
work. In Gloucester may still be seen the carrels of the scribes
in the cloister wall, and there was also much activity in the book
making art in Norwich, Glastonbury, and Winchester, and in other
cities. The two monasteries of St. Peter and St. Swithin in Winchester
were, the chronicler says, "so close packed together,... that between
the foundation of their respective buildings there was barely room
for a man to pass along. The choral service of one monastery
conflicted with that of the other, so that both were spoiled, and
the ringing of their bells together produced a horrid effect."

One of the most important monasteries of early times, on the Continent,
was that conducted by Alcuin, under the protection of Charlemagne.
When the appointed time for writing came round, the monks filed
into the scriptorium, taking their places at their desks. One of
their number then stood in the midst, and read aloud, slowly, for
dictation, the work upon which they were engaged as copyists; in
this way, a score of copies could be made at one time. Alcuin himself
would pass about among them, making suggestions and correcting
errors, a beautiful example of true consecration, the great scholar
spending his time thus in supervising the transcription of the
Word of God, from a desire to have it spread far and wide. Alcuin
sent a letter to Charlemagne, accompanying a present of a copy
of the Bible, at the time of the emperor's coronation, and from
this letter, which is still preserved, it may be seen how reverent
a spirit his was, and how he esteemed the things of the spiritual
life as greater than the riches of the world. "After deliberating
a long while," he writes, "what the devotion of my mind might find
worthy of a present equal to the splendour of your Imperial dignity,
and the increase of your wealth,--at length by the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit, I found what it would be competent for me to
offer, and fitting for your prudence to accept. For to me inquiring
and considering, nothing appeared more worthy of your peaceful
honour than the gifts of the Sacred Scriptures... which, knit
together in the sanctity of one glorious body, and diligently
amended, I have sent to your royal authority, by this your faithful
son and servant, so that with full hands we may assist at the
delightful service of your dignity." One of Alcuin's mottoes was:
"Writing books is better than planting vines: for he who plants a
vine serves his belly, while he who writes books serves his soul."

Many different arts were represented in the making of a mediæval
book. Of those employed, first came the scribe, whose duty it was
to form the black even glossy letters with his pen; then came the
painter, who must not only be a correct draughtsman, and an adept
with pencil and brush, but must also understand how to prepare
mordaunts and to lay the gold leaf, and to burnish it afterwards
with an agate, or, as an old writer directs, "a dogge's tooth set
in a stick." After him, the binder gathered the lustrous pages and
put them together under silver mounted covers, with heavy clasps.
At first, the illuminations were confined only to the capital letters,
and red was the selected colour to give this additional life to the
evenly written page. The red pigment was known as "minium." The
artist who applied this was called a "miniator," and from this,
was derived the term "miniature," which later referred to the
pictures executed in the developed stages of the art. The use of
the word "miniature," as applied to paintings on a small scale,
was evolved from this expression.


The difficulties were numerous. First, there was climate and temperature
to consider. It was necessary to be very careful about the temperature
to which gold leaf was exposed, and in order to dry the sizing
properly, it was important that the weather should not be too damp
nor too warm. Peter de St. Audemar, writing in the late thirteenth
century, says: "Take notice that you ought not to work with gold
or colours in a damp place, on account of the hot weather, which,
as it is often injurious in burnishing gold, both to the colours
on which the gold is laid and also to the gilding, if the work
is done on parchment, so also it is injurious when the weather
is too dry and arid." John Acherius, in 1399, observes, too, that
"care must be taken as regards the situation, because windy weather
is a hindrance, unless the gilder is in an enclosed place, and
if the air is too dry, the colour cannot hold the gold under the
burnisher." Illumination is an art which has always been difficult;
we who attempt it to-day are not simply facing a lost art which
has become impossible because of the changed conditions; even when
followed along the best line in the best way the same trials were

Early treatises vary regarding the best medium for laying leaf on
parchment. There are very few vehicles which will form a connecting
and permanent link between these two substances. There is a general
impression that white of egg was used to hold the gold: but any
one who has experimented knows that it is impossible to fasten
metal to vellum by white of egg alone. Both oil and wax were often
employed, and in nearly all recipes the use of glue made of
boiled-down vellum is enjoined. In some of the monasteries there
are records that the scribes had the use of the kitchen for drying
parchment and melting wax.

The introductions to the early treatises show the spirit in which
the work was undertaken. Peter de St. Audemar commences: "By the
assistance of God, of whom are all things that are good, I will
explain to you how to make colours for painters and illuminators
of books, and the vehicles for them, and other things appertaining
thereto, as faithfully as I can in the following chapters." Peter
was a North Frenchman of the thirteenth century.

Of the recipes given by the early treatises, I will quote a few,
for in reality they are all the literature we have upon the subject.
Eraclius, who wrote in the twelfth century, gives accurate directions:
"Take ochre and distemper it with water, and let it dry. In the
meanwhile make glue with vellum, and whip some white of egg. Then
mix the glue and the white of egg, and grind the ochre, which by
this time is well dried, upon a marble slab; and lay it on the
parchment with a paint brush;... then apply the gold, and let it
remain so, without pressing it with the stone. When it is dry,
burnish it well with a tooth. This," continues Eraclius naïvely,
"is what I have learned by experiment, and have frequently proved,
and you may safely believe me that I shall have told you the truth."
This assurance of good faith suggests that possibly it was a habit
of illuminators to be chary of information, guarding their own
discoveries carefully, and only giving out partial directions to
others of their craft.

In the Bolognese Manuscript, one is directed to make a simple size
from incense, white gum, and sugar candy, distempering it with
wine; and in another place, to use the white of egg, whipped with
the milk of the fig tree and powdered gum Arabic. Armenian Bole is
a favourite ingredient. Gum and rose water are also prescribed,
and again, gesso, white of egg, and honey. All of these recipes
sound convincing, but if one tries them to-day, one has the doubtful
pleasure of seeing the carefully laid gold leaf slide off as soon
as the whole mixture is quite dry. Especially improbable is the
recipe given in the Brussels Manuscript: "You lay on gold with well
gummed water alone, and this is very good for gilding on parchment.
You may also use fresh white of egg or fig juice alone in the same

Theophilus does not devote much time or space to the art of
illuminating, for, as he is a builder of everything from church
organs to chalices, glass windows, and even to frescoed walls, we
must not expect too much information on minor details. He does not
seem to direct the use of gold leaf at all, but of finely ground
gold, which shall be applied with its size in the form of a paste,
to be burnished later. He says (after directing that the gold dust
shall be placed in a shell): "Take pure minium and add to it a
third part of cinnibar, grinding it upon a stone with water. Which,
being carefully ground, beat up the clear white of an egg, in
summer with water, in winter without water," and this is to be
used as a slightly raised bed for the gold. "Then," he continues,
"place a little pot of glue on the fire, and when it is liquefied,
pour it into the shell of gold and wash it with it." This is to be
painted on to the gesso ground just mentioned, and when quite dry,
burnished with an agate. This recipe is more like the modern
Florentine method of gilding in illumination.

Concerning the gold itself, there seem to have been various means
employed for manufacturing substitutes for the genuine article.
A curious recipe is given in the manuscript of Jehan de Begue,
"Take bulls' brains, put them in a marble vase, and leave them for
three weeks, when you will find gold making worms. Preserve them
carefully." More quaint and superstitious is Theophilus' recipe
for making Spanish Gold; but, as this is not quotable in polite
pages, the reader must refer to the original treatise if he cares
to trace its manufacture.

Brushes made of hair are recommended by the Brussels manuscript,
with a plea for "pencils of fishes' hairs for softening." If this
does not refer to _sealskin_, it is food for conjecture!

And for the binding of these beautiful volumes, how was the leather
obtained? This is one way in which business and sport could be combined
in the monastery, Warton says, "About the year 790, Charlemagne
granted an unlimited right of hunting to the Abbot and monks of
Sithiu, for making... of the skins of the deer they killed...
covers for their books." There is no doubt that it had occurred
to artists to experiment upon human skin, and perhaps the fact
that this was an unsatisfactory texture is the chief reason why
no books were made of it. A French commentator observes: "The
skin of a man is nothing compared with the skin of a sheep....
Sheep is good for writing on both sides, but the skin of a dead
man is just about as profitable as his bones,--better bury him,
skin and bones together."

There was some difficulty in obtaining manuscripts to copy. The
Breviary was usually enclosed in a cage; rich parishioners were bribed
by many masses and prayers, to bequeath manuscripts to churches. In
old Paris, the Parchment Makers were a guild of much importance.
Often they combined their trade with tavern keeping, in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries. The Rector of the University was glad
when this occurred, for the inn keeper and parchment maker was
under his control, both being obliged to reside in the Pays Latin.
Bishops were known to exhort the parchment makers, from the pulpit,
to be honest and conscientious in preparing skins. A bookseller,
too, was solemnly made to swear "faithfully to receive, take care
of, and expose for sale the works which should be entrusted to
him." He might not buy them for himself until they had been for
sale a full month "at the disposition of the Masters and Scholars."
But in return for these restrictions, the bookseller was admitted
to the rights and privileges of the University. As clients of the
University, these trades, which were associated with book making,
joined in the "solemn processions" of those times; booksellers,
binders, parchment makers, and illuminators, all marched together
on these occasions. They were obliged to pay toll to the Rector
for these privileges; the recipe for ink was a carefully guarded

It now becomes our part to study the books themselves, and see
what results were obtained by applying all the arts involved in
their making.

The transition from the Roman illuminations to the Byzantine may
be traced to the time when Constantine moved his seat of government
from Rome to Constantinople. Constantinople then became the centre
of learning, and books were written there in great numbers. For
some centuries Constantinople was the chief city in the art of
illuminating. The style that here grew up exhibited the same features
that characterized Byzantine art in mosaic and decoration. The
Oriental influence displayed itself in a lavish use of gold and
colour; the remnant of Classical art was slight, but may sometimes
be detected in the subjects chosen, and the ideas embodied. The
Greek influence was the strongest. But the Greek art of the seventh
and eighth centuries was not at all like the Classic art of earlier
Greece; a conventional type had entered with Christianity, and is
chiefly recognized by a stubborn conformity to precedent. It
is difficult to date a Byzantine picture or manuscript, for the
same severe hard form that prevailed in the days of Constantine
is carried on to-day by the monks of Mt. Athos, and a Byzantine
work of the ninth century is not easily distinguished from one of
the fifteenth. In manuscripts, the caligraphy is often the only
feature by which the work can be dated.

In the earlier Byzantine manuscripts there is a larger proportion
of Classical influence than in later ones, when the art had taken
on its inflexible uniformity of design. One of the most interesting
books in which this classical influence may be seen is in the Imperial
Library at Vienna, being a work on Botany, by Dioscorides, written
about 400 A. D. The miniatures in this manuscript have many of
the characteristics of Roman work.

The pigments used in Byzantine manuscripts are glossy, a great deal
of ultramarine being used. The high lights are usually of gold,
applied in sharp glittering lines, and lighting up the picture with
very decorative effect. In large wall mosaics the same characteristics
may be noted, and it is often suggested that these gold lines may
have originated in an attempt to imitate cloisonné enamel, in which
the fine gold line separates the different coloured spaces one from
another. This theory is quite plausible, as cloisonné was made by
the Byzantine goldsmiths.

M. Lecoy de la Marche tells us that the first recorded name of an
illuminator is that of a woman--Lala de Cizique, a Greek, who
painted on ivory and on parchment in Rome during the first Christian
century. But such a long period elapses between her time and that
which we are about to study, that she can here occupy only the
position of being referred to as an interesting isolated case.

The Byzantine is a very easy style to recognize, because of the
inflexible stiffness of the figures, depending for any beauty largely
upon the use of burnished gold, and the symmetrical folds of the
draperies, which often show a sort of archaic grace. Byzantine
art is not so much representation as suggestion and symbolism.
There is a book which may still be consulted, called "A Byzantine
Guide to Painting," which contains accurate recipes to be followed
in painting pictures of each saint, the colours prescribed for the
dress of the Virgin, and the grouping to be adopted in representing
each of the standard Scriptural scenes; and it has hardly from
the first occurred to any Byzantine artist to depart from these
regulations. The heads and faces lack individuality, and are outlined
and emphasized with hard, unsympathetic black lines; the colouring
is sallow and the expression stolid. Any attempt at delineating
emotion is grotesque, and grimacing. The beauty, for in spite of
all these drawbacks there is great beauty, in Byzantine manuscripts,
is, as has been indicated, a charm of colour and gleaming gold
rather than of design. In the Boston Art Museum there is a fine
example of a large single miniature of a Byzantine "Flight into
Egypt," in which the gold background is of the highest perfection
of surface, and is raised so as to appear like a plate of beaten

There is no attempt to portray a scene as it might have occurred;
the rule given in the Manual is followed, and the result is generally
about the same. The background is usually either gold or blue, with
very little effort at landscape. Trees are represented in flat
values of green with little white ruffled edges and articulations.
The sea is figured by a blue surface with a symmetrical white pattern
of a wavy nature. A building is usually introduced about half as
large as the people surrounding it. There is no attempt, either,
at perspective.

The anatomy of the human form was not understood at all. Nearly
all the figures in the art of this period are draped. Wherever
it is necessary to represent the nude, a lank, disproportioned
person with an indefinite number of ribs is the result, proving
that the monastic art school did not include a life class.

Most of the best Byzantine examples date from the fifth to the
seventh centuries. After that a decadence set in, and by the eleventh
century the art had deteriorated to a mere mechanical process.

The Irish and Anglo-Saxon work are chiefly characterized in their
early stages by the use of interlaced bands as a decorative motive.
The Celtic goldsmiths were famous for their delicate work in filigree,
made of threads of gold used in connection with enamelled grounds.
In decorating their manuscripts, the artists were perhaps
unconsciously influenced by this, and the result is a marvellous
use of conventional form and vivid colours, while the human figure
is hardly attempted at all, or, when introduced, is so conventionally
treated, as to be only a sign instead of a representation.

Probably the earliest representation of a pen in the holder, although
of a very primitive pattern, occurs in a miniature in the Gospels
of Mac Durnam, where St. John is seen writing with a pen in one
hand and a knife, for sharpening it, in the other. This picture
is two centuries earlier than any other known representation of
the use of the pen, the volume having been executed in the early
part of the eighth century.

Two of the most famous Irish books are the Book of Kells, and the
Durham Book. The Book of Kells is now in Trinity College, Dublin.
It is also known as the Gospel of St. Columba. St. Columba came,
as the Chronicle of Ethelwerd states, in the year 565: "five years
afterwards Christ's servant Columba came from Scotia (Ireland)
to Britain, to preach the word of God to the Picts."


The intricacy of the interlacing decoration is so minute that it
is impossible to describe it. Each line may be followed to its
conclusion, with the aid of a strong magnifying glass, but cannot
be clearly traced with the naked eye. Westwood reports that, with a
microscope, he counted in one square inch of the page, one hundred
and fifty-eight interlacements of bands, each being of white, bordered
on either side with a black line. In this book there is no use of
gold, and the treatment of the human form is most inadequate.
There is no idea of drawing except for decorative purposes; it
is an art of the pen rather than of the brush--it hardly comes
into the same category as most of the books designated as
illuminated manuscripts. The so-called Durham Book, or the Gospels
of St. Cuthbert, was executed at the Abbey of Lindisfarne, in 688,
and is now in the British Museum. There is a legend that in the
ninth century pirates plundered the Abbey, and the few monks who
survived decided to seek a situation less unsafe than that on the
coast, so they gathered up their treasures, the body of the saint,
their patron, Cuthbert, and the book, which had been buried with
him, and set out for new lands. They set sail for Ireland, but a
storm arose, and their boat was swamped. The body and the book
were lost. After reaching land, however, the fugitives discovered
the box containing the book, lying high and dry upon the shore,
having been cast up by the waves in a truly wonderful state of
preservation. Any one who knows the effect of dampness upon parchment,
and how it cockles the material even on a damp day, will the more
fully appreciate this miracle.

Giraldus Cambriensis went to Ireland as secretary to Prince John,
in 1185, and thus describes the Gospels of Kildare, a book which
was similar to the Book of Kells, and his description may apply
equally to either volume. "Of all the wonders of Kildare I have
found nothing more wonderful than this marvellous book, written
in the time of the Virgin St. Bridget, and, as they say, at the
dictation of an angel. Here you behold the magic face divinely
drawn, and there the mystical forms of the Evangelists, there an
eagle, here a calf, so closely wrought together, that if you look
carelessly at them, they would seem rather like a uniform blot
than like an exquisite interweavement of figures; exhibiting no
perfection of skill or art, where all is really skill and perfection
of art. But if you look closely at them with all the acuteness of
sight that you can command, and examine the inmost secrets of this
wondrous art, you will discover such delicate, such wonderful and
finely wrought lines, twisted and interwoven with such intricate
knots and adorned with such fresh and brilliant colours, that you
will readily acknowledge the whole to have been the work of angelic
rather than human skill."

At first gold was not used at all in Irish work, but the manuscripts
of a slightly later date, and especially of the Anglo-Saxon school,
show a superbly decorative use both of gold and silver. The "Coronation
Oath Book of the Anglo-Saxon Kings" is especially rich in this
exquisite metallic harmony. By degrees, also, the Anglo-Saxons
became more perfected in the portrayal of the human figure, so
that by the twelfth century the work of the Southern schools and
those of England were more alike than at any previous time.


In the Northern manuscripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries
it is amusing to note that the bad characters are always represented
as having large hooked noses, which fact testifies to the dislike
of the Northern races for the Italians and Southern peoples.

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries may be considered to stand
for the "Golden Age" of miniature art in all the countries of Europe.
In England and France especially the illuminated books of the thirteenth
century were marvels of delicate work, among which the Tenison
Psalter and the Psalter of Queen Mary, both in the British Museum,
are excellent examples. Queen Mary's Psalter was not really painted
for Queen Mary; it was executed two centuries earlier. But it was
being sent abroad in 1553, and was seized by the Customs. They
refused to allow it to pass. Afterwards it was presented to Queen

At this time grew up a most beautiful and decorative style, known
as "ivy pattern," consisting of little graceful flowering sprays,
with tiny ivy leaves in gold and colours. The Gothic feeling prevails
in this motive, and the foliate forms are full of spined cusps.
The effect of a book decorated in the ivy pattern, is radiant and
jewelled as the pages turn, and the burnishing of the gold was
brought to its full perfection at this time. The value of the creamy
surface of the vellum was recognized as part of the colour scheme.
With the high polish of the gold it was necessary to use always
the strong crude colours, as the duller tints would appear faded
by contrast. In the later stages of the art, when a greater realism
was attempted, and better drawing had made it necessary to use
quieter tones, gold paint was generally adopted instead of leaf, as
being less conspicuous and more in harmony with the general scheme;
and one of the chief glories of book decoration died in this change.


The divergences of style in the work of various countries are well
indicated by Walter de Gray Birch, who says: "The English are famous
for clearness and breadth; the French for delicate fineness and
harmoniously assorted colours, the Flemish for minutely stippled
details, and the Italian for the gorgeous yet calm dignity apparent
in their best manuscripts." Individuality of facial expression,
although these faces are generally ugly, is a characteristic of
Flemish work, while the faces in French miniatures are uniform
and pretty.

One marked feature in the English thirteenth and fourteenth century
books, is the introduction of many small grotesques in the borders,
and these little creatures, partly animal and partly human, show
a keen sense of humour, which had to display itself, even though
inappropriately, but always with a true spirit of wit. One might
suppose on first looking at these grotesques, that the droll expression
is unintentional: that the monks could draw no better, and that
their sketches are funny only because of their inability to portray
more exactly the thing represented. But a closer examination will
convince one that the wit was deliberate, and that the very subtlety
and reserve of their expression of humour is an indication of its
depth. To-day an artist with the sense of caricature expresses
himself in the illustrated papers and other public channels provided
for the overflow of high spirits; but the cloistered author of the
Middle Ages had only the sculptured details and the books belonging
to the church as vehicles for his satire. The carvings on the
miserere seats in choirs of many cathedrals were executed by the
monks, and abound in witty representations of such subjects as
Reynard the Fox, cats catching rats, etc.; inspired generally by
the knowledge of some of the inconsistencies in the lives of
ecclesiastical personages. The quiet monks often became cynical.

The spirit of the times determines the standard of wit. At various
periods in the world's history, men have been amused by strange and
differing forms of drollery; what seemed excruciatingly funny to
our grandparents does not strike us as being at all entertaining.
Each generation has its own idea of humour, and its own fun-makers,
varying as much as fashion in dress.

In mediæval times, the sense of humour in art was more developed
than at any period except our own day. Even-while the monk was
consecrating his time to the work of beautifying the sanctuary,
his sense of humour was with him, and must crop out. The grotesque
has always played an important part in art; in the subterranean
Roman vaults of the early centuries, one form of this spirit is
exhibited. But the element of wit is almost absent; it is displayed
in oppressively obvious forms, so that it loses its subtlety: it
represents women terminating in floral scrolls, or sea-horses with
leaves growing instead of fins. The same spirit is seen in the
grotesques of the Renaissance, where the sense of humour is not
emphasized, the ideal in this class of decoration being simply to
fill the space acceptably, with voluptuous graceful lines,
mythological monstrosities, the inexpressive mingling of human and
vegetable characteristics, grinning dragons, supposed to inspire
horror, and such conceits, while the attempt to amuse the spectator
is usually absent.

In mediæval art, however, the beauty of line, the sense of horror,
and the voluptuous spirit, are all more or less subservient to
the light-hearted buoyancy of a keen sense of fun. To illustrate
this point, I wish to call the attention of the reader to the wit
of the monastic scribes during the Gothic period. Who could look at
the little animals which are found tucked away almost out of sight
in the flowery margins of many illuminated manuscripts, without seeing
that the artist himself must have been amused at their pranks, and
intended others to be so? One can picture a gray-hooded brother,
chuckling alone at his own wit, carefully tracing a jolly little
grotesque, and then stealing softly to the alcove of some congenial
spirit, and in a whisper inviting his friend to come and see the
satire which he has carefully introduced: "A perfect portrait of
the Bishop, only with claws instead of legs! So very droll! And
dear brother, while you are here, just look at the expression of
this little rabbit's ears, while he listens to the bombastic utterance
of this monkey who wears a stole!"


Such a fund of playful humour is seldom found in a single book as
that embodied in the Tenison Psalter, of which only a few pages
remain of the work of the original artist. The book was once the
property of Archbishop Tenison. These few pages show to the world the
most perfect example of the delicacy and skill of the miniaturist.
On one page, a little archer, after having pulled his bow-string,
stands at the foot of the border, gazing upwards after the arrow,
which has been caught in the bill of a stork at the top of the
page. The attitude of a little fiddler who is exhibiting his trick
monkeys can hardly be surpassed by caricaturists of any time. A
quaint bit of cloister scandal is indicated in an initial from
the Harleian Manuscript, in which a monk who has been entrusted
with the cellar keys is seen availing himself of the situation,
eagerly quaffing a cup of wine while he stoops before a large cask.
In a German manuscript I have seen, cuddled away among the foliage,
in the margin, a couple of little monkeys, feeding a baby of their
own species with pap from a spoon. The baby monkey is closely wrapped
in the swathing bands with which one is familiar as the early
trussing of European children. Satire and wrath are curiously blended
in a German manuscript of the twelfth century, in which the scribe
introduces a portrait of himself hurling a missile at a venturesome
mouse who is eating the monk's cheese--a fine Camembert!--under his
very nose. In the book which he is represented as transcribing, the
artist has traced the words--"Pessime mus, sepius me provocas ad
iram, ut te Deus perdat." ("Wicked mouse, too often you provoke me
to anger--may God destroy thee!")

In their illustrations the scribes often showed how literal was
their interpretation of Scriptural text. For instance, in a passage
in the book known as the Utrecht Psalter, there is an illustration
of the verse, "The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver
tried in the furnace, purified seven times." A glowing forge is
seen, and two craftsmen are working with bellows, pincers, and
hammer, to prove the temper of some metal, which is so molten that
a stream of it is pouring out of the furnace. Another example of
this literal interpretation, is in the Psalter of Edwin, where
two men are engaged in sharpening a sword upon a grindstone, in
illustration of the text about the wicked, "who whet their tongue
like a sword."

There is evidence of great religious zeal in the exhortations of
the leaders to those who worked under them. Abbot John of Trittenham
thus admonished the workers in the Scriptorium in 1486: "I have
diminished your labours out of the monastery lest by working badly
you should only add to your sins, and have enjoined on you the
manual labour of writing and binding books. There is in my opinion
no labour more becoming a monk than the writing of ecclesiastical
books.... You will recall that the library of this monastery...
had been dissipated, sold, or made way with by disorderly monks
before us, so that when I came here I found but fourteen volumes."

It was often with a sense of relief that a monk finished his work
upon a volume, as the final word, written by the scribe himself,
and known as the Explicit, frequently shows. In an old manuscript
in the Monastery of St. Aignan the writer has thus expressed his
emotions: "Look out for your fingers! Do not put them on my writing!
You do not know what it is to write! It cramps your back, it obscures
your eyes, it breaks your sides and stomach!" It is interesting
to note the various forms which these final words of the scribes
took; sometimes the Explicit is a pathetic appeal for remembrance
in the prayers of the reader, and sometimes it contains a note of
warning. In a manuscript of St. Augustine now at Oxford, there
is written: "This book belongs to St. Mary's of Robert's Bridge;
whoever shall steal it or in any way alienate it from this house,
or mutilate it, let him be Anathema Marantha!" A later owner,
evidently to justify himself, has added, "I, John, Bishop of Exeter,
know not where this aforesaid house is, nor did I steal this book,
but acquired it in a lawful way!"

The Explicit in the Benedictional of Ethelwold is touching: the
writer asks "all who gaze on this book to ever pray that after the
end of the flesh I may inherit health in heaven; this is the prayer
of the scribe, the humble Godemann." A mysterious Explicit occurs
at the end of an Irish manuscript of 1138, "Pray for Moelbrighte
who wrote this book. Great was the crime when Cormac Mac Carthy
was slain by Tardelvach O'Brian." Who shall say what revelation
may have been embodied in these words? Was it in the nature of a
confession or an accusation of some hitherto unknown occurrence?
Coming as it does at the close of a sacred book, it was doubtless
written for some important reason.

Among curious examples of the Explicit may be quoted the following:
"It is finished. Let it be finished, and let the writer go out for
a drink." A French monk adds: "Let a pretty girl be given to the
writer for his pains." Ludovico di Cherio, a famous illuminator
of the fifteenth century, has this note at the end of a book upon
which he had long been engaged: "Completed on the vigil of the
nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on an empty stomach." (Whether
this refers to an imposed penance or fast, or whether Ludovico
considered that the offering of a meek and empty stomach would be
especially acceptable, the reader may determine.)

There is an amusing rhymed Explicit in an early fifteenth century
copy of Froissart:

  "I, Raoul Tanquy, who never was drunk
   (Or hardly more than judge or monk,)
   On fourth of July finished this book,
   Then to drink at the Tabouret myself took,
   With Pylon and boon companions more
   Who tripe with onions and garlic adore."

But if some of the monks complained or made sport of their work,
there were others to whom it was a divine inspiration, and whose
affection for their craft was almost fanatic, an anecdote being
related of one of them, who, when about to die, refused to be parted
from the book upon which he had bestowed much of his life's energy,
and who clutched it in his last agony so that even death should
not take it from him. The good Othlonus of Ratisbon congratulates
himself upon his own ability in a spirit of humility even while
he rejoices in his great skill; he says: "I think proper to add
an account of the great knowledge and capacity for writing which
was given me by the Lord in my childhood. When as yet a little
child, I was sent to school and quickly learned my letters, and
I began long before the time of learning, and without any order
from my master, to learn the art of writing. Undertaking this in a
furtive and unusual manner, and without any teacher, I got a habit
of holding my pen wrongly, nor were any of my teachers afterwards
able to correct me on that point." This very human touch comes down
to us through the ages to prove the continuity of educational
experience! The accounts of his monastic labours put us to the blush
when we think of such activity. "While in the monastery of Tegernsee
in Bavaria I wrote many books.... Being sent to Franconia while I
was yet a boy, I worked so hard writing that before I had returned
I had nearly lost my eyesight. After I became a monk at St. Emmerem,
I was appointed the school-master. The duties of the office so fully
occupied my time that I was able to do the transcribing I was
interested in only by nights and in holidays.... I was, however,
able, in addition to writing the books that I had myself composed,
and the copies which I gave away for the edification of those who
asked for them, to prepare nineteen missals, three books of the
Gospels and Epistles, besides which I wrote four service books for
Matins. I wrote in addition several other books for the brethren
at Fulda, for the monks at Hirschfeld, and at Amerbach, for the
Abbot of Lorsch, for certain friends at Passau, and for other
friends in Bohemia, for the monastery at Tegernsee, for the
monastery at Preyal, for that at Obermunster, and for my sister's
son. Moreover, I sent and gave at different times sermons, proverbs,
and edifying writings. Afterward old age's infirmities of various
kinds hindered me." Surely Othlonus was justified in retiring when
his time came, and enjoying some respite from his labours!

Religious feeling in works of art is an almost indefinable thing,
but one which is felt in all true emanations of the conscientious
spirit of devotion. Fra Angelico had a special gift for expressing
in his artistic creations is own spiritual life; the very qualities
for which he stood, his virtues and his errors,--purity,
unquestioning faith in the miraculous, narrowness of creed, and
gentle and adoring humility,--all these elements are seen to
completeness in his decorative pictures. Perhaps this is because
he really lived up to his principles. One of his favourite sayings
was "He who occupies himself with the things of Christ, must ever
dwell with Christ."

It is related that, in the Monastery of Maes Eyck, while the
illuminators were at work in the evening, copying Holy Writ, the
devil, in a fit of rage, extinguished their candles; they, however,
were promptly lighted again by a Breath of the Holy Spirit, and
the good work went on! Salvation was supposed to be gained through
conscientious writing. A story is told of a worldly and frivolous
brother, who was guilty of many sins and follies, but who, nevertheless,
was an industrious scribe. When he came to die, the devil claimed
his soul. The angels, however, brought before the Throne a great
book of religious Instructions which he had illuminated, and for
every letter therein, he received pardon for one sin. Behold! When
the account was completed, there proved to be one letter over!
the narrator adds naïvely, "And it was a very big book."


Perhaps more than any books executed in the better period, after
the decline had begun, were the Books of Hours, containing the
numerous daily devotions which form part of the ritual of the Roman
Church. Every well appointed lady was supposed to own a copy, and
there is a little verse by Eustache Deschamps, a poet of the time
of Charles V., in which a woman is supposed to be romancing about
the various treasures she would like to possess. She says:

  "Hours of Our Lady should be mine,
     Fitting for a noble dame,
     Of lofty lineage and name;
   Wrought most cunningly and quaint,
   In gold and richest azure paint.
     Rare covering of cloth of gold
     Full daintily it shall enfold,
   Or, open to the view exposed,
   Two golden clasps to keep it closed."

John Skelton the poet did honour to the illuminated tomes of his
day, in spite of the fact that the æesthetic deterioration had

  "With that of the boke lozende were the clasps
   The margin was illumined all with golden railes,
   And bice empictured, with grasshoppers and waspes
   With butterflies and fresh peacock's tailes:
   Englosed with... pictures well touched and quickly,
   It wold have made a man hole that had be right sickly!"

But here we have an indication of that realism which rung the death
knell of the art. The grasshoppers on a golden ground, and the
introduction of carefully painted insect and floral life, led to
all sorts of extravagances of taste.

But before this decadence, there was a very interesting period of
transition, which may be studied to special advantage in Italy,
and is seen chiefly in the illuminations of the great choral books
which were used in the choirs of churches. One book served for
all the singers in those days, and it was placed upon an open
lectern in the middle of the choir, so that all the singers could
see it: it will be readily understood that the lettering had to
be generous, and the page very large for this purpose. The
decoration of these books took on the characteristics of breadth
in keeping with their dimensions, and of large masses of ornament
rather than delicate meander. The style of the Italian choral books
is an art in itself.

The Books of Hours and Missals developed during the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries into positive art galleries, whole pages being
occupied by paintings, the vellum being entirely hidden by the
decoration. The art of illumination declined as the art of miniature
painting progressed. The fact that the artist was decorating a page
in a book was lost sight of in his ambition to paint a series of
small pictures. The glint of burnished gold on the soft surface
of the vellum was no longer considered elegant, and these more
elaborate pictures often left not even a margin, so that the pictures
might as well have been executed on paper and canvas and framed
separately, for they do not suggest ornaments in a book after this
change had taken place. Lettering is hardly introduced at all on
the same page with the illustration, or, when it is, is placed
in a little tablet which is simply part of the general scheme.

[Illustration: CHORAL BOOK, SIENA]

Among the books in this later period I will refer specifically to
two only, the Hours of Ann of Brittany, and the Grimani Breviary.
The Hours of Ann of Brittany, illuminated by a famous French artist
of the time of Louis XII., is reproduced in facsimile by Curmer, and
is therefore available for consultation in most large libraries.
It will repay any one who is interested in miniature art to examine
this book, for the work is so excellent that it is almost like
turning the leaves of the original. The Grimani Breviary, which
was illuminated by Flemish artists of renown, was the property of
Cardinal Grimani, and is now one of the treasures of the Library
of St. Marc in Venice. It is impossible in a short space to comment
to any adequate extent upon the work of such eminent artists as
Jean Foucquet, Don Giulio Clovio, Sano di Pietro, and Liberale da
Verona; they were technically at the head of their art, and yet,
so far as taste in book decoration is to be considered, their work
would be more satisfactory as framed miniatures than as marginal
or paginal ornament.

Stippling was brought to its ultimate perfection by Don Giulio
Clovio, but it is supposed to have been first practised by Antonio
de Holanda.

One of Jehan Foucquet's assistants was Jehan Bourdichon. There is
an interesting memorandum extant, relating to a piece of illumination
which Bourdichon had accomplished. "To the said B. for having had
written a book in parchment named the Papalist, the same illuminated
in gold and azure and made in the same nine rich Histories, and for
getting it bound and covered, thirty crowns in gold."

At the time of the Renaissance there was a rage for "tiny books,"
miniature copies of famous works. M. Würtz possessed a copy of the
Sonnets of Petrarch, written in italics, in brown ink, of which
the length was one inch, and the breadth five-eighths of an inch,
showing fifty lines on a page. The text is only visible through
a glass. It is in Italian taste, with several miniatures, and is
bound in gold filigree.

The value of illuminated books is enormous. An Elector of Bavaria
once offered a town for a single book; but the monks had sufficient
worldly wisdom to know that he could easily take the town again,
and so declined the exchange!

With the introduction of printing, the art of illumination was
doomed. The personal message from the scribe to the reader was
merged in the more comprehensive message of the press to the public.
It was no longer necessary to spend a year on a work that could be
accomplished in a day; so the artists found themselves reduced to
painting initial letters in printed books, sometimes on vellum, but
more often on paper. This art still flourishes in many localities;
but it is no more illumination, though it is often so designated,
than photography is portrait painting. Both are useful in their
departments and for their several purposes, but it is incorrect
to confound them.


Once, while examining an old choral book, I was particularly
struck with the matchless personal element which exists in a book
which is made, as this was, by the hand, from the first stroke to
the last. The first page showed a bold lettering, the sweep of the
pen being firm and free. Animal vigour was demonstrated in the steady
hand and the clear eye. The illuminations were daintily painted,
and the sure touch of the little white line used to accentuate the
colours, was noticeable. After several pages, the letters became
less true and firm. The lines had a tendency to slant to the right;
a weakness could be detected in the formerly strong man. Finally
the writing grew positively shaky. The skill was lost.

Suddenly, on another page, came a change. A new hand had taken up
the work--that of a novice. He had not the skill of the previous
worker in his best days, but the indecision of his lines was that
of inexperience, not of failing ability. Gradually he improved.
His colours were clearer and ground more smoothly; his gold showed
a more glassy surface. The book ended as it had begun, a virile
work of art; but in the course of its making, one man had grown
old, lost his skill, and died, and another had started in his
immaturity, gained his education, and devoted his best years to
this book.

The printing press stands for all that is progressive and desirable;
modern life and thought hang upon this discovery. But in this glorious
new birth there was sacrificed a certain indescribable charm which
can never be felt now except by a book lover as he turns the leaves
of an ancient illuminated book. To him it is given to understand that
pathetic appeal across the centuries.



Arts and Crafts Movement. O. L. Triggs.
Two Lectures. William Morris.
Decorative Arts. William Morris.
Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini.
Library of British Manufactories.
Gold and Silver. Wheatley.
Ye Olden Time. E. S. Holt.
Arts and Crafts Essays. Ed. by Morris.
Industrial Arts. Maskell.
Old English Silver. Cripps.
Spanish Arts. J. E. Riañio.
History of the Fine Arts. W. B. Scott.
Art Work in Gold and Silver. P. H. Delamotte.
Gold and Silver. J. H. Pollen.
Une Ville du Temps Jadis. M. E. Del Monte.
Industrial Arts. P. Burty.
Arts of the Middle Ages. Labarte.
Miscellanea Graphica. Fairholt.
Artist's Way of Working. R. Sturgis.
Jewellery. Cyril Davenport.
Enamels. Mrs. Nelson Dawson.
Precious Stones. Jones.
Ghiberti and Donatello. Leader Scott.
Iron Work. J. S. Gardner.
Guilds of Florence. E. Staley.
Armour in England. J. S. Gardner.
Foreign Armour in England. J. S. Gardner.
Cameos. Cyril Davenport.
Peter Vischer. Cecil Headlam.
St. Eloi and St. Bernward. Baring Gould; Lives of the Saint.
European Enamels. H. Cunynghame.
Intarsia and Marquetry. H. Jackson.
Pavement Masters of Siena. R. H. Cust. Sculpture in Ivory. Digby
Wyatt. Ancient and Mediæval Ivories. Wm. Maskell. Ivory Carvers of
the Middle Ages. A. M. Cust. Arts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
P. Lacroix. Ivories. A. Maskell. Old English Embroidery. F. and H.
Marshall. The Bayeux Tapestry. F. R. Fowke. History of Tapestry.
W. G. Thomson. La Broderie. L. de Farcy. Textile Fabrics. Dr. Rock.
Needlework as Art. Lady Alford. History of Needlework. Countess
of Wilton. Gilds; Their Origins, etc. C. Walford. Tapestry. A.
Champeaux. Tapestry. J. Hayes. Ornamental Metal Work. Digby Wyatt.
La Mosaïque. Gerspach. The Master Mosaic Workers. G. Sand. Revival
of Sculpture. A. L. Frothingham. History of Italian Sculpture. C.
H. Perkins. Art Applied to Industry. W. Burges. Four Centuries
of Art. Noel Humphreys. Aratra Pentelici. Ruskin. Seven Lamps of
Architecture. Ruskin. Val d'Arno. Ruskin. Stones of Venice. Ruskin.
Lectures on Sculpture. Flaxman. Brick and Marble. G. E. Street.
Sculpture in Wood. Williams. Greek and Gothic. St. J. Tyrwhitt.
Westminster Abbey and Craftsmen. W. R. Lethaby. Le Roi René. L. de
la Marche. English Mediæval Figure Sculpture. Prior and Gardner.
Churches of Paris. Sophia Beale. Matthew Paris' Chronicle. Crowns
and Coronations. Jones. Bell's Handbooks of Rouen, Chartres, Amiens,
Wells, Salisbury and Lincoln. History of Sculpture. D'Agincourt.
The Grotesque in Church Art. T. T. Wildridge.
Choir Stalls and Their Carving. Emma Phipson. Memorials of Westminster
Abbey. Dean Stanley. Memorials of Canterbury. Dean Stanley. Les
Corporations des Arts et Metiers. Hubert Valeroux. Finger Ring
Lore. Jones. Goldsmith's and Silversmith's Work. Nelson Dawson. The
Dark Ages. Maitland. Rambles of an Archæologist. F. W. Fairholt.
History of Furniture. A. Jacquemart. Embroidery. W. G. P. Townsend.
Le Livre des Metiers. Etienne Boileau. Illuminated Manuscripts.
J. H. Middleton. Illuminated Manuscripts. Edward Quaile. English
Illuminated Manuscripts. Maunde Thompson. Les Manuscrits et l'art
de les Orner. Alphonse Labitte. Les Manuscrits et la Miniature.
L. de la Marche. Primer of Illumination. Delamotte. Primer of
Illumination. Digby Wyatt. Ancient Painting and Sculpture in England.
J. Carter. Vasari's Lives of the Painters. (Selected.) Benvenuto
Cellini--Autobiography. Illuminated Manuscripts. O. Westwood. Celtic
Illuminative Art. S. F. H. Robinson. Illuminated Manuscripts. Bradley.


Aachen, 16
Abbeville, 265
Abbo, 57
Absalom, 299
Acherius, J., 335
Adam, 28
Adam, Abbot, 21
Adaminus, 222
Adelard, 229
Aelfled, 199
Aelst, 172
Agatho, 281
Agnelli, Fra, 226
Agnese, St., 14, 316
Agnolo, B., 303
Ahab, 276
Aignan, St., 354
Aix-la-Chapelle, 98, 287
Albans, St., 114, 186, 207, 250
Alberti, L., 131
Aleuin, 14, 278, 332
Aldobrandini, 131
Alfred, King, 4, 64, 67, 94, 199
Alford, Lady, 188, 303
Alicante, 167
Almeria, 183
Aloise, 20
Alwin, Bp., 252
Alwyn, H. F., 25
Amasia, Bp. of, 191
America, 25
Amiens, 65, 144, 230, 233, 236, 238, 240, 244, 265
Anastatius, 201, 281
"Anatomy of Abuses," 26
Ancona, 224
"Ancren Riwle," 75
Angers, 164, 208
Anglo-Saxons, 49, 92, 95, 100, 111, 159, 184, 294, 343
Anne of Bohemia, 65, 135
Anne of Brittany, 174, 211, 361
Anne of Cleves, 206
Anquetil, 230
Antelami, 221
Anthemius, 316
Anthony, St., 254
Antwerp, 116
Apollinaire, St., 316
Apollonius, 319
Apulia, 182
Arabia, 5, 14, 147
Arles, 18, 192, 229
Arnant, A., 292
Arnolfo di Cambio, 227
Armour, 121-132
Arphe, H. d' and J. d', 24, 25
Arras, 20, 165, 166, 167, 171
Arrigo (see Peselli)
Arthur, Prince, 205
Artois, 166
Asser, 4
Asterius, St., 192
Atlas, 9
Athelmay, 4
August the Pious, 245
Augustine, St., 279, 354
Aurelian, 180
Auquilinus, 230
Austin, W., 129
Auxene, 162
Aventin, St., 231
Avernier, A., 265
Avignon, M. de, 33

"Babee's Book," 39
Bakes, J., 171
Balbastro, 130
Baldini, B., 34
Baldovinetto, 322
Ballin, C., 35
Bamberg, 258
Baptist, John, 65
Barbarossa, 16
Barcheston, 171
Bargello, 281
Barnwell, 330
Bartholomew Anglicus, 4, 81, 83, 110, 149
Basilewski, 291
Basle, 23
Basse-taille, 103
Bataille, 166
Bavaria, 165, 266, 295, 362
Bayeux Tapestry, 154-159
Bazinge, A. de, 207
Beauchamp, R., 144
Becket, T. à, 28, 46, 54, 61
Bede, 110, 145
Begue, J. de, 338
Bells, 145
Benedict, St., 4, 329
Benedictional of Ethelwold, 355
Benet, J., 250
Bergamo, 308
Bernard, M., 167
Bernard, St., 21, 22, 270, 287
Bernward, Bp., 16-20, 136, 140, 229, 317
Berquem, L., 74
Bess of Hardwick, 211
Bethancourt, J. de, 33
Beverly, 257, 274
Bezaleel, 1, 25
Bezold, H. van, 268
Bianchini, 324
Billiard Balls, 295
Birch, W. de G., 349
Biscornette, 113
Black Prince, 135
"Blandiver, Jack," 152
Bloet, Bp., 246
Blois, 174
Boabdil, 127
Boileau, E., 217
Boleyn, A., 78
Bologna, 224, 308
Bolognese, M. S., 337
Boningegna, G., 98
Boston Art Museum, 342
Bosworth, 66
Botticelli, 190
Boudichon, J., 361
Boulin, A., 265
Boutellier, J. le, 237
Bradshaw, 170
Brandenburgh, 295
Bridget, St., 53, 346
Briolottus, 222
Brithnoth, 160
British Museum, 292, 345
Bronze, 132-149
Brooches, 50-56
Browning, R., 258
Brunelleschi, 305
Brussels, 172
Brussels, M. S., 337
Burgundy, 194
Byzantine style, 13, 22, 24, 49, 63, 84, 87, 92, 97, 103, 183, 191,
199, 220, 224, 340
"Byzantine Guide," 342

Cadwollo, 134
Caffi, M., 307
Cambio, A. del, 301
Cambridge, 37, 364
Camerino, J., 321
Cameos, 85-90
Cano, A., 268
Canterbury, 54, 135, 176, 243
Canute (see Knut)
Canozio, 305
Caradosso, 8
Caramania, 168
Carazan, 5
Carlencas, 218
Carovage, 151
Carpentras, Bp. of, 37
Carrara, 221
Carter, J., 106, 251, 290
Casati, 90
Cassiodorus, 327
Castel, G. van, 268
Castiglione, Count, 308
Cecilia, St., 186
Celestine III., Pope, 18
Cellini, Benvenuto, xii, 7-13, 43, 56, 68-71, 91, 96, 105, 127, 132,
Celtic style, 50-54, 92, 343
Centula, 317
Chained Books, 330
Chalices, 29
Champlevé, 94, 103
Charlemagne, 14, 15, 23, 62, 98, 124, 146, 181, 203, 224, 294, 328,
332, 338
Charles I., 212
Charles V., 40, 70, 165, 209, 265, 295, 359
Charles the Bold, 15
Chartres, 107, 145, 219, 229, 231, 234, 237, 238, 242, 312
Chaucer, 169, 181, 193
Chelles, J. de, 240
Cherio, L. de, 355
Chester, 170, 273
Chichester, 242
Chilperic, 38
Chinchintalas, 187
Christin of Margate, 207
Cid, The, 128
Claudian, 278
Clement le Brodeur, 207
Clement, Pope, 9, 56, 89
Clemente, St., 321
Clermont, 314
Clocks, 150
Clothaire II., 157
Clovio, G., 361
Clovis II., 62
Cluny, 14
Cockayne, W., 44
Coinsi, Prior, 270
Colaccio, M., 305
Cola di Rienzi, 204
Coldingham, 249
Cologne, 98, 115, 145
Columba, St., 220, 327, 344
Columbkille, 52
Constantine, 13, 313, 316, 340
Constantinople, 57, 84, 86, 97, 136, 181, 225, 316, 317, 318, 340
Constanza, Sta., 314
Coquille, G. de, 32
Cordova, 25
Coro, D. del, 299
Cosmati Mosaic, 310
Coula, 53
Courtray, 152
Coventry, 201
Cozette, 177
Cracow, 266
Crete, 276
Crest, H., 33
Crivelli, C., 183
Croisètes, J. de, 166
Cromwell, O., 29
Crown Jewels, 66
Croyland, 147, 164, 192, 200
Crumdale, R., 250
Cunegonde, 207
Cunegunda, Queen, 2, 24
Cups, 44
Curfew, 147
Curmer, 361
Cuserius, 315
Cuthbert, St., 53, 145, 199, 345
Cynewulf, 149
Cyzicus, L. de, 279, 341

Dagobert, 62, 162
Damascening, 126
Damiano, Fra, 308
Davenport, 287
Davenport, C., 86
Davi, J., 236
Day, Lewis, 183
Decker, H., 259
Delhi, 57
Delphyn, N., 255
Delobel, 196
Denis, St., 20, 22, 58, 83, 162, 230, 232
Deschamps, E., 359
Diamonds, 71-74
Diàne of de Poictiers, 107
Didier, Abbé, 318
Didron, 18, 140
Dijon, 152, 194, 229
Dipoenus, 276
Dioscorides, 341
Domenico of the Cameos, 88
Donatello, xiii, 227
Donne, Dr., 79
Dourdan, 166
Drawswerd, 255
Dresden, 85
Dublin, 27, 344
Ducarel, 159
Dunstan, St., 75, 110, 182
Dürer, A., 132, 258, 266, 268
Durham, 53, 148, 172, 197, 250, 252, 288, 318
"Durham Book," 344
Durosne, 33
Duval, J., 173

Ebony, 307
Ecclesiasticus, 81
Edinburgh, 130
Edgitha, 193
Edith, Queen, 159
Edrisi, 167
Edward, goldsmith, 28, 36
Edward I., 75
Edward II., 168, 199
Edward III., 36, 66, 193
Edward IV., 37, 117
Edward the Confessor, 26, 28, 75, 156, 193, 224, 251
Egebric, 147
Eginhard, 282
Egyptians, 1
Eleanor, Queen, 117, 135, 144, 165, 249
Elfen, 309
Elizabeth, Queen, 26, 129, 211
Eloi, St., 22, 57-62, 111
Ely, 159, 195, 200, 249
Embroideries, 179-212
Emesa, 65
Emma, Queen, 200, 251
Enamels, 91-108
England, 2, 4, 23, 135, 164, 214
Eraclius, 336
Essex, William of, 107
Etheldreda, St., 249
Explicit, 354
Exodus, 1
Ezekiel, 276

Fairill, 53
Falkland, Viscount, 211
Farcy, L., 189, 203
Ferdinand I., 302
Ferdinand II., 302
Fereol, St., 328
Ferucci, F., 302
Filigree, 12
Finger-rings, 74-78
Finiguerra, M., 34, 101
Flagons, 37
Flanders, 165
Florence, xii, 26, 34, 88, 115, 136, 147, 176, 224, 264, 298, 301,
303, 319, 322
Florence, Jean of, 165
Florent, St., 163
Fontaine, E. la, 23
Foucquet, J., 361
Fowke, F. R., 155
Fra Angelico, 357
France, 2, 3, 5, 23, 162, 164, 214-216, 257, 262, 291, 325
Francia, 34, 183
Francis I., 11, 105, 107, 133, 152, 177
Fremlingham, R. de, 250
Froissart, 131, 152, 356
Fuller, 189, 201

Gaddi, G. and A., 319-320, 322
Gaegart, 114
Gale, P., 207
Gall, St., 124, 145, 263, 285
Galla Placida, 315
"Gammer Gurton's Needle," 188
Gandesheim, 19
Garlande, J. de, 62
Garnier, 230
Gaunt, J. of, 35, 55
Gautier, R., 207
Gendulphus, St., 288
Genesis, 160
Genevieve, St., 3, 239
Genoa, 12, 180
Gerbert, 150
Germany, 5, 16, 17, 114, 130, 139, 141, 185, 198, 214, 257, 262, 291
George II., 186
George IV., 75
Gerona, 160
Ghent, 130
Ghiberti, xii, 34, 71, 136, 227
Ghirlandajo, 33, 322
Giacomo, Maestro, 306
Gifford, G., 29
Gilles, St., 229
Giralda, 135
Giraldus, Cambriensis, 335
Girard d'Orleans, 265
Giotto, 264, 322
"Giovanni of the Camelians," 88
Giudetto, Maestro, 296
Glastonbury, 110, 152, 220, 331
Gloucester, 327, 331
Gloucester, John of, 248
Gobelins Tapestry, 160, 164, 176
Godemann, 355
Gold Leaf, 335
Gontran, 229
Gothic style, 24, 29
Gouda, 299
Granada, 183
Gregory, St., 221, 277
Gresham, Sir T., 25
Grès, H. de, 292
Grimani Breviary, 361
Grosso, N., 116
Grotesques, 235-243, 273, 349, 353
Grove, D. van, 268
Guerrazzar, Treasure of, 63
Guillaume, Abbot, 229
Gutierez, 167

Haag, J., 240
Hall Mark, 3
Hankford, Sir W., 36
Hampton Court, 171
Hannequin, 32
Harleian MS., 352
Harrison, 193
Harold, 157, 158
Hasquin, J. de, 33
Hatfield, 171
Hayes, S. L., 156
Headlam, C., 268
Hebrides, 196
Hebrews, 1
Héliot, 292
Hennequin de Liege, 240
Henry I., 23, 155
Henry II., 83, 107, 197
Henry III, 27, 28, 36, 38, 86, 117, 135, 144, 207, 248, 287, 311
Henry V., 252
Henry VI., 185
Henry VII., 102, 181, 206, 253, 254, 257, 268
Henry VIII., 131, 175, 195, 209, 254
Henry the Pious, 23
Herlin, F., 266
Herman, 74
Herodias, 65
Hezilo, 20
Hildesheim, xii, 16-20, 116, 136, 139, 140, 258, 285, 286, 309, 317
Holanda, A. de, 361
Holderness, 273
Honorius, Pope, 316
Hudd, A., 255
Huberd, R., 251
Hugh, St., 246
Hughes, Abbot, 229
Husee, 37-78
Hust, A., 265

Il Lasca, 305
Illumination, 326-364
Imber, L., 255
Inlay, 296-309
Innocent IV., 200
Iona, 220
Ireland, 342-345
Iron, 109-121
Isaiah, 1
Isidore, 316
Isle of Man, 77
Islip, Abbot, 102, 275
Italy, 5, 21, 92, 141
Ivan III, 283
Ivory carving, 275-295
"Ivy Pattern," 347

Jackson, H., 307
Jacob of Breslau, 328
Jacobus, Fra, 319
James, 315
James I., 56, 176
Jeanne, Queen, 173
Jeanne of Navarre, 68
John, King, 66, 105, 207
John XII., 111
John IV., 316
Johnson, R., 117
Joinville, Sirede, 194
Jones, Sir E. B., 203
Jouy, B. de, 314
Justinian, 220, 221, 315

Katherine, Queen, 252
Katherine of Aragon, 209
Keepe, H., 241
Kells, Book of, 49, 344
Kent, Fair Maid of, 196
Keys, 119
Kildare, Gospels of, 345
Kirton, Ed., 241
"Kleine Heldenbuch," 189
Knight, 210
Knut, King, 200, 252
Kohinoor, 71
Kraft, A., 141, 213, 258, 259, 261, 266
Krems, 115

Laach, 262
Labenwolf, 143
Labarte, 302
Laborde, 74
Labraellier, J., 295
Lacordaire, 160
Lagrange, 168
Lambspring, B., 129
Lamoury, S., 166
Lateran, The, 205, 316, 321
Laura, 193
Lawrence, St., 315
Lead, 149
Lebrija, 269
Leighton, T. de, 117
Leland, 206
Leo III., 203
Leo X., 172
Leon, 25
Leopardi, 302
"Les Maitres Mosaïtes," 323
Lethaby, W. R., 252, 311
Lewis, 293
Lewis, H., 117
Liberale da Verona, 361
"Liber Eliensis," 200
Lille, 166
Limoges, 24-57, 103, 107, 144
Lincoln, 244, 246, 274
Lincoln Imp, 247
Lindisfarne, 53, 345
Limousin, E. and L., 107
Lisle, Lord, 35, 55
Little Gidding, 212
Locks, 120
Lombards, The, 18, 63, 220, 277
London, 25, 26, 44, 182, 185, 206, 248, 288
Lothaire, 38
Louis VI., 21
Louis VII., 21
Louis XII., 174, 361
Louis XIV., 197
Louis, Prince, 20
Louis, St., 22, 194, 232, 240, 253
Louvre, The, 270, 292
Lübke, xi
Lucca, 221, 296
Luca della Robbia, 213
Ludlow, 273
Luini, B., 307
Luna, de, 306

MacDurnam, 344
"Mad Meg," 130
Madrid, 177-270
Maes Eyck, 358
Magaster, 278
Maiano, B. de, 304
Maitland, 14
Maitani, L., 227
Malaga, 269
Malmsbury, W. of, 65, 75, 220
Malvezzi, M., 308
Manne, P., 33
Mantegna, 101
Mantreux, J. de, 32
Manuello, 302
Mapilton, Master, 252
"Mappae Claviculae," 276
Marcel, St., 238
Marcellus, 65
Marche, L. de la, 341
Maretta, G., 8
Mariana, Queen, 270
Mark's, St., 318, 323, 361
Marten, 66
Martin, St., 17, 87
Martyr, Bp., 240
Mary, Queen of Scots, 210
Maskell, A. and W., 32, 186, 294
Massari, A., 306
Matilda, Queen, 155
Matsys, Q., 118, 141
Matteo da Siena, 300
Maximian, 282
Medici, The, 85, 176, 211, 254, 301
Memlinc, 166
Mexicans, 18
Michael, St., 18, 19
Michelangelo, 9, 90, 116, 254, 303
Milan, 281, 307
Mildmay, H., 67
Minella, P. de, 299
Miniato, San, 298
Miserere Stalls, 271-275
"Mons Meg," 130
Monte Cassino, 318
Montereau, J. de, 240
Montfort, S. de, 63
Montarsy, P. de, 35
Monza, 23, 63, 221
Monzon, 146
Moore, Charles, xi, 234
Moorish style, 24
Moreau, J., 241
Morel, B., 135
Mortlake, 178
Morris, Wm., v, x, 248
Moryson, F., 26
Mt. Athos, 341
Möser, L., 266
Mosaic, 309-327

Nantes, 314
Nassaro, M. dal, 88
Naumberg, 259
Navagiero, 183
Nevers, Count of, 194
Nicolas, J., 33
Niello, 49, 99-102
Nomenticum, 166
Norfolk, 31
Norman style, 29
Norton, C. E., 219, 226
Norwich, 45, 196, 331
Nôtre Dame, Paris, 218, 234, 238, 240
Noyon, 58, 60
Nüremberg, 141, 152, 258, 259, 266, 292, 309

Oath Book of the Saxon Kings, 346
Odericus, 311
Odo, goldsmith, 14, 27
Odo, Abbot, 115
Olivetans, 307-308
Orcagna, 34, 140, 183, 227
Orebsc, S. M., 24
Orghet, J., 166
Oriental, 24, 84
Orleans, 33
Orso Magister, 222
Orviedo, 278
Orvieto, 33, 227, 244, 302, 310
Osmont, 204
Othlonus, 356
Otho, 230, 286
Otto III., Emperor, 16
Oudenardes, 169
Ouen, St., 58
Oxford, 168, 210, 248, 255, 354

Pacheco, 25
Padua, 305
Pala d'Oro, 23, 97, 98
Palermo, 311
"Pancake Man" 245
Paris, 2, 17, 20-23, 26, 37, 52, 69, 86, 113, 149, 166, 186, 200, 218,
229, 234, 238, 239, 240, 339
Paris, Matthew, 27, 180, 207
Parma, 221
Patras, L., 139
Patrick, St., 2, 49, 52, 145, 238
Paul the Deacon, 221
Paulus, 315
Pausanias, 121
Pavia, 221
Pembroke, Earl, 67
Penne, 208
Perseus, 134
Persia, 55
Perugia, 224, 298
Peselli, 322
Peter Albericus, 224
Peter Amabilis, 224
Peter the Great, 295
Peter de St. Andeman, 335
Peter Orfever, 224
Peter of Rome, 310
Peter of Spain, 241
Petrarch, 192, 362
Philip IV., 167
Philip the Bold, 165
Philip the Good, 165
Philippa, Queen, 194
Philostratus, 91, 103
Philoxenus, 277
Picardie, 317
Pickering, W., 129
Pietra Dura, 301
Piggigny, J. de, 32
Pinturicchio, 300
Pirckheimer, W., 132
Pisa, 221, 225, 298
Pisani, The, 71, 216, 221, 225, 234, 244
Pistoja, 298
Pitti Palace, 101, 177, 301, 302
Pius II., 67
Pliny, 2, 110, 143
Poitiers, 162, 163
Pollajuolo, xiii, 34, 195
Polo, Marco, 5, 55, 71, 184, 187, 278
Pordenone, 323
Portland Vase, 87
Poucet, J. de and B., 241
Poulligny, G. de, 207
Poussin, N., 33
Precious Stones, 77-83
Prior and Gardner, 244
Probus, 277
"Properties of Things," 4
Psalter of Edwin, 353
Ptolemies, The, 83
Pudenziana, St., 314
Pugin, 120, 153

Quentin, St., 60
"Queen Mary's Psalter," 347

Rabanus, 278
Rabotin, L., 33
Raffaelo da Brescia, 308
Ralph, Brother, 250
Ramsay, W., 250
Raphael, 166, 172, 323
Rausart, J. de, 166
Ravenna, 216, 224, 282, 283, 312, 314, 315
Redgrave, R., xi, 47
Rée, J. P., 259
Reformation, The, 29, 31, 209
Reggio, 305
Renaissance, 32, 88, 117, 135, 141, 164, 192, 205, 227, 239, 268, 271,
René of Anjou, 33, 164, 173, 208, 241
Renoy, J., 237
Reynolds, Sir J., 139
Rheims, 150, 162, 229, 238, 239, 300
Richard II., 37, 135
Richard III., 66
Ripon, 273
Robert, King, 150, 229
Rock, Dr., 155, 183, 191, 197, 210
Rome, 17, 19, 24, 136, 187, 264, 278, 283, 310, 316, 321, 322
Romanesque style, 18, 29, 219, 220, 258
Romulus and Remus, 299
Rosebeque, 131, 167
Rossi, 314
Rothenburg, 266
Rouen, 60, 236, 265
Roze, Abbé, 236
Ruskin, J., v, 144, 221, 222, 226, 227, 235, 265, 298

Salinas, 130
Salisbury, 243
Salisbury, Earl, 35
Salt-cellars, 43
Salutati, B., 195
Sand, G., 323
Sandwich, 30
Sansovino, xii
Sano di Pietro, 361
Saumur, 162, 241
Sauval, 114
Savonarola, 195
Schülein, H., 266
Scillis, 276
Scholastico, A., 295
Schutz, C., 185
Scott, W., 51
Sculpture, 213
Selsea, 242
Senlis, H. de, 292
Seville, 24, 25, 128, 132, 209
Sewald, 165
Shakespeare, 77
Shoreditch, J. of, 168
Shrewsbury, 211
Siena, 225, 298-300, 302
Silk, 179
Siriès, L., 302
Sithiu, 339
Skelton, J., 359
Smyrna, 168
Soignoles, J. de, 240
Solignac, 58
Sophia, Sta., 316
South Kensington Museum, 19, 170, 177, 197, 198, 303, 226
Spain, 24, 102, 110, 117, 120, 127-8, 130, 211, 258, 278, 294, 306
Spoons, 39
"Squire of Low Degree," 197
Staley, E., 134
Statius, 315
Stauracius, 136
Stengel, H., 309
Stephanus, 315
Stephen IV., 187
Stevens, T., 144
Strasburg, 259
Stoss-Veit, 258-266
Stubbes, 25
Stubbs, Charles, 249
Stump Work, 212
Sturgis, R., vii, 218, 307
Suger, Abbot, 20-23, 230, 318
Suinthila, 23, 63
Sumercote, J. de, 207
"Swineherd of Stowe," 246
Sylvester II., 151
Sylvester, Bp., 314
Symmachus, 279
Symonds, J. A., 139
Syon Cope, 201
Syrlin, J., 266

Tali, A., 319-320
Tanagra, 213
Tancho, 146
Tapestry, 154-178
Tapicier, G. le, 168
Tappistere, J. le, 168
Tara Brooch, 50, 83
Tartary, 184
Tassach, 53
Tasso, D. and G., 303, 304
Taugmar, 17
Tegernsee, 357
Temple Church, 248
Tenison Psalter, 347, 352
Texier, Abbé, xiii
Textiles, 154
Thebes, 181
Thergunna, 196
Theodolinda, Queen, 221, 277
Theodora, 315
Theodoric, 221, 222, 327
Theophilus the Monk, 5, 6, 7, 74, 81, 85, 95, 99, 100, 110, 185, 276, 337
Theophilus, Emperor, 14, 317
Thillo, 58
Thomson, M. G., 165, 171
Tintoretto, 323
Titian, 323
Toledo, 24, 25, 63, 125, 209, 270
Tonquin, J., 114
Topf, J., 129
Torcello, 112, 319
Torel, W., 144, 249, 250
Torpenhow, 31
Torregiano, 254, 264
Torriti, J., 321
Touraine, 194
Tours, 17, 162, 173, 314
"Treatises" of Cellini, 11
Trittenham, J. of, 354
Trophimes, St., 229
Troupin, J., 265
Troyes, 170
Tucher, A., 268
Tudela, B. of, 57, 181
Tudor, 29
Tuscany, 5
Tutilon, or Tutilo, 229, 263

Ubaldo, St., 204
Ugolino of Siena, 33
Ulm, 266
Ulpha, St., 233
Urbino, 306
Utrecht Psalter, 156, 353

Valence, A. de, 144, 233
Valencia, 146
Valerio Vincentino, 89
Van Eyck, 166
Vasari, G., 34, 85, 89, 106, 116, 191, 254, 302, 320, 322
Vatican, 204
Velasquez, 25, 167
Venice, 84, 97, 136, 223, 312, 318, 322, 323, 361
Verocchio, 33, 34
Verona, 88, 117, 222
Villant, P. de, 208
Vinci, L. da, 33
Viollet-le-Duc, 52, 218
Virgil, 228
Vischer, Peter, 141-143, 266
Vischer, Peter, Jr., 268
Vitel, 314
Vitruvius, 187
Vivaria, 327
Vopiscus, F., 166

Wallois, H., 166
Walpole, H., 148
Walsingham, A. de, 248
Walter of Colchester, 250
Walter of Durham, 250
Ware, R. de, 311
Warwick, 144
Waquier, 207
Wechter, F. de, 166
Welburne, J., 275
Wells, 152, 244
Wendover, R. de, 180
Westminster, 66, 102, 117, 144, 156, 165, 224, 233, 240, 241, 243,
249-255, 268, 275, 311, 331
Westwood, O., 344
Weyden, van der, 169
Willaume, 166
William the Conqueror, 155, 232
Williams of Sens, 243
Wilton, Countess of, 157, 172
Winchester, 149, 165, 199, 272
Windsor, 118, 131, 268
Wire-drawing, 184
Withaf, King, 192
Withers, G., 67
Wolsey, Card., 175
Wood-carving, 262-275
Wood, 66
Woolstrope, 29
Worsted, 196
Wyckham, W., 102

Ypres, 166
York, 181, 275, 285

Zamborro, M., 322
Zuccati, The, 323-325

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages - A Description of Mediaeval Workmanship in Several of the Departments of Applied Art, Together with Some Account of Special Artisans in the Early Renaissance" ***

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