An enamelled alms dish with fleurs-de-lys and arabesque ornaments.

alms bowl, dish, fleurs-de-lys, Arts, Crafts, Middle Ages
Enamelled alms dish. 13th century.


Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages.

THIS beautiful example of early enameling formed part of the Bernal Collection, and is described in the Sale Catalogue, Lot 1289, as “A circular Alms-dish.”

The centre represents a young man on horseback, holding a hawk on his fist, the jesses hanging from his hand. Six female figures are seated in as many compartments around the central subject, the ground of all being covered with arabesque ornament.

The dish is of copper, and has been gilt; its side view is exhibited in the outline beneath, showing a portion of the fleurs-de-lys attached to the geometric pattern covering the under surface; this is engraved upon it in lines and dots, and will be more perfectly understood by the reduced representation below. The colored engraving (erroneously dated) is one-third less than the size of the original.

Source: Miscellanea graphica: representations of ancient, medieval, and renaissance remains in the possession of Lord Londesborough. Contributor: Frederick William Fairholt, 1857.