French 13th Century
Book Cover with Christ in Majesty
champlevé enamel on copper, with traces of gilding, mounted on wooden backing
metal plate: 21.3 x 11.2 cm 8 3/8 x 4 7/16 in
Reportedly Trivulzio collection, Milan;  (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence); sold by 1937 or 1939 to Samuel H. Kress, New York;  gift 27 February 1950 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;  gift 1961 to NGA.  A red-bordered sticker on the back with the number 6486 perhaps records a Trivulzio inventory number. On a paper affixed to the wooden back, covering most of it, is a lengthy description in Italian and Latin, concerned chiefly with the iconography, presumably the work of a Trivulzio curator or cataloguer. A transcription and translation are in the object folder in NGA curatorial records.  A. M. Hind to John Walker, 12 June 1951, states that Hind first heard (from Alfred Frankfurter, editor of The Art News) of the Trivulzio nielli, with which this enamel was acquired, in Kress's hands in 1937. Marie-Madeleine Gauthier, in a letter to Alison Luchs of 25 June 1984, mentions a sale of the Trivulzio collection in London, 6 June 1939; no catalogue has been located.  Deposition by Herbert L. Spencer, executive director, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 21 August 1956, in the secretary-general counsel's office files, National Gallery of Art, Kress no. 0-154.