Earthenware Bowl, Talavera ware, S.K.M.
Earthenware Plaque, Alcora ware, S.K.M.
Marks and Signatures of Painters who worked at Alcora
Room decorated with Buen-Retiro porcelain in the Palace at Madrid
Vase, Buen Retiro porcelain, S.K.M.
Marks used at the porcelain manufactory of Buen Retiro
Glass Vase, 16th century, S.K.M
Pilgrim's Bottle, Glass, 17th century, S.K.M.
Glass Bottle, modern, S.K.M.
Glass Vessels, S.K.M.
Glass Vase, Cadalso, 17th century, S.K.M.
Vase, Green glass with black handle and ribs, 17th century, S.K.M.
Glass Vessels, S.K.M.
Tapestry at Cathedral of Gerona, 11th century
The Department of Science and Art is indebted to Mr. John Murray for the use of the Woodcuts Nos. 19, 20, 30, and 31. No. 50 is from a Spanish Woodcut.
SPANISH INDUSTRIAL ART.
GOLD AND SILVER WORK.
THE Greek and Latin authors who have described the Spanish Peninsula, state that the quantity of gold and silver ore found there was very great, and that hence the district became an important centre of commercial activity of Phœnicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Romans. Some authors have gone so far as to assert that the Phœnicians made the anchors of their ships of gold and silver, and that the Carthaginians were astonished to find in Andalusia, that the mangers and vases for holding wine and oil were made of the same materials. These references have been constantly mentioned in ancient Spanish authors. Ambrosio de Morales, in his "Antiguedades de España," Alcala 1577, enters into every detail on this subject.
I have seen a specimen of this period, a bowl of an earlier and different style to Roman silversmiths' work, which belongs to a collector in the province of Cordova. This bowl is of a conical shape: it is perfectly plain, and has an inscription in Iberian characters engraved on one of its sides: there are signs outside and at the bottom which indicate that this bowl was made on the wheel. Velazquez in his "Ensayo sobre las letras desconocidas," Madrid, 1752, describes a silver bowl of a similar kind, which was found in Andalusia in 1618 full of Iberian coins: this bowl weighed ten ounces. Several ornaments, chiefly consisting of necklaces and earrings, may be studied at the Academy of History, and private collections, in Madrid; they have been classified by antiquarians as belonging to this uncertain period, and are similar in style to others which have been frequently found in England and the north of Europe. The most interesting objects of this kind which I have seen in Spain, are gold ornaments proceeding from Galicia; they were found there by Sr. Villaamil, who gave a description of them in the "Museo Español de Antiguedades," vol. iii. p. 545.
The information and remains which have reached us illustrating silver and gold work of the Roman domination are more important; we find, however, in this and similar artistic industries that, as a general rule, the Romans imposed their style and system on the inhabitants of the countries which they conquered, and it is not easy to point out any one example which can be given as an exception to this general rule. It is, undoubtedly, a fact that objects of all kinds in gold and silver were used in Spain to a very great extent—for, notwithstanding the destruction of ages, we still possess inscriptions which allude to silver statues, and a large number of objects in the precious metals exist in museums and private collections. See "Inscrip. Hisp. lat.," by Dr. Emile Hübner, Berlin, 1869. Of these it will be sufficient to mention one of the most important. It is known in the province of Santander by the name of the dish of Otañez; and belongs to a gentleman who lives in that locality. It was found at Otañez at the end of the last century, buried in a stone quarry. This dish is made of silver, it weighs thirty-three ounces, and is covered with an ornamentation of figures in relief, some of which are gilt, representing an allegorical subject of the source of medicinal waters. In the upper part is a nymph who pours water from an urn over rocks; a youth collects it in a vessel; another gives a cup of it to a sick man; another fills with it a barrel which is placed in a four-wheeled car to which are yoked two mules. On each side of the fountain are altars on which sacrifices and libations are offered. Round it is the inscription: SALVS. VMERITANA, and at the back is engraved, in confused characters, the words: L. P. CORNELIANI. PIII....
Another very interesting silver dish may be seen at the Academia de la Historia, Madrid. Although not of Spanish manufacture, it deserves special notice in a description of works of this style. This dish was found in 1847, buried in a field at Almendralejo, province of Estremadura: it is 28-6/8 English inches in diameter, and weighs 533 ounces. It is ornamented with fine figures in relief, representing the Emperor Theodosius appointing a magistrate. The emperor is seated on his throne in the centre, at the sides are his sons Arcadius and Honorius, with four soldiers of the guard, and the magistrate, who receives the volume. In the lower part there is an allegorical representation of a nymph holding the horn of abundance, winged angels, and ears of wheat, probably alluding to the abundance and plenty of the empire. Round the rim is the following inscription:—
D. N. THEODOSIVS PERPET.
AVG OB DIEM FELI CISSIMVM.
At the back, in points, are the following Greek words.
ποc ↑Ν ΜεΤ
We can form a very good idea of the jewel work of the Visigothic period from the discovery of the treasure of Guarrazar. These jewels were found in 1858 at the village of this name, six miles from Toledo, on the spot where, in the Visigothic period, a Christian sanctuary had existed. The objects found, which may be seen at the Museum of Cluny, Paris, and Armeria Real, Madrid, constitute the most important collection in Europe of the jewel work of that period. No less than eleven votive crowns, some of extraordinary magnificence; two crosses with inscriptions, and a large number of fragments of all kinds, of gold and precious stones, were found at Guarrazar. Unfortunately a great part of the treasure has been lost, for the labourers, who were the first to find it, sold several objects to the silversmiths at Toledo, who melted and destroyed specimens of the highest artistic interest. Those that remain in Spain are—
At the Royal Armoury of Madrid: A gold crown of Swinthila inlaid with precious stones, with pendent cross, and inscriptions of letters hanging from it: SVINTHILANVS REX. OFFERET. See woodcut on p. 7. A similar crown of Theodosius, with the inscription: OFFERET MVNVSCVLVM. SCO STEFANO ETHODOSIVS. ABBA. The cross of Lucetius with the following inscription: + IN NOMINE DNI. IN NOMINE SCI OFFERET LVCETIVS: E. Fragments of another crown and of large crosses: several stones and fragments, and an emerald, on which is engraved en creux the Annunciation of the Virgin.
At the Archæological Museum, and in several private collections in Spain, may be seen a large number of stones and pearls which were found at Guarrazar.
Among the objects at the Archæological Museum at Madrid, a small section, which proceed from a different locality, have also been classified as Visigothic. They consist of necklaces, earrings, and rings, and are less important in workmanship than those found at Guarrazar. The student will find further details in "Museo Español de Antiguedades," vol. vi., p. 137.
The objects forming part of the treasure of Guarrazar now in the Museum of Cluny, Paris are: Crown of Recesvinthus, with pendent cross and inscription: + RECESVINTHVS REX OFFERET. A similar crown, without inscription. Four crowns formed to imitate basket work, with crosses hanging from the centres. Three crowns, the rims of which are formed of repoussé work, only one of which is ornamented with precious stones, and without pendent crosses. The cross of Sonnicus with the follow ing inscription: ✠ IN D̄I NOMINE OFFERET SONNICA S̄C̄Ē MARIE IN SORBACES.
Swinthila reigned from 624 to 631, A.D.; Recesvinthus from 650 to 672 A.D.; hence these crowns belong to the 7th century, and the remaining objects are certainly of the same period.
Much has been written on these Visigothic jewels by French and Spanish authors, the most interesting and valuable studies are:—"Descrip. du Trésor de Guarrazar, par M. Lasteyrie. Paris. 1860." "El arte Latino Bizantino en España y las Coronas de Guarrazar," by Señor Rios, Madrid, 1861. Consult also his article in "Monumentos Arq. de España." "Coronas de Guarrazar que se conservan en la Armeria Real de Madrid," by Señor Rada. Museo Español, vol. iii. Madrid, 1874.
The importance of this goldsmith's work has led these authors to discuss several archaeological and artistic points which deserve attention. I will also give my opinions on this subject, which in some respects differ from those hitherto advanced. In the Middle Ages the name of crown was equally applied to those worn on the head, to the votive crowns hung before altars, and to the pendent lamps which were also of this circular form. The "Etimologies" of San Isidoro help us, unfortunately, but little on this subject; but Du Cange, in his "Glossarium Mediæ et infimæ Latinitatis" gives us sufficient details to understand the differences between them. I refer the student to two works on this subject, which treat especially of crowns of light, which none of the authors who have written on Guarrazar have consulted: "Tratado de la Sagrada Luminaria," by Gonzalez Villar, Madrid, 1798. "De Lucernis Pensilibus," by Fanceulli, Maceratae, 1802.
The crowns found at Guarrazar were undoubtedly votive offerings, for they all have chains by which they were suspended in the sanctuary in which they were found. Their size and the structure of their rims lead us to suppose that they may have been worn on the head. The same observation applies to a similar crown at the Cluny Museum; if so, the chains, cross, and pendent letters were added when the crown was offered to the sanctuary.
Although details which appear in the handwork of these jewels betray a certain rudeness, not uncommon in the time they were made, their beauty and richness are truly surprising. These crowns are decorated round their rims with rosettes of pearls and sapphires, and a delicate ornamentation of cloisonné work, which encloses a substance resembling red glass. From the upper part are attached four chains formed of leaves percées à jour, these are united to a double gold rosette with pendent sapphires, in the centre of which is set a piece of rock crystal. In the cross of Recesvinthus the pendant is in the form of a capital, and from it hangs a small cross of the same style of work: from the lower rim of the crown are suspended the letters, which are ornamented with the same vitreous paste, cloisonné, and from each hang large single pearls and sapphires.
The border of some of these crowns is formed of a net-work of small gold massive balustrades; having between them square spaces in which pearls and sapphires are set. Others are made simply of repoussé gold, their chief interest consisting in the ornamentation which has been so artistically carried out. Some of them have inscriptions and a few stones set at intervals. The pendants from these crowns are inferior in richness to the others already described. The pendent crosses are ornamented in the same style, either with cloisonné work or repoussé inscriptions.
VOTIVE CROWN OF KING SWINTHILA, MADRID.
One of the most interesting results produced by the study of the treasure of Guarrazar has been to show us the immense luxury which it represents, if we remember the period of decay and poverty of the Visigothic monarchy. We find this magnificence frequently alluded to by ancient writers. The Arabs when they took possession of Toledo in the 8th century, mention in different works the immense quantity of jewels of all kinds which they found and carried away. The gold and silversmith's work of this period was everywhere in a very high state of development. We find it constantly alluded to in the works of Paul Silentiarium and other writers of the time of Justinian, and in the inventories and references given by Du Sommerard of the jewel work anterior to the Carlovingian period in Italy and France. The Visigothic kings, who copied from the Eastern emperors even their legal forms, followed this rule to a great extent in everything which bore relation to their daily life.
The most important question is to determine the origin and locality where these jewels were made. M. de Lasteyrie considers that jewellery ornamented with red glass cloisonné work was only made by nations of the Germanic race. To prove this he presents, among other arguments, the comparison of a fragment of the ornamentation which appears on the crown of Recesvinthus, with a similar one on the Evangelistiarium of Theodolinda in the treasure of Monza, which he considers to be of German workmanship. These theories are untenable. Sr. Rios is of a different opinion, and considers these jewels to have been made in Spain, owing to the similarity of ornamentation with different specimens which occur in Spain in architectural remains of the Roman and Visigothic periods.
Both these writers give in my opinion the decorative elements of the crowns of Guarrazar an importance which they do not possess. The ornamentation which most frequently occurs consists of a combination of circles, imbrication, and palms of such an elementary kind that it would be difficult to ascertain its origin; it appears equally in mosaic work of the later Roman period, in vases and other objects of the best times of Greek art, and in Asiatic and archaic works. It may be affirmed that the ornamentation of the goldsmith's work of the north and south of Europe are derived from a common origin; from the oriental civilization which in the first centuries of the Middle Ages penetrated into Europe; it may also be affirmed that its manufacture and technical proceedings are precisely similar. Later on, the ornamentation and manufacture of these jewels received from the western nations some slight modifications; but this artistic industry by no means proceeded from them.
One example will be enough to prove this. Setting apart the famous cloisonné pectorale at the Boulac Museum, Cairo, and other jewels of the queen, Aah-Hotep, 17th century B.C.; the hawk of a similar period, Louvre Museum (Paris), and a number of analogous objects in the British Museum, we have enough specimens of this kind to show that cloisonné work was known in the east from the very earliest period. I will draw especial attention to the plaque in the Museum of Wiesbaden, found at Wolfsheim in 1870. It is formed of gold, with a circular and triangular ornamentation and squares, découpés à jour, set with jacinths, or red glass paste. At the back may be read an inscription in Persian characters, which gives the name of a Sassanide king, Artachshaber, of the 3rd century of our era. (See A. von Cohausen, "Roemischer Schmelzenschmuck," Wiesbaden, 1873). I know no more ancient specimen in the north of Europe of these jewels with coloured stones, nor can I give a better example of their oriental origin. Those who may wish to make a more profound study on this subject, can also examine the interesting jewels with stones found at Petrossa, Wallachia, in 1835, now in the Museum of Bucharest. They are attributed to the Visigothic King Athanaric, who lived towards the middle of the 4th century of our era, and are considered in the present day of undoubted Sassanide origin.
The artistic and technical origin of the jewels of Guarrazar must be looked for in the East; their manufacture was most probably Spanish. On part of these jewels, inscriptions of the names of the donatarios appear, and it is highly improbable that they were made in another country. We cannot imagine the extraordinary magnificence of the Visigothic court, so similar to that of Constantinople and other contemporary ones, without the presence at each of a group of artists whose task was to satisfy these demands.
The Visigothic style continued to be followed in Spain at the court of the Christian kings, until the 11th century, notwithstanding the Moorish invasion, and the poverty of the kingdom. The specimens at the treasury of the cathedral of Oviedo, and others which will be described farther on, will give a good idea of the manufacture of jewels of this period. Among the relics which are kept in the shrine called the Camara Santa, at Oviedo, are two most interesting gold processional crosses studded with stones, which are known by the names of Cruz de los Angeles, and Cruz de la Victoria or de Pelayo. The Cruz de los Angeles is 16½ inches high, by 16 inches wide, it is covered at the back with an ornamentation in fine filigree work, set with different stones. In the front are five medallions, and an inscription in the vacant spaces. Among the gems there is a good cameo, and seven engraved stones in the Gnostic style. (Consult "Monumentos Arquitectonicos de España, Camara Santa"). The inscription on this cross shows us that it was made, A.D. 808.
"Susceptum placide maneat hoc in honore Dei
Offeret Adefonsus humilis servus Xpi
Hoc signo tuetur pius
Hoc signo vincitur inimicus
Quisquis auferre presumpserit mihi
Fulmine divino intereat ipse
Nisi libens ubi voluntas dederit mea
Hoc opus perfectum est in Era DCCCXLVI."
The cross of Victory is supposed to have been the same wooden one borne by Don Pelayo when he began, early in the 8th century, his struggles against the Mahomedan invasion, it was decorated in the next century with gold platings and precious stones. It is 36 inches high by 28½ inches wide; the ornamentation is similar to the former one, and in the vacant spaces at the back appears the following inscription, by which we learn it was made at the Castle of Gauzon, Asturias, A.D. 828.
"Susceptum placide maneat hoc in honore Dei, quod offerent
Famuli Christi Adefonsus princeps et Scemæna Regina
Quisquis auferre hoc donoria nostra presumpserit
Fulmine divino intereat ipse
Hoc opus perfectum et concessum est
Santo Salvatori Oventense sedis
Hoc signo tuetur pius, hoc vincitur inimicus
Et opera us est in castello Gauzon anno regni nostri.
XLII. discurrente Era DCCCLXVI."
Another most interesting object at this shrine is Don Fruela's casket, which is ornamented with agates set in gold, and is similar in style. The inscription, which appears outside, gives the date A.D. 910.
"Operatum est Era DCCCCXLVIII."
A diptych which belongs to the same shrine may also be mentioned. It was given by Bishop Don Gonzalo, who was bishop of Oviedo from A.D. 1162 to 1175. Round it are the words—Gundisalvus Episcopus me jussit fieri. This diptych is 5 inches long by 7 wide: it is ornamented with ivory figures, stones, crystals and engraved gems. Although I do not consider it to be of Spanish workmanship, it is necessary to mention the splendid Arca Santa, in which it is believed many of the relics were taken to Oviedo. It is covered with silver plates, with repoussé and chiselled work representing different religious subjects: the Crucifixion, Our Lord surrounded by the attributes of the Evangelists, saints, apostles, angels, and a fine ornamental border with letters, imitating Cufic inscriptions. This splendid casket is 3 feet 9½ inches long, by 3 and 3½ wide, and 28½ inches high, and appears to have been made between the 10th and 12th centuries. The figures are similar in style to the paintings and sculpture of this period, and it is highly probable that it may have been the work of Italian artists. The Cufic inscription is illegible, and is interrupted in the angles by the symbols of the Evangelists. This style of simulated inscriptions was frequently used by Italian artists.
A cross of the same style as those already described exists at the cathedral of Santiago. It is made of wood covered with gold platings and precious stones; some of these are old intagli, which are set in delicate filigree work. Round it runs a long inscription, from which it appears that it was a present from Adefonsus Princeps cum conjuge Scemena Regina, and that it was made in Era DCCCCA. Duodecima; A.D. 874. The number of gems which have reached us, after so many centuries of ruin, the similarity of the different specimens, and the statement which appears on the cross of King Pelayo, that it was made at the castle of Gauzon, prove that the goldsmith's industry had attained great importance in Spain during this period.
By studying the different objects of silver and gold work which still exist in Spanish churches, we can form a good idea of the historical progress of this industry in the following centuries of the Middle Ages; but before we do so, it is well to make some observations upon objects of orfèvrerie, the work of the Moors. There is a constant connection between these objects and those made of ivory: the same characteristics exist which I shall hereafter point out as appearing in Moorish ivory carvings. The art of ivory carving was imported from the East, the subjects are much alike in ivory and metal when men and animals are represented, and the inscriptions and bands of ornamentation are similar in style. The main variations consist in the different systems employed in metal work, by which the work differs according to the proceedings adopted, of repoussé or chiselling, filigree, niellos or enamels.
A fine Casket belongs to this kind of oriental work which still may be seen on the high altar of the cathedral of Gerona, Spain. This casket is 15 inches long by 9 wide and 10½ high. It is made in the usual manner of wood covered with silver gilt platings with a heavy repoussé ornamentation of leaves enclosed within circles of pearls. Round the rim of the cover runs the following Cufic inscription:
"In the name of God. The blessing of God and happiness and prosperity and permanent joy for the servant of God, Alhakem Emir Amumenin Almostanser Billah, because he ordered this casket to be made for Abdul walid Hischem, heir to the throne of the Muslims. It was finished by the hands of Hudzen Ibn Bothla."
Alhakem reigned in Spain from A.D. 961 to 976, in which year he was succeeded by his son Hischem II. This casket belongs, therefore, to this period, and is especially interesting as giving the artist's name. Two other silver Arabian caskets may be seen at the Archæological Museum, Madrid, which were formerly at the shrine of San Isidoro of Leon, but they possess less artistic interest than the casket at Gerona. One of these is elliptical in form; it is ornamented with a good design of leaves and tendrils, and Cufic inscription; the whole of the casket is enamelled in black. The ornamentation belongs to the 12th century. The inscription only mentions the owner's name, Abdo Shakir. The other casket is silver-gilt, square in form, and rather poorly ornamented. The two Cufic inscriptions which surround it are laudatory. At the cathedral of Oviedo there is another silver casket with a laudatory inscription and medallions with figures, in which from very early times, the remains of Sta. Eulalia have been kept. I suspect that this casket and the former one are not of Spanish Arab workmanship, for besides the circumstance that their inscriptions can be applied to any owner, their ornamentation is unlike others of the same kind. In the first casket it is insignificant, but on the shrine of Sta. Eulalia the background of the medallions is covered with an imbricated pattern which I have never seen repeated on any Arab or Moorish example in Spain. It is highly probable that they were productions of Oriental industry and were imported commercially.
Several specimens of the 14th and 15th centuries, the last period of the Moorish domination, exist in Spain. They consist of jewels and sword handles. The most interesting trinkets are a bracelet and fragments of a necklace and earrings which are at the Archæological Museum, Madrid. They are made of gold, covered with a geometrical repoussé ornamentation, and a delicate filigree pattern. There are specimens also at the Kensington Museum, Nos. 1455 to 1447, 70, consisting of a bracelet, silver-gilt, formed of seven alternate oval and rectangular plaques, with impressed pattern and applied filigree and bossed ornament, and earrings made of gold, formed of clusters of united circles and lozenges with filigree bosses. Other jewels of less importance are known to exist, consisting of bracelets, amulets, earrings, and rings, mostly made of silver niello-work, these are ornamented with geometrical patterns and inscriptions of little importance.
Moorish arms are most artistic; they are fully described in the article Arms. The most important specimens are in the Royal Armoury, and noble house of Villaseca, Madrid; another fine example of a similar style is at the Generalife of Granada. The hilt and settings of the sheath are of solid silver, gilt, and covered with geometrical patterns ornamented in high relief, parts of which are filled with translucid cloisonné enamel. In some instances the hilt is made of ivory. It is impossible (see plate on p. 85) to find anything more beautiful than the ornamentation of these swords, or greater perfection in every detail. It is evident, therefore, that this industry had reached a very high grade of perfection at Granada in the second part of the 15th century. The sword now in the possession of the Villaseca family belonged to Boabdil, the last Moorish king; the one at Granada to one of Boabdil's nearest relations.
In continuing our description of Christian silver-work in the 11th and 12th centuries, we meet with two historical chalices of the highest interest. One was made by the order of Saint Domingo de Silos [A.D. 1045-1074] when abbot of this church. This chalice still exists there, with the following inscription:—
In nomine Domini ob honorem Sci Sebastiani Dominico abbas fecit.
It is ornamented with fine filigree work, forming zones and horse-shoe arches, in a similar style to that of the silversmiths' work of Asturias, which has never been completely abandoned in Spain. The author of the life of this saint, Fr. Juan de Castro, Madrid 1688, says, p. 297, that he does not consider it was ever used for the sacrifice of the mass, owing to its great height [13 inches]. The other chalice might have been seen until very lately at San Isidoro, Leon; it has been temporarily concealed owing to political disturbances. The cup and foot are of agate, probably specimens of the classic period; the mounting, which dates from the time of Dna. Urraca, is studded with a profusion of precious stones and pastes. Some of the gems of the chalice and paten are antiques.[A] In the centre of the paten is set a splendid flat onyx. Round the lower part runs the following inscription:—
+ In nomine Dn̄i Urraca Fredin̄ādi.
[A] For further details of this interesting work of art, see "Monumentos Arquitectonicos de España," in which a good reproduction is given.
Dona Urraca, who was a sister of Alfonso VI., and was generally called Urraca Fernandez, bestowed many important gifts on the church of San Isidoro. She died A.D. 1101. Another interesting chalice of the same period, although not of the same importance as those just named, belongs to Cardinal Moreno, archbishop of Toledo. Round the stem are represented the emblems of the Evangelists, and the inscription: Pelagius abbas me fecit; this formula appears so frequently that it must be understood in the sense of fecit fieri, ordered to be made.
The Santo Caliz at Valencia has been traditionally held as the cup used by Our Saviour at the Last Supper. This chalice consists of a circular cup hollowed out from a fine brown sardonyx which is tastefully moulded round the lip. The base is formed of another inverted sardonyx. These are united by straps of pure gold. The stem is flanked by handles, which are inlaid with delicate arabesque in black enamel. Oriental pearls are set round the base and stem, which alternate with rubies, sapphires and emeralds. This chalice is a work of the Roman imperial epoch, and the mounts are of a later date. Other specimens of jewellers' work of the Roman period might be mentioned which exist in Spain, but I do not find sufficient evidence to justify the opinion that they were made in that country. I consider those that I have described to be of Spanish origin, for they keep to the same technical modes of workmanship as the jewel work of Asturias, and the inscriptions which appear on them refer to historical personages. It would be difficult, considering all things, to suppose they were imported.
ONE LEAF OF TRIPTYCH IN CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE.
We can mention in the thirteenth century a specimen of Spanish silversmiths' work which illustrates the transition to the new style, and the progress in the design of the figures owing to the Italian Renaissance—I refer to the interesting triptych at the Cathedral of Seville, known as the "Tablas Alfonsinas," made by the order of Don Alfonso el Sabio for holding relics. It is of wood, covered inside and out with silver-gilt plates; it is 22 inches high by 39 wide when its three leaves are open (the woodcut opposite represents the outside of left leaf), and is divided inside into fifteen compartments full of minute ornamentation, among which are set a large number of capsules covered with rock crystal containing relics, each one with an inscription of enamelled gold, cloisonné. Several good cameos with sacred subjects appear near the edge of the side leaves. The outside of this triptych is decorated with twelve medallions containing the arms of Castile and Aragon, and forty-eight others in which are repeated alternately the subjects of the Adoration of the Magi and Annunciation of the Virgin, which are also repoussé. In the centres are eagles, which Sr. Rios supposes to allude to Don Alonso's claim to be crowned Emperor, in which case it was made in the year 1274. (See Mus. esp. de Antig., vol. ii. p. 83.) The ornamentation which surrounds the panels belongs to the 16th century. Sr. Rios suggests that the possible or probable author of this interesting object of silversmith work was Maestro Jorge, a silversmith of Toledo, who is praised by Don Alonso in his Cantigas—he also mentions the names of Don Lorenzo and Don Niculas as silversmiths of Seville who worked in this period.
The most important example of Spanish silversmith's work of the 14th century is the Retablo and Baldaquino of the cathedral of Gerona. Mr. Street, in his Gothic Arch. in Spain, p. 326, describes this work of art in the following manner: "The Retablo is of wood entirely covered with silver plates, and divided vertically into three series of niches and canopies: each division has a subject, and a good deal of enamelling is introduced in various parts of the canopies and grounds of the panels. Each panel has a cinque-foiled arch with a crocketed gablet and pinnacles on either side. The straight line of the top is broken by three niches, which rise in the centre and at either end. In the centre is the Blessed Virgin with our Lord; on the right San Narcisso; and on the left St. Filia. The three tiers of subjects contain figures of saints, subjects from the life of the Blessed Virgin, and subjects from the life of our Lord."
At the base of this Retablo may be read the words—Pere Bernec me feu—Peter Bernec made me. Bernec was a silversmith of Valencia, and in another document he was called Barners. It has been supposed that two other contemporary silversmiths, whose names appear in papers of the cathedral, worked also at the Retablo. Their names were Raimundo Andreu, and Master Bartolomé. Formerly in front of this altar there was a magnificent silver and gold frontal studded with stones, a fine work of the 11th century—which was unfortunately carried off by the French in their invasion of the Peninsula early in the present century, and was probably with other innumerable priceless treasures melted by them. See further details in "Viage Literario de Villanueva," vol. xii. p. 180.
In the Sala Capitular of the Cathedral of Gerona there are three splendid processional crosses belonging to the 15th and 16th centuries; one of them is of enamelled gold, and is undoubtedly one of the most artistic works of the kind in Spain.
Among Spanish art treasures of the 15th century of a historical style must be mentioned the splendid silver throne of king Don Martin de Aragon, d. 1410, still existing in the cathedral of Barcelona; it is covered with chiselled ornamentation, and a band of velvet embroidered with gold and completely studded with precious stones. This throne is carried in the procession of Corpus Christi. The monstrance, a splendid work of art in the Gothic style, ornamented with delicate pinnacles and jewel work, is placed on a fine silver foot and carried on this day in front of this throne. This monstrance is covered also with jewels of great value which almost conceal it, the gifts of royal personages. The fine Gothic silver-gilt cross must also be mentioned, known at Toledo by the name of Guion de Mendoza; it was borne before the great Cardinal Mendoza, and was the first cross placed on the highest point of the Alhambra Torre de la Vela on the day of the conquest, 2nd January, 1492.
The following woodcut represents a processional cross of Spanish work of the beginning of the 15th century, in the South Kensington Museum, No. 514-'73. It is of wood covered with plates of silver-gilt repoussé work. On one side is a rood with the Virgin and St. John. Over the figure of Christ is the word Inri. At the extremities angels in high relief bear the emblems of the Passion. On each side of the figure of Christ are plaques of translucent enamel representing the penitent and impenitent thief, at the foot of the cross the Resurrection and Adoration of the Magi, and above the figure of Christ the Nativity.
SPANISH PROCESSIONAL CROSS. SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM.
At the back there is a figure in high relief of the Almighty; in the four extremities the emblems of the Evangelists in high relief and enamelled plaques representing the Annunciation, Flight into Egypt, Christ's descent into Hades.
This cross, which is three feet in height, is marked in several places with the name of
A large number of images exist in Spain belonging to this period, and even to an earlier date, chiefly consisting of images of the Blessed Virgin; their garments are formed of silver platings, chiselled and repoussé in the traditional Byzantine style. Among the most remarkable may be mentioned those preserved in the cathedrals of Seville, Pamplona and Astorga. The following document undoubtedly alludes to one of these figures. It is dated 12th May, 1367:—
"I Sancho Martinez Orebse, silversmith, native of Seville, inform you, the dean and chapter of the church of Seville, that it was agreed I should make an image of Saint 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."
Notwithstanding the poverty of the Spanish monarchs, their personal ornaments were rich and splendid. We find in "Memorials of Henry the VIIth," edited by Gairdner, an interesting description by Machado, the herald or king-of-arms of Henry VII., of the embassy sent to Spain in 1489, to ask for the hand of the Princess Catharine for the Prince of Wales. The account he gives us of the jewels worn by Queen Isabel la Catolica is most interesting. They varied at every interview. In one of these she wore "a line of trimming composed of oblong bosses, of gold, each decorated with fine and valuable jewels, so rich that no one has ever seen the like. She wore round her waist a girdle of leather made in a man's style; the pouch was decorated with a large balass ruby, the size of a tennis ball, between five rich diamonds and other stones, the size of a bean. The rest of the girdle was decorated with other precious stones. Round her neck she wore a rich gold necklace composed of white and red roses, adorned with jewels. Two ribbons were suspended from her breast adorned with diamonds, balass and other rubies, pearls, and other jewels of great value to the number of a hundred or more" (p. 341.)
"After the King came the Queen, mounted on a fine mule, and all the harness of the said mule was adorned with pearls and other precious stones. She was dressed in a robe of a rich woven cloth of gold made in the fashion of the kingdom, and over that a mantilla all spangled with lozenges of crimson and black velvet, and on each lozenge was a large pearl. And with each of these pearls was a rich balass ruby the size of a beech nut, the richest thing that could be seen, no man ever saw anything equal to it. She had on her neck a large necklace, adorned with large diamonds, balass rubies, carbuncles, large pearls, and a great number of other rich precious stones. She had upon her head-dress two balass rubies as pendants, the size of a pigeon's egg, and at the end of the said rubies a large pearl, which jewel was supposed to be worth 12,000 crowns" (p. 348.)
In the specimens described belonging to the Visigothic period, and many others to which we might refer, we find constant similarity in form with silversmith's work of other European countries. It is true that we occasionally meet with Moorish orfèvrerie, and some details, such as filigree work, due to oriental influence; but in general Byzantine, Roman, and Gothic styles were adopted and copied in Spain; and the technical details were the same with those followed in other countries, with the exception of champlevé enamel, which appears to have been almost exclusively used at Limoges in the middle ages. It is interesting, however, and worthy of remark, that important objects are also found in Spain decorated with champlevé enamel, such as the splendid altars of San Miguel in Excelsis (Navarre), and Santo Domingo de Silos (Rioja), and the image of the Virgin de la Vega at San Esteban (Salamanca), three specimens of the greatest importance.
In the Renaissance period, Spanish orfèvrerie enters into its most brilliant epoch, not only on account of the beauty of the form of the objects produced, but also owing to its great richness. Among objects of this period the most important are the Custodias or monstrances of the cathedrals; these are exclusively peculiar to Spanish art. The almost incalculable quantity of silver-work produced at this period is accounted for by the reconquest of the Peninsula from the Moors, the discovery and possession of America, and other circumstances which increased the power and wealth of Spain, and elevated the country to great importance.
We find frequent mention at this time of silversmiths, many of whom came from Germany, France, or Italy, attracted by the large number of works ordered. Many settled in Spain, such as Enrique de Arphe, Jacome Trezzo, Mateo Aleman, Hans Belta, and others. The Spaniards who joined them were greater in number, and not inferior in merit. Silversmiths were already at that time divided into different groups, according to the technical proceedings which each one adopted: plateros de la plata, workers in silver, was the name given to those who worked exclusively in repoussé and chiselled work, and imitated sculpture and architectural models; goldsmiths, those who worked jewels with stones, enamels, and niello-work. Even within these groups were workers in filigree, and those who decorated different objects with painted or mosaic work, atauxia, in the Moorish style. Almost all the most important Spanish towns were large centres of these industries. Leon, Burgos, Valladolid, Cuenca, Toledo, Cordova, and Seville rivalled each other in the number and quality of their productions. The Venetian ambassador, Navagiero, who visited Valladolid in 1527, says, "Sono in Valladolid assai artefici di ogni sorte, e se vi lavora benissimo di tutti le arti, e sopra tutto d' argenti, e vi son tanti argenten quanti non sono in due altri terre, le prime di Spagna" ("Il Viaggio di Spagna," Vinegia, 1563, p. 35.)
In order to complete the study of this subject, it is necessary, besides, to give some notice of the legal dispositions contained in the Municipal Ordinances and in other laws of a more general character.
In Capmany's "Memorias," vol. i., part 3, p. 88, are to be found several statutes concerning the silversmiths of Barcelona from the 14th century, proving the importance of this guild in 1301. At this period three of its members formed part of the town Council. The introduction of a statute of 1489 proves the excellence of the works which they made. "Experience having shown us in past times, and proof existing at the present time, that such clever silversmiths have existed and exist at Barcelona that their works are highly reputed by kings and great people, and held in great honour and estimation in the town itself." The Silversmiths' guild still preserve the folio volumes full of drawings, and the description of the different objects which they presented for the approbation of the jury, during the 16th and 17th centuries. The designs contained in these volumes constitute a most interesting collection of jewels, giving a good idea of the great height of this industry in Barcelona.
Baron C. H. Davillier is about to publish a volume on Spanish silversmiths, in which etchings of several of these designs will be reproduced. In the list of artists which follows I give the names of the most remarkable of those who worked at Barcelona.
In the Municipal Ordinances of Toledo of the year 1494, some laws relating to silversmiths appeared; they are, however, uninteresting. The same thing occurs with the Ordinances of Seville, which were re-compiled in 1526. The guild of silversmiths of Toledo must have been most important, for in 1423 they already formed a brotherhood or guild under the protection of St. Eloy, in which they agreed to help the members of the guild in every way. See "Documentos Ineditos," published by Zarco del Valle, p. 166. The Ordinances of Granada enter more into details concerning the technical proceedings of silversmith's work. These Ordinances appeared in 1538; the work in the Moorish style is described in full detail; it appears to have been preserved in this locality more than elsewhere.
We can judge of the enormous quantities of objects which were made by those still to be seen in Spanish cathedrals and churches, having survived the French invasion of the present century. For full details of the barbarous treatment of these works of art during the French invasion, see Ford's "Handbook of Spain." The expropriations of the Spanish government during the civil wars of 1833 to 1840, and the injudicious law of expropriations of 1869 for the purpose of collecting artistic objects, have brought about the destruction and disappearance of numberless works of art in order not to give them up to the government.
The same splendour and abundance of silver objects of every kind existed in the royal palaces and houses of the grandees. Madame d'Aunoy in her "Voyage en Espagne, Lyon, 1643," p. 109, says: "L'on ne se sert point de vaisselle d'étain, celle d'argent ou de terre sont les seules qui soient en usage. Le duc d'Alburquerque est mort, il y a déjà quelque tems; l'on m'a dit que l'on avoit employé six semaines à écrire sa vaisselle d'or et d'argent. Il y avoit 1400 douzaines d'assiettes, 500 grands plats, et 700 petits, tout le reste à proportion, et 40 échelles d'argent pour monter au haut de son buffet, qui étoit par gradins comme un autel placé dans une grande salle." The splendid silver table belonging to the Marquis of Villaseca at Madrid gives a good idea of the furniture of this time. In the Inventories, a great number of which exist, we find numerous details of silver objects of every kind. In one which was drawn up in 1574, of the effects of Princess Da Juana (MS. folio, Acad. de la Historia), the sister of Philip II., we find mention, without counting the jewels, of a silver balustrade, weighing 121 pounds, to be placed round the bed. The greater part of the kitchen utensils were also made of silver.
Among the most important objects of Spanish silversmith work are undoubtedly, as I have said before, the custodias.