Rare Early Christian Carolingian Frankish Fragment of a Dedicatory Limestone Relief Plaque


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Object Description

A Rare Early Christian Carolingian Frankish Fragment of a Dedicatory Limestone Relief Plaque a Latin inscription to the edge reading: ‘….. Cavit Fieri Ista Opera Indignos Peccat (Or)…..’ ‘This Unworthy Sinner (Has Made Sure) That This Work Has Been Done’
8th – 9th Century AD

Size: 41.5cm high, 98cm wide, 11cm deep – 16¼ ins high, 38½ ins wide, 4¼ ins deep / 47cm high – 18½ ins high (with base)

Object History

Ex Private French collection Marquis François de Ripert-Monclar (1844-1921) Allemagne-en-Provence.
Acquired from an Antiquarian who found the Relief being used in a stairway of the old St-Pierre Hospital in Carpentras. The Marquis de Ripert-Monclar was a well travelled diplomat and passionate collector of antiquities and ethnography. He was a pioneer of amateur photography in the 19th century and an archive of his work is in the collection of the Musée de Salagon, Provence, which includes a photograph of this relief. The estate was dispersed 1936-1940 after the death of his widow.
Ex American Private collection, Texas, acquired in France
Ex Irish Private collection
Published: M.Buis ‘Note Sur Une Dalle Carolingienne De Carpentras’ in Archeologie Du Midi Medieval Vol 13, 1995 pg. 239-242
L.H.Labande ‘Inscription Gravée Autour D’Une Pierre A Entrelacs Provenant De Carpentras’ In Comptes Rendus Des Séances De L’Academie Des Inscriptions Et Belles-Lettres Volume 55,1911 pg. 588-595
See: Finch & Co catalogue no. 22, item no. 28, for another Carolingian Relief fragment

cf: M.Buis ‘La Sculpture A Entrelacs Carolingienne Dans La Sud-Est De La France’ Aix-En-Provence 1975 Vol I, pg. 226-232

Object Literature

This type of interwoven decoration is a recurring motif in Carolingian art found in South East France which was part of the empire created by the great Charlemagne, King of the Franks (768-814), who in alliance with the Pope extended his dominion over Germany and Italy. He created an empire by conquering and Christianising the Saxon, Lombards and Avars, and by restoring areas of Italy to the Pope. His coronation by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day 800AD is taken as having inaugurated the Holy Roman Empire (800-814). He gave government a new moral drive and religious responsibility, and encouraged commerce and agriculture. A well-educated man he promoted the arts and education and under Alcuin his principal court at Aachen became a major centre of learning. The political cohesion of his empire did not last, but the influence of his scholars persisted in the Carolingian Renaissance.

Object Details

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