Brass of the Month
April 2008: Jeha(n) Buccilier and his wife, Police, 1494, Toul, France
April's contribution is a French incised slab with some unusual imagery.
Part of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Toul (Meurthe-
On the floor of this vaulted room are six incised slabs, quite likely in their original positions. Five of them are engraved with figures of the deceased and appear to have gone unrecorded in the records of the national database of the ‘Monuments Historiques’. Four of the slabs are to priests who were also Prebendaries of the hospital, so they are depicted in mass vestments and standing under a canopy: (1) Nichole de Granviler, cure of Tantimont, (1403); (2) Nicollez Jaiquet de Granviller (1408); (3) anonymous Master and prebendary of the Hospital (c.1620); (4) Demenge Husson (1625).
The fifth slab, however, is engraved with the effigies of a civilian and wife; on the left hand side the man has long wavy hair and is dressed in a plain, knee-
‘Ci gistent honnestes co(n)joinetz Jeha(n) Buc / cilier et Police sa femme demorans a Toul qui trespassa la dicte Police le vingtieme jour / du mois daoust lan mil quatre cens / quatre vingtz quatorze. Priez Dieu pour eux’. [Here lie together John Bucclier, gentleman, and his wife Police, who lived in Toul, the said Police died the twentieth day of the month of August 1494. Pray to God for them]
The symbolism of this slab is unusual. According to a local guide the six-
The slab (222 x 96cms) is of the ‘calcaire’ typical of the district, and which was extensively used for the production of incised slabs in Toul. In a recent survey of the Cathedral (which is currently undergoing a major restoration) I recorded 78 slabs there, adding a further 35 examples which are in the collegiate church of Saint-
Like most of the slabs at Toul, unfortunately, this example has some surface wear, but sufficient of the detail remains to demonstrate the symbols incorporated into the design – unusual because of their secular rather than religious nature.
Copyright: Paul Cockerham
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Page last updated 06 April 2008