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Grey Matters

Pierre Reymond (ca. 1513 – after 1584)
A pair of Limoges Enamel plates illustrating the months January and April, ca. 1570
painted enamel on copper, grisaille on black background, red and gilt highlights
⌀ 10 inches
⌀ 25.4 cm
This pair of enamel plates is unique in the production of Limoges and no other one from this set is known.


January’s iconography has no precedent in Pierre Reymond’s artworks. If the theme already exists, it is not directly inspired by Etienne Delaune’s engravings figuring Occupations of the Months while these etchings are the main source of inspiration for the Month’s iconography in Limoges. On the back side, the Caesar’s profile is probably inspired by engravings that represent Roman emperors realized by Hubert Goltzius, published in France in 1559, or by the ones made by Marcantonio Raimondi.


The exceptional hunting iconography of April is the second known example of its kind. The first one is a plate, dated around 1560, by Pierre Courteys (fig.1). If some details are different, such as birds in the sky or the four dogs instead of two, the composition is similar.[1] The model of this iconography is unidentified yet. On the back side, the man in profile is comparable to a medallion housed in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Braunschweig Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen in Brunswick (fig.2).[2]

The outer rims

The rims of both plates are comparable to the one of a plate housed in the Wallace Collection (inv. C.583) dated 1577 or later and attributed to Pierre Reymond’s workshop (fig.3).[3] Cornucopias and scrolled foliage as well as the use of gold are similar on our plate. However, the rim of the plate in the Wallace Collection is adorned with putti with flesh tones.


Pierre Reymond’s production extends from 1537 to 1578. The pieces, often dated, reflect a stylistic evolution. In 1540, he uses polychromes enamels in thin layers on a white background. In 1560, there are flesh tones and gold as well as grotesques on the rim, garland, scrollworks and masks on the back side. Around 1575, the enamels become darker.[4] ❖

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Installation view of Grey Matters at Nicholas Hall, 2021
Limoges enamel plate January, Pierre Reymond
Installation view of Grey Matters at Nicholas Hall, 2021
Limoges enamel plate depicting the month of April, Pierre Reymond

Private collection, United States

Private Collection, UK

Sophie Baratte, Les Emaux peints de Limoges, catalogue du musée du Louvre, département des objets d’art, RMN, Paris, 2000.

Irmgard Müsch et al., Maleremails des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts aus Limoges, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Braunschweig Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen, Braunschweig, 2002.

Véronique Notin, La Rencontre des Héros, Limoges, Musée municipal de l’Evêché, 2002.

Monique Blanc et al., Emaux peints de Limoges XVème-XVIIIème siècles, La collection du Musée des Arts décoratifs, Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 2011.

Suzanne Higgott, Catalogue of Glass and Limoges Painted Enamels, The Trustees of The Wallace Collection, London, 2011.

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