Initials from Choir Books
The intricate designs on the haloes emulate the pioneering punchwork of early-fourteenth-century Sienese artists. Each halo in the Presentation in the Temple displays a different pattern, as does St Laurence’s halo.
The gold backgrounds are not tooled; they were all laid over a thick gesso ground and burnished to a high shine, conveying a three-dimensional impression. Such effect has unfortunately been lost in the two initials which were glued onto cardboard in the 19th century. The individual squares of thin gold leaf, which were carefully laid side by side to form these stunning backgrounds, can be identified in the elemental maps for gold obtained for each of the initials (see layer ‘elemental map Au’).