The Pontifical of Renaud de Bar

Blessing of an Abbess of Nuns

Texts and Images

Three miniatures showing a bishop ordaining an abbess and giving her a book containing the rule for her religious house illustrate this part of the manuscript. In all three miniatures, the crosier entrusted to the abbess is rendered in silver, rather than gold, which was used for the abbot’s crosier and the bishop’s own pastoral staff.

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Detail of the book under magnification (50x), showing the original green layer under silver leaf.

The partial bar border is decorated with foliate motifs. The large initial A was originally decorated with a coat of arms that has been effaced. The silver objects were painted after all other aspects of the decoration had been completed. The book was originally painted green with verdigris (hotspot 1), like the one on fol. 72v. The candlestick and the crosier held by the nun were initially gilded. Silver leaf was then laid over the gold. In all three miniatures in this section (fols. 82v, 89r, 90v), the crosier entrusted to the abbess is rendered in silver, although gold is used for abbots’ and bishops’ crosiers throughout the manuscript. Silver, the less precious metal, was probably used to signal the abbess’ gender and lower status.

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