Wentzel Jamnitzer, Nuremberg, 1570
Cast lead, height 2 cm, width 8.2 cm
Goldsmiths' models of cast lead were made not only for jewellery, but also for the production of precious ornament and various kinds of setting or mount. Great effect could be achieved for small outlay by piecing together components. This frieze is a good example. Cast in silver, it was used in multiple repetitions around the casing of the reliquary of St Victor, dated 1570, in the Discalced convent, the Decalzas Reales, in Madrid. It was made by the famous Nuremberg goldsmith Wentzel Jamnitzer (1508-1585), and is a miniaturised, but precise, rendition of antique architectural forms: it is a Doric entablature with triglyphs between metopes where paterae alternate with bucrania (ox skulls). A moulding with an egg and dart enrichment forms the upper border. The Museum owns a number of other models that were used as casts for the decoration of the St Victor shrine.