UNKNOWN GOLDSMITH, Bohemian
(active 1590s in Prague)

Cover of the Gospels of Henry the Lion

1594
Silverwork, 340 x 255 mm
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich

The Gospels of Henry the Lion (Evangeliar Heinrichs des Löwen) was illuminated at Helmarshausen Abbey for Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony (1142-1195), cousin of Frederick Barbarossa.

The manuscript went to Prague in the late fourteenth century in the reign of Emperor Charles IV, where in 1594 it was given a new cover, commissioned by the dean of the cathedral, Georg Barthold Pontanus von Breitenberg. This is decorated with silver reliefs of the four evangelists and a crystal box containing relics of St Mark and the saintly King Sigismund.