©Victoria and Albert Museum

The Becket Casket, c.1190

Victoria and Albert Museum

Casket, probably made to house the relics of St Thomas Becket. Gilt copper and champlev‚ enamel on a wooden core. Made in South Western France ( Limoges)

The scene of Becket's martyrdom is shown on the front of the casket. On the sloping roof is the burial of St Thomas and the ascent to heaven of his soul. On the back are four saints, or possibly personifications of the Cardinal Virtues and at one end is Christ in Majesty seated on a rainbow. The door on the other end is missing as is the floor of the casket and it's contents.

Purchase assisted in 1996 by the National Art Collections Fund.

The National Art Collections Fund (The Art Fund) is the UK's leading art charity. It has 100,000 members, and in 2000 offered £4.4 million to museums and galleries across the country for the purchase of works of art. The money is raised from membership subscriptions, donations and legacies; the Art Fund is independent of Government and receives no public funding. Visit the charity's website at www.artfund.org