Early 16th century Limoges enamel plaque painted with a scene from Virgil’s Aeneid, estimated at €200,000-300,000 at Coutau-Bégarie on May 28. Image copyright: Coutau-Bégarie/Drouot

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It is part of a group of superbly painted plaques executed c.1525-30 by an anonymous Limoges enameller, decorated with highly detailed scenes taken from Virgil’s epic poem, giving the artist the title of ‘Master of the Aeneid’. Many of these are now in major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Louvre.

The 9 x 8in (22.5 x 20cm) plaque, which comes in a 17th century gilt leather and velvet frame, is painted in polychrome enamel on silver foil over copper with gold highlights.

It last appeared on the market in 1892 as part of a group sold in London at the dispersal of the Magnac collection. The item was acquired by the antiques dealer Goldschmidt who sold it to the French collector Jules Porgès. A photo of Porgès’ Paris town house shows the plaque alongside three other examples from the same series. Porgès’ widow sold the other plaques in his collection and many of these have passed into institutional collections but the family retained this example.

The estimate is €200,000-300,000.