Bookbinding depicting Panel of Bishop Baldric card

Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum

Bookbinding depicting Panel of Bishop Baldric

M10037

On display

Carved rectangular panel, an element of the binding of a book. The ivory shows a seated Bishop Baldric, identified by the inscription at the top PIO PRAESVLE / BALLDRICO IVBENTE (translated as by the devour command of Bishop Baldric). The Bishop is flanked by two helmeted figures in the upper register, the figures of Rome and Constantinople with a garland above them. There is no attempt to christianise the figures of the Bishop or the flanking figures. The Bishop is represented as a Roman consul and this kind of representation fits the ideology of Otto III (983-1002) and the imperial court of the first half of the 11th century. In the lower part of the ivory, two figures pouring largesse. The design with the consul and the representation of charity is in the family of consular diptychs from Areobindus (506 AD) to that of Probus Magnus (518 AD) also seen in M10036. It is uncertain which Bishop Baldric is represented: Baldric of Speyer (970-987) or Baldric of Unltecht (918-977). Margaret Gibson suggested Baldric II, Bishop of Liege (1008-18) because Liege was already established from the times of Bishop Notker (969-1008) as a major city in the Empire and a great area of book production and luxury binding. Notker had already commissioned a luxury binding set with an autobiographical ivory panel. The inscription is in the tradition of Sapphic rhymes easily fit into the mileu of Leuge in the first quarter of the 11th century. The back of the ivory has two nails on the upper right edge and two holes on the lower right edge. There are also three lines in ink, 19th century ones and not legible and ending in Baldricus.