UNFORTUNATELY very few actual pieces of English metal-work remain from the Romanesque period, so that it is difficult to form an estimate of what originally existed. But records and inventories speak of a large quantity of goldsmiths' work being produced in the principal monastic workshops, and the few isolated examples which remain are of such a high quality that it is safe to conclude that England stood high in this form of art work.
The workshops of the Rhine and Meuse were, as we have seen, famous at this time for their enamels. That their work was known and appreciated in England is proved by the fact that two enamel plaques, in the Mosan style, still exist in the British Museum which were ordered by Henry of Blois for his Cathedral of Winchester, and may have formed part of the shrine of St. Swithin. One of them shows Bishop Henry himself kneeling and presenting a reliquary. They must have been made at Winchester, and quite possibly by an English metal-worker who was familiar with the Mosan style; although some authorities prefer to think that they were the work of a visiting German craftsman. Probably a school of English goldsmiths existed at Winchester, who produced, amongst other things, enamels in emulation of their German contemporaries. At any rate the one surviving example of twelfth-century enamel work which can be safely ascribed to England bears evidence in its style of its Winchester origin.
This is a plaque in the Victoria and Albert Museum, nearly 6 inches high, representing the Last Judgement (fig. 34): it is usually known as the Masters Plaque, from the name of a former owner. The enamel is in the champlevé technique, i.e. the copper ground is hollowed out into cells to receive the