Monday, October 12, 2009



This book represents part of a major work

on the life and times of Sara Coppio Sullam.

This cover, taken from an antique salesman’s Bible Catalogue

was reconstructed together with a spine from the same catalogue.

It was then attached to a matching kid leather handmade back cover.

The reasoning behind this specific cover was not only for the beauty

of the highly detailed gilting


more importantly because the design encompassed a “Magen David”, a Star of David

and a Cross intersecting each other.

This relates to the subject matter in that the lives of Sara, a Jewess

and Anseldo Ceba, a Christian, intersected.

It also alludes to that part of this story whereby Ceba wanted Sullam to convert to Catholicism.

For him, it was the main reason to keep the relationship going.

A great majority of the correspondence and indeed the major part of their relationship was devoted to this issue.

An antique gold Italian frame, slightly altered, houses a 17th century text

(gifted by Judi Riesch) which related to Sara’s plight after being accused of plagiarism.

The gold colour and the circle shape were specifically chosen to represent the forced dress of the Jews at the time for they had to wear a gold circle to identify that they were Jews.

The two red roses signify the platonic relationship that ensued between the

two and the Italian hand shaped nib with the pointed finger sought to

represent not only the fact that both were poets but also that at the end of

their relationship, Sullam had “the finger” pointed at her for plagiarism after

not bending to Ceba’s wishes to convert her.

The text reads:

Thy sting is not so sharp

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not

As friend remembered not

The handwriting is just superb here and perfect for a reliquary
devoted to the subject of their relationship

The lone Magen David at the base of the Bible cover,

speaks to Sara as a Jew,
a lone figure fighting for her rights to stay as such

and fighting for herself, in her own defence against a backdrop of anti-

Semitic vitriol.

Fronts piece: Digitally Altered woodcut,

“The Burning of the Jews”

represents the Inquisition period and all that that encompasses.

Stitched on to black and red velvet some of the colours that represent the Inquisition

It was nailed into the inside cover as people were nailed and tied to the stake.

The reliquary of Anseldo Ceba

sits atop an antique book cover

which has two antique papers attached.

One is a document found in Arezzo years ago. Pertinent for both the date marked above the
reliquary and the hand-drawn cross marked above.

Found in the same salesman’s Bible,
this Psalm of King David,
chosen and placed here
for its pertinence to both parties.

There are so many parallels here to the entire story,

too long to mention here

but it is highly significant on many levels.

This antique book cover was used for a number of reasons here.

There is a certain romanticism to this real life story,

at least at the beginning

and I felt this cover portrayed that feeling.

However ,the colours were significant for red and yellow were the forced colours that Jews had to
wear to identify themselves depending on which country they were in.

The greens and reds were also chosen for as previously mentioned,

They were colours symbolic of the Inquisition.

Pausing here for now, part 2 soon.
Thanks for reading.


azirca said...

You are indeed a gifted story teller. You weave your magic through every single one of your pieces. The thought and research that you impart into each of your works, is truly inspirational.

Jilly Geraghty-Groves said...

Ooooh....I have tears running down my cheeks at this amazing piece of have indeed woven a masterpiece of history. Completely and utterly in awe. Speechless.

Samantha Marshall said...

Judy, these pieces are just amazing- thank you for the sharing this story, too. I love all the symbolism you have used to hightlight the the details.

Gypsy Purple said...

As always, you are my greatest inspiration---absolutely stunning!!!!

Marie-Aimée said...

wow !! these pieces are fantastic !

Robin said...

Thank you for your story... I cannot wait for part 2!! I've had close calls with antique reliquaries recently... so very magical. You inspire me to make my own and tell my stories...

Kim said...

Judy I just love your stories and how your works reflect so much of the detail. I had worked out the significance of the cross and star of David on the covers, (fabulous by the way!!!)but the other details are fascinating. Really looking forward to learning moree about them.

Steph said...

I love your blog, there is always something for the mind, something for the soul, something for the heart and something for the eyes !

Kim Logan said...

Judy, this is such a beautiful story and a wonderful touching piece of work.

Anonymous said...

you, your art, your stories and research never cease to fill me with awe and inspiration. such an amazingly beautiful and touching story behind your tremendous work. can't wait for part 2. :)

Karen Owen said...

Judy, you never cease to amaze me. Not only do you find the strength to illustrate these difficult and horrific stories, you do it beautifully and with unbelievable grace. As a Christian, I never get the sense that you are saying, "Look at what you horrible people did" even though you have every right to. You are truly amazing - and gifted.

ArtPropelled said...

Whenever I visit to look at your work I know I'm in for a treat. Always inspiring!

Leslie said...

Fascinating and beautiful! Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world.

CeCe said...

Your creations are nothing short of amazing. Their beauty is a gift to my spirit. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this is so beautiful!

P.S. You should check out my new blog:
red is | . . . |

JudyK said...

Magnificent Judy! The story sounds so true and the piece..I'm speechless....whewwww

Thank you so much for sharing your art.


Judy said...

Thanks for the lovely comments and
Judy, the story is true.

HeArt Collective said...

Congratulations. The way this piece has come together is stunning. There is so much weight here and your use of actual relics or antiques is what makes the piece so magical yet important. A true story deserves to be told with such care and utter devotion to detail.

Just Stunning.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...


so much magic.

your art is pure alchemy,
as always.
I love what you conjure.

love and blessings your way :)

Poetic Artist said...

Wonderful, Beautiful,Stunning.
Thank you for sharing.

Stéphane Malingue said...

cool selection, cool blog, stéphane of ( if you like mine, share it, leave a comment or...)

MrCachet said...

A great story and a gifted story teller.

annell said...

So beautiful! A Work indeed! Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Defacing religious items in the name of art? Bit much don't you think?