A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements

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Lot 5
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire
probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements

£ 10,000 - 15,000
US$ 14,000 - 21,000
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire
probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements
decorated with champlevé enamel against a blue lapis ground, the pitched lid with half length figures of angels engraved on polychrome roundels, the lower section depicting a scene of beheading, probably the martyrdom of St. Valerie, with a checkered back of quatrefoil design within a square, on square feet, 22cm wide, 9.5cm deep, 20.6cm high (8.5in wide, 3.5in deep, 8in high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance :

    Collection du Baron Pichon.
    The Pichon family were significant collectors over a number of generations. Toward the end of the century Baron Jérome Pichon dispersed a fine collection of early medieval jewellery and commemorative medals at auction in Paris 24 April - 1 May 1897(Rollin & Feuardent).


    This châsse depicts most probably the decapitation of St Valerie of Limoges. She was converted to Christianity by Saint Martial and renounced her vow to marry, she was then condemned to death by Stephen, Prefect of Aquitaine, successor of her father. The kneeling St. Valerie is flanked by two armed assailants, one to the left pulling her hair and one to the right raising his sword to decapitate her while Stephen sits, pointing his finger to indicate his judgement.
    There are a few examples of medieval reliquary caskets dedicated to St. Valerie, notably in the Limousin, one can also be seen in the Louvre Museum (inv.OA 774), another in the British Museum (Waddesdon Bequest 19).

    The quatrefoil design within a square to the back of this châsse is similar to both a châsse from the G.Vermeersch Collection, Brussels, offered in the Keir collection, Sotheby's, 20 November 1997 (lot 94), and to the reliquary casket held in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

    Between the 12th and 14th centuries the French town of Limoges established a unique reputation as the centre of manufacture of enamel reliquaries and other religious objects. Reliquaries were produced to contain sacred remains or clothing from saints, religious martyrs and other luminaries.


    Literature:
    - James Robinson, Masterpieces Medieval Art, The British Museum Press, 2008. See pp.96-97.
    - Véronique Notin, Jean-Marc Ferrer, L'art de l'émail à Limoges, 2005.
    - Marie-Madeleine Gauthier, Emaux du moyen age occidental, Paris, 1972.
    - The Keir collection of Medieval Works of Art, Sotheby's New York, 20th November 1997.
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements
A French 13th century style enamel and gilt copper châsse-reliquaire probably 19th century, possibly with earlier elements
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