8
8
French, Limoges, second half 13th century
PROCESSIONAL CROSS
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
8
French, Limoges, second half 13th century
PROCESSIONAL CROSS
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art Including Highlights from the Reinhold Hofstätter Collection

|
London

French, Limoges, second half 13th century
PROCESSIONAL CROSS
gilt and partially champlevé enamelled copper on a wood core, set with a variety of quartz and glass cabochons
37.5 by 24.5cm., 14¾ by 9 5/8 in.
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Catalogue Note

This impressive processional cross is richly set with cabochons to the front, intricate enamel plaques to the reverse, and covered in gilt copper repoussée stamped with flowers. The figure of Christ, with His slightly tilted head, inset eyes, and s-shaped curve of the body exudes a pathos which is not seen in some of the more rigid, earlier Limoges corpora. 

Comparable processional crosses were sold at Sotheby's New York and London in 2008, with the London cross providing a particularly appealing example. Notably the reverse, with its decorative plaques of the evangelists on the terminals and its diamond-shaped enamelled plaques decorated with gilt stars, compares very closely. 

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, several art historians attempted to establish stylistic links between different types of medieval Limoges enamel, in order to determine their chronology and perhaps group them within different workshops. Stohlman (op. cit.) assembled one group which he termed the 'star group' of enamels, called after the stars engraved into the copper at the front, and was further characterised by the glass cabochons, appliqué figures and enamelled plaques of stars. The crosses he saw as part of this group were further distinguished by the Christ in Majesty and plaques with the Evangelists to the reverse. The present cross therefore would easily fall within these stylistic parameters. Other Limoges processional crosses that have been classed as belonging to this group are in the Musée de Cluny, Paris (inv. no. 985) and in the Musée Mathon-Durand in Neufchâtel-en-Bray (Stohlman, op. cit.,  no. 11). Also part of this group are a chasse with scenes of Christ's Childhood in the National Museum in Copenhagen (inv. no. 9109 3e 101), and a reliquary with Saint Francis of Assisi in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 4083). Interestingly, this reliquary might be one of the few items within this stylistic group which could provide us with a date: Saint Francis was not canonised until 1228, when his iconography and cult started to spread. Therefore, 1228 can be taken as the terminus post quem: the date after which it had to have been made. However, since it cannot be be assumed that this was also the first item in this group, it unfortunately does not allow the present cross to be dated more accurately. Furthermore, although Stohlman did provide a useful grouping of these items, his conclusions have not generally been accepted by later art historians. 

RELATED LITERATURE
E. Rupin, L’Oevre de Limoges, Paris, 1890, pp. 286-287; W. F. Stohlman, 'The Star Group of Champlevé Enamels and its Connections', The Art Bulletin, 1950; P. Thoby, Les Croix Limousines de la Fin du XIIe Siècle au Début dus XIVe Siècle, 1953, nos 29-36; M. Gauthier, 'La croix émaillée de Bonneval au musée de Cluny', Revue du Louvre 4, 1978

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art Including Highlights from the Reinhold Hofstätter Collection

|
London