BYZANTINE, 11TH/ 12TH CENTURY AND LATER | PENDANT RELIQUARY CROSS
Property from a European Private Collection (Lots 1-5)
BYZANTINE, 11TH/ 12TH CENTURY AND LATER
PENDANT RELIQUARY CROSS
gold, set with cabochons and filigree, and cloisonné enamelled gold
the cross: probably Italian, 12th/ 13th century
the roundel with the Virgin (probably associated): Byzantine, 11th/ 12th century
13.2cm., 5¼in. overall (excluding loops)
roundel: 19mm., ¾in. diameter
Overall the condition of the cross is good, with some dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are losses to the enamel of the central roundel, including to the hands, nose, headdress and halo. There are also a few losses to the cellwork of the roundel, notably at the Virgin's proper left shoulder. It is possible that some of the enamel, particularly here, is of a later date. There are a few losses to the filigree of the cross, notably around the enamelled roundel. There is some warping and denting to the gold throughout, and in particular to the plain back section. There is a light layer of dirt to the surface of the cross. There is evidence of soldering and repairs in areas. The front and back of the cross do not sit evenly when the cross is closed. There are a few minor losses to the 'rope' decoration framing the back section of the cross. There is wear to the stones, including a few chips and abrasions, notably to the bottom-most central stone. There are a few spots of dark residue, including below the large stone setting on the right arm of the cross. There is a possibly later metal pin through the loop at the top which holds the front and back sections in place.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Adolphe (1871-1949) and Suzanne Stoclet, Brussels;
thence by descent;
private European collection
Reliquary crosses were made throughout the centuries during the existence of the Byzantine Empire. While the combination of mounted roundels and cabochons is a feature of 11th-century reliquaries from Constantinople (cf. M.C. Ross, op. cit., no. 154), the filigree scrollwork and the central placement of the enamel on a cross only seem to occur on later objects, namely from the Greek and Italian outliers of the empire (see M.C. Ross, op. cit., no. 159 and Cormack and Vassilaki, op. cit., no. 188). There seems to be a particular concentration of such crosses in Italian church treasuries, even though the origin of most of these objects is unclear (Hackenbroch, op. cit., figs. 31-54 and 65-66). The roundel is likely to pre-date the cross and does not quite appear to fit into its setting, indicating that it is probably associated. The reliquary nonetheless represents a rare survival of its kind in private hands.
Y. Hackenbroch, Italienisches Email des frühen Mittelalters, Basel/Leipzig, 1938, pp. 49-66; M.C. Ross, Jewelry, enamels and art of the migration period, cat. The Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, vol. 2, Washington, 1965, pp. 105-106 and 109-110, nos. 154 and 159, pl. LXX and LXXIII; R. Cormack and M. Vassilaki, Byzantium. 330 - 1453, exh. cat. Royal Academy of Art, London, 2008, pp. 220-221 and 426, no. 188