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204

French, Limoges, mid-13th century

Châsse with Poupées and Saints

Property from a Distinguished Flemish Private Collection

French, Limoges, mid-13th century

French, Limoges, mid-13th century

Châsse with Poupées and Saints

Châsse with Poupées and Saints

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Property from a Distinguished Flemish Private Collection

French, Limoges, mid-13th century

Châsse with Poupées and Saints


partially gilt and champlevé enamelled copper with pastes set en cabochon

with an old label to the interior printed and inscribed: VILLE DE NIMES / ...OSITION DES PRIMITIFS / ÉTÉ 1950 / N8 / Limoges / XIIIe and two further labels to the underside, one inscribed: 8

16.2 by 16.5 by 6.5cm., 6⅜ by 6½ by 2½in. 

Overall the condition is good with some surface dirt and wear consistent with age. Chasses of this type are often composite, and this seems to be the case here, as some of the elements - including the side panels - appear to have been associated from pre-existing objects. However this assemblage is probably medieval and forms a pleasing whole. There is wear to the enamel, including minor pitting and small losses throughout. There are more notable enamel losses around the nails of the right-hand side panel. There is wear to the gilding on the copper, in particular to the framing border panels and to the heads of the applied figures. The proper right eye of the central upper applied figure is lost. There is wear to the glass cabochons, including scratching, and some are slightly loose in their settings. It is possible that some of the cabochons are later replacements. There is wear to the wood interior, consistent with age, including some losses. The locking mechanism is lost.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Nîmes, Exposition des Primitifs, 1950, no. 8
Of precious dimensions, this beautifully preserved reliquary casket is a particularly fine example of the so-called châsses à figures de poupées. These often composite caskets are characterised by appliques in the shape of figures with a toy-like appearance known in France as poupéesChâsses à poupées are usually completely gilt and set with glass cabochons and semi-precious stones to mimic the richly decorated liturgical objects from cathedral treasuries. The construction of many parts probably resulted in many of these caskets being damaged and fitted with parts from other fragmentary objects. Despite their often composite appearance, châsses à poupées were highly rated in the Middle Ages and filled with important relics, as is evident from their presence in the treasure of the Basilica of Saint-Denis. One of these, the châsse de saint Hippolyte (now in the Musée du Louvre, inv. no. MR343) shows a similar arrangement at the front, with poupées and cabochons applied to an engraved gilt ground.

The present châsse is distinguished by its richly coloured decoration on the reverse, with white floral or star shapes that reappear, for example, in a more damaged châsse à poupées in the Cluny Museum, Paris (inv. no. CL981). Its sides depict finely engraved figures of Saints - possibly Saint John and the Virgin - amid attractively coloured floral and geometrical motifs. 

RELATED LITERATURE
L. Jouhaud, ‘Les “châsses de pacotille”’, Bulletin de la Société archéologique et historique du Limousin, LXXXIII, 1949, pp. 48-75; L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age, exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1995, pp. 327-328, no. 113