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    Sale 7433

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    8 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 30

    A GILT-COPPER-MOUNTED ROCK CRYSTAL PENDANT RELIQUARY

    PROBABLY GERMAN, CIRCA 1200

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A GILT-COPPER-MOUNTED ROCK CRYSTAL PENDANT RELIQUARY
    PROBABLY GERMAN, CIRCA 1200
    Of oblong triangular form; with a central cavity and a gilt-copper mount with suspension loop attached to one end, decorated with engraved scrolls and stylised foliate motifs; minor chips; minor wear to gilding; the mount probably later
    7½ in. (19 cm.) high, overall


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    This rock crystal reliquary is notable both for its large size and for its clarity, and would have represented an important commission in the late romanesque period. It relates to a series of cabochon- and cylinder-shaped reliquaries datable to the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries by Hahnloser and Brugger-Koch (op. cit.). Although the present gilt-copper mount is almost certainly a later replacement, it probably follows the function of an earlier one as there is no evidence of other fastening ridges or holes in the stone.
    Although the overall form is broadly similar to other reliquaries, it is unusual in that it is drilled from only one end, suggesting that it was always meant to hang or stand vertically. In this respect it is like the central piece of rock crystal in a 'carriage' reliquary in Orléans, or a reliquary containing the hand of St. Attala (d. 741) in the Magdalenkirche in Strasbourg (Hahnloser, op. cit., nos. 187 and 188).

    Arnold John Hugh Smith worked for Hambro's Bank and was Treasurer of the National Art Collections Fund. He collected in a wide variety of disciplines and, on his death, much of his collection was left to the Tate and Ashmolean Museums.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Arnold John Hugh Smith, Esq. (1881-1964), and by descent to
    Lady Darwin


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF AN ESTATE


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    H. Hahnloser and S. Brugger-Koch, Corpus der Hartensteinschliffe des 12.-15. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1985, nos. 186-197, pls. 163-175.