This style of crown is known as the King’s crown or a royal crown. It would have adorned a life sized statue of Jesus. It has provenance from a small collection in Paris and dates towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Crowns, vestments, gilded accessories and other church adornments found their way into the French antique markets as part of a large movement ordered by the Church to reduce the "decadent" pieces from the bourgeoise period in France. These pieces were scattered abroad over all of Europe with some eventually finding their way back to France through diligent collectors. The life size crowns were especially precious, above all the royal crown, as it graced the head of a life sized statue of Christ. In today's market the full size royal crown is impossible to locate. Only through collections are pieces becoming available to purchase.
While in Italy, Belgium and Spain the crowns were being fashioned from silver or silver plate, France stood alone in the production of these extravagantly gilded and jeweled pieces. There is such a wide variety of styles and designs, as each crown was made individually by a particular master craftsman. The use of heavy gilding, extravagant embellishments and glass stones insured that the Santos crown would radiate beams of light across a dimly lit sanctuary.
This very elegant and fine royal crown has a large and impressive appearance. The beautiful form is achieved by five gilded brass filigree panel bands. (Filigree work was popular during the second half of the nineteenth century and was used extensively in the production of fine pieces for the shops of the Palais Royal). Each band is a delicate combination of scrolls, dots, arabesques and circles. Set into each band are both medium and large glass stones. One central cabochon stone in emerald green adds a true regal appearance. There are five small filigree flowers, each with a central emerald glass stone, between the bands. The bottom band which sits atop the statue is is one half inches wide. It is filled by a repeating scroll design and is set with large and medium clear glass/paste stones. At the top is a gilded brass globe which represents the world. Jesus is represented by the gilded brass crucifix signifying His watchfulness over all people. The cross is set with a central emerald glass stone.
The bottom band has three slots for adjustment. It will adjust from 4 3/4” to 5” in diameter. The height to the top of the cross is 6”. The height to the top of the band shoulder is 3 1/4”.
It survives in very good antique condition which is amazing considering the delicate nature of the scroll work. All stones are present. The gilded brass has been cleaned/polished to the original brilliant patina. The crown has the typical irregularities to the metal shape as is consistent with constant use and wear.
This crown truly has a royal air of nobility and importance. It is a magnificent and large filigree example and a precious part of religious ornamentation from nineteenth century France.
European Importer of Authentic 18th and 19th Century Religious Antiques:Division of Paris Chateau
Fine Devotional Antiques: Ex Voto: Sacred Hearts: Santos Crowns: Reliquaries: Sacred Objects: Monastery Work: Religious Art