A stunning, large example in the precious metal of vermeil (gilt over silver), it originates from a small Parisian collection. It dates towards 1870.
While gilded brass sacred heart ex votos were affordable to the average person, the silver and vermeil examples were custom ordered objects. The vermeil examples are the most rare because they were the most expensive.
This exquisite example would have been a thanksgiving gift donated by a wealthy parishioner on the occasion of an answered prayer of healing. It would have been used to ornament large statues or in altar settings. The heart would have been cast in silver at a fine workshop (atelier). A gilt wash was applied over the silver to give a two toned effect to the initials engraved on the face. The engraving on the face is expertly done. The lily branches which flank the central initials are hand tooled with fine, flowing lines which give the textural appearance of real leaves. The two beautiful flowers to the left and right have centers which are heart shaped. The initials, AM (Ave Marie) have fine hand tooled texturing lines. There is a central cross rising from the top of the "A". The flame is small, giving importance to the very size of the Sacred Heart (symbolic). The heart is cast with a distinct right and left chamber with a deep indention at the center and a fine pronounced "point" at the bottom edge (1/2 inch up and down). There is a silver hallmark of the sanglier at the neck, above the top right shoulder.
It measures: 4 3/4" tall, 3 1/8" wide and 1 3/4" thick. It is in very good antique condition: the patina is fabulous, you can see the silver though the engraved initials and there is little wear to the gilt. There are the usual small dimples from age and use, mainly at the back where the heart would have rested against an irregular surface.
It is an exceptional Sacred Heart which is rarely found in today's market. It is an authentic antique and a sacred part of devotional history from the nineteenth century. It is a precious reminder of prayer and faith and miracles.
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