This stunning pair would have been worn by a life sized Madonna and Christ Child. They date from the period of Napoleon III and originate from a life-long religious collection (Parisian). We sell these as a pair for one price.
The period of Napoleon III (towards 1860) saw extravagant heavily gilded work. Delicate design details taken from ancient Greece was incorporated into small accessories and furniture. Religious ornamentation followed suit and magnificent examples were produced by professional atelier workshops.
A pair of matching crowns would have been custom ordered from such an atelier, most likely as a gift from a wealthy parishioner for particular statues (this practice still exists today). The pair is identical and an end product of many hours of work.
The crowns are cast in a mix of bronze and brass which gives them a brilliant patina and a very sturdy form. The bottom bands are set with clear stones. Above this the wide front faces are enthusiastically filled with cascades of arabesques, flowers, acanthus leaves and scrolls, giving a lace-like effect to the metal work. Large stones of green and red are set into this design with clear glass stones sprinkled amongst the lacework design. There are seven stars on each crown which gradate in size from the middle (large crown central star 2" tall going down to last star 3/4" tall: small crown central star to 3/4") Each star is bezel set with a faceted clear glass stone. Between the stars are clear glass stones in a "half fleur de lis" design; the space beneath the stars is filled by glass stones (large) and single red stone (small).
The large crown measures: 5" tall at the center, diameter at band 5" circumference 19 1/4". The back band has 5 notches for adjustment. The small crown measures 3 3/4" tall, 4" diameter at the bottom and 13 1/2" circumference. It has 4 notches of adjustment. They are in amazing condition for their age ....some odd slight bends in the metal construction as is typical with this type of crown. Please refer to pictures as they are the best description.
In the 1940's churches were ordered to remove any "unnecessary" ornamentation. Crowns, vestments, and decorative accessories were unceremoniously removed only to find their way in antique markets of the period. As time passes less and less of these beautiful items are to be found. To find a matching pair is a rare find indeed. They are special treasures from a period when the sanctuaries were gleaming with gilt.