This is an exquisite double sided banner with two exceptional lithographs of the Enfant Jesus and John the Baptist. It originates from the south of France and dates towards 1890-1910.
Banners such as this were the work of convents. The creator of this banner combined painted ornamentation with exceptionally large chromolithograph images to produce a lavish and regal artistic canvas. The "back" portion features a fantastic hand painted motif of large daisies, arabesques and a central initial (St.JB). The painting is delicate, the work of an experienced artist.The very large chromolithograph (15 1/2" x 10") depicts St. John the Baptist holding a lamb which represents Jesus (the words Agnes Dei--Lamb of God are written on a banner which drapes around St. John's staff). The very detailed chromolithograph would have been ordered through a local printer; it was then coated with a varnish/glue to give protection and stiffness.
The "front" side of the banner bears the image of the Christ Child (15 1/2" x 10"). The chromolithograph received the same protective layer and is outlined with fine gold silk braid. The words "Jesus Ami Des Enfants" is placed on a banner across the bottom. Very large hand painted lilies surround Christ, the work again for a very experienced artist. Fine scalloped gilt metal braid provides an elegant edging for two sides of the banner. The scalloped bottom has metallic boullion fringe measuring 2 1/2" long. The top has gilt metallic boullion fringe measuring 1" long. There is a wooden rod threaded through the top pocket of the banner with a central metal ring for hanging. The side featuring St. John has a 1 1/2" wide band of gilt metal braid at the top.
The entire banner measures: 26" x 19 1/2". It is in good antique condition: there are light water marks on both sides of the white fabric near the painted flower motifs, there is a 1 1/2" hairline split in the lithograph of St. John ( under the "Agnes" part of the ribbon--this could be fixed with a little bit of glue), the metallic fringe and braid is in very good condition for it's advanced age, the painted flowers and motifs are still intact with original hues. The banner hangs properly and is sound condition. Please note that the chromolithographs show through the white background when photographed, the darker shadows that you see on the white are the lithographs from the other side.
This is a rare double sided example and an exceptional work of cloister devotional art.