This is an astonishing 18th century monastery work. It originates from the south of France and dates towards 1790. This type of reliquary is monastery work in which bits of old books and paint were used to create a rich and extravagant paperolle design.
The amount of paperolle scrolls, which fill the entire field of the design, is astonishing. Each small it of paper has been hand painted with rich colors of blue and red with an accent of gilt on the top edge. It has been worked on top of a background of copper foil paper which adds a rich glow to the design. The center medallion is a tiny 18th century engraving which would have been gleaned from and old book. The artist has carefully hand painted the design with the same colors as the paperolles. Gilt accents embellish the robes. The Saint (perhaps Sainte Agnes?) stands outside a stone chapel. There is a lovely perspective view of sky and tall trees behind her.
The wooden frame is joined at the corners with tiny nails (a bit later than the paperolle design, towards 1820). The inner portion and front edges have been gilt leafed; the sides are painted with pale yellow paint. The back is covered with 18th century painted paper in pink and white. A rectangular hand painted paper in white is set at the center back. There is a ring mounted to a ribbon at the top for hanging.
It is in very good antique condition: the paperolle design is intact and retains its brilliant colors. The frame is solid and the gilt leaf shimmering. The paper has slight wear but is in very good shape for it's age. The glass shows no chips or cracks. It measures: 6 5/8" x 4 3/4" x 3/4" thick. The interior design field measures 5" x 3 3/8".
It is a rare work of quality and mastery in paperolle religious art,
Exquisite Antique 18th Century French Paperolle Reliquary with Hand Colored Engraved Medallion