A beautiful sacred heart, with lovely detailing, it originates from France and dates towards 1880. It was purchased within a small collection just outside of Paris.
It has a pretty outer border in the form of a braided rope. The face of the heart is completely filled by engraved symbolism, The large block work initial, "M", for Mary has a cross "rayonnant" rising above it. Fern leaves and lilies flank either side of the initial. The engraved details enhance the flat fields of the initials and illustrate the veins in the leaves. The flame is deeply grooved, rising from a triple ring band. The heart opens to reveal a chamber ready to guard a heartfelt handwritten request, concern, prayer or thanksgiving.
It has survived in good antique condition: some darkening to the patina typical with age and use, no dents or scratches seen. It opens and closes properly. It measures: 2 1/4" long and 1 1/4" wide.
An authentic, antique example, it is a precious bit of devotional history from the late 19th century. These little hearts at one time surrounded the large statues with in one of the prayer niche in a Catholic Parish. Sadly, in the mid 1940's, all "unnecessary" ornamentation was ordered to be removed from the church....this included these exquisite jewels, each of which represented faith, hope and love.
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French Antiques: 19th Century French Smalls: Sewing, Religious, Bronze Figures-French Books and Bindings