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Auktion: Auction 28.05.1992
wurde versteigert am: 28. Mai 1992
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A MAGNIFICENT SPANISH COLONIAL EMERALD AND GOLD PECTORAL CROSS of lobed outline, the front set with sixty-six well matched rectangular and lozenge-cut Colombian emeralds, the reverse profusely engraved with scrolls, quatrefoils and crosses and showin...

Archiv
Schätzpreis: 150.000 £ - 200.000 £
ca. 271.351 $ - 361.802 $
Zuschlagspreis:  231.000 £
ca. 417.881 $
Los-Nr. 153, Aufrufe: 89

A MAGNIFICENT SPANISH COLONIAL EMERALD AND GOLD PECTORAL CROSS of lobed outline, the front set with sixty-six well matched rectangular and lozenge-cut Colombian emeralds, the reverse profusely engraved with scrolls, quatrefoils and crosses and showing traces of the original black enamel or niello decoration, circa 1650 4in. (10.0cm.) high The cross is one of the most important pieces of jewellery of its type to have been recovered from the seabed and has survived in near perfect condition despite a sojourn of over three hundred years in saltwater. Its unusual combination of decorative features such as the lobed outline and distinctively patterned reverse are uncharacteristic of mid-17th Century mainland Spanish work and point to a Spanish Colonial origin. The cross in lobed surround relates to Spanish coinage where it is found during the reign of Philip III (1598-1621) decorating coins from mints such as Seville and re-appears again during the reign of Philip V (1780-24) on coins from mints in the New World. The same lobed surround is also present in Spanish 17th Century religious pendants where the centre can be either figurative or set with gems. The reverse of the present cross presents a puzzle and is reminiscent of the etched decoration found on German Renaissance armour and metalwork with its complex medley of foliage, arabesques, circles and quatrefoils incorporating, in this instance, a fleur-de-lys cross inspired by one of the Spanish military orders. This fusion of decoration with its emphasis on scrollwork more typical of late 16th and early 17th Century Europe gives the cross a different character. It has a richness of materials and a boldness of form which sets it apart from the more fastidious designs favoured by goldsmiths in Barcelona and Seville, and is an important example of the sumptuous jewels from the New World so admired at the courts of Europe. Although there are a number of extant emerald crosses of Spanish and Spanish Colonial origin including important examples from treasure ships such as the Nuestra Señora de Atocha (sank 1622) and the San Pedro (sank 1595), there is no close comparison to the present example. Looking at the detail of its design, similarities in the setting of the emeralds can be found in an aigrette-shaped jewel sold at Christie's, London on 3 October 1990, lot 373, which utilized the same pointed gold settings of jagged outline for its lozenge-shaped stones. Of unknown provenance, the jewel was almost certainly of Spanish Colonial manufacture. The same rather spiky goldwork is also found on an impressive emerald and gold 'rostrillo'* with matching set of nineteen dress ornaments donated to the Treasury of the Virgen de Gracia de Carmona in 1680 by Francisco de Rivera y Aral and described as being of undoubted Spanish American origin (M.J.Sanz Serrano, La Virgen de Gracia de Carmona, 1990, no.16). The richness of the jewels in this Treasury as well as the many others to be found in Spain may give a clue as to the intended destiny of the Maravillas cross. Although it may have belonged to one of the Spanish grandees aboard the laden vessel or been intended as a noble or even royal gift on its return to Spain, a possible explanation may be that it was commissioned in the New World by a member of one of the Spanish orders of knighthood as a gift of thanks to an image of the Virgin, in much the same way as a gold filigree chain was donated in 1659 to the Carmona Treasury by Captain Gregoria Morera ( op.cit., no.42) who fortuitously survived the perils of his voyage undertaken only three years after the fateful journey of the Maravillas. * 'rostrillo' - the decorative border immediately surrounding the face on images of the Virgin. We are grateful to Dr Priscilla E. Muller and Dr Anna Beatriz Chadour for their help in compiling this entry

Informationen zur Auktion
Auktionshaus: Christie's
Titel: Auction 28.05.1992
Auktionsdatum: 28.05.1992
Adresse: Christie's
London, King Street

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