Large Antique Onyx, Cloisonné / Champlevé and Ivory Wall Holy Water Font - Antique Ivory Corpus - French or Italian Bénitier - Solid Gilt Brass Onyx Holy Water Font RB108
This is just stunningly gorgeous, a massive French decorated Holy Water Font or Bénitier for the home or Chapel, made in the mid 1800's it is very rare - especially in this size and with a hand carved corpus is very unusual indeed. This Bénitier comprises four distinct parts: the Holy Cross, the hand carved Ivory Corpus and the Vasque, or Lidded Font and Smaller Cross that are made from Gilt finished solid metal overlaid with Champlevé enamelling - the pattern for the enamels has been outlined in Gilt metal and then filled with coloured enamels - in this case the main colour is Duck Egg Blue with highlights in White, Pink Darker Blue and Red. The Vasque has a Gilt hinge for the shaped, enamelled lid with a white enamel interior.
The Cross and Vasque rest on a thick cross of solid White Onyx or "Onice Blanc" - a beautiful natural material of just under half an inch thick. The Corpus is hand carved from three pieces of fine antique bone or similar and is superb; this quality of craftsmanship would indicate that the item probably originated in the port of Dieppe - where craftsmen became world famous for this type of workmanship.
The Onyx is supported by a solid sheet of brass at the back, slightly larger in size than the Onyx so that it forms a small frame all the way around and has a hanging ring attached.
The item, made in the mid 1800's is now almost two hundred years old and so does show signs of age and use; there are areas where the Gilt is fading but overall, this is in exceedingly good, antique condition, with only a small area missing from the extremely delicate crown of thorns on the Corpus.
This font or bénitier was purchased from a collector in Nice in the South of France. It is quite apparent that this has been a very expensive item at the time of initial purchase and that it has been well loved.
Height 13.75" / 350mm, width 7.5" / 185mm and depth a maximum of 2.5" / 60mm. The Corpus is4.2" / 116mm high and 3" / 75mm wide. The weight without any packaging is one point seven kilograms, or a little over four pounds.
Your purchase will be carefully packed in recycled wrappings where possible and despatched by An Post or Courier Service.
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