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Crown

  • Place of origin:

    Fribourg (made)

  • Date:

    1566 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schmaltz, Hans (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilt-copper, twisted, embossed and engraved; rock crystal, imitation pearls and foiled glass pastes

  • Museum number:

    155-1894

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 84, The Whiteley Galleries, case 8

  • Public access description

    Jewelled and enamelled crowns are often found on the heads of statues of the Virgin Mary in Catholic churches. These crowns refer to the concept of Mary's coronation as the Queen of Heaven by her son, Jesus Christ, after her death. It was a subject much favoured by artists and craftsmen working for Catholic patrons. Veneration of the Virgin was particularly encouraged after the Counter Reformation in the mid 16th century, a period of reform and reinvigoration within the Roman Catholic church.

    This crown consists of a plain inner circlet of gilt copper onto which is riveted a decorative eight-pointed framework of gilt copper scrolls, hammered leaves and twisted wire. The framework is ornamented with crystals, foiled pastes and imitation pearls.

  • Physical description

    Crown consisting of a plain inner circlet of gilt copper onto which is riveted a decorative eight-pointed framework of gilt copper scrolls, hammered leaves and twisted wire. The framework is ornamented with crystals, foiled pastes and imitation pearls, some in deep settings, some engraved with a segmented pattern on the reverse of the setting.

  • Marks and inscriptions

    'Hans Schmaltz 1566'
    Inscribed on inside circlet

  • Dimensions

    Height: 14 cm, Diameter: 18.3 cm

  • Historical context note

    The Counter Reformation
    The 16th century was a period of intense self examination for the Roman Catholic church. Internal dissent was undermining its authority and whole nations were going over to the new Protestant faiths. To clarify its role, the church held the Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563. It addressed concerns about religious education, abuses of wealth and the relief of the poor. The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) became the champion of the reformed Catholic church and promoted the faith worldwide. At the heart of this Counter Reformation was the need to restore the Eucharist to the centre of worship. In Catholic belief, the Eucharist enshrines the moment when bread and wine, consecrated at the altar, are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. A priest holding up a monstrance Detail from The Adoration of the Holy Eucharist, by Claudio Coello, 1685-90 Monasterio del Escorial, Madrid.

    Art and Faith
    The image and message of the reinvigorated Roman Catholic church were actively promoted through dramatic architecture and furnishings. Throughout the 17th century new churches were built in the grand Baroque style. Their sumptuous interiors were complemented by elaborate monstrances, candelabra, sanctuary lamps and censers. Awe-inspiring altar silver drew the eyes of the faithful towards the Eucharist.

  • Descriptive line

    Copper-gilt set with crystals, foiled pastes and imitation pearls, Fribourg, Switzerland dated 1566, by Hnas Schmaltz

  • Labels and date

    Crown
    Jewelled and enamelled crowns are often found on statues of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic churches. These crowns refer to the belief that after Mary’s death Jesus crowned her as Queen of Heaven. It was a subject much favoured by artists and craftsmen working for Catholic patrons. Veneration of the Virgin was particularly encouraged after the Counter Reformation of the mid 16th century, a period of reform and reinvigoration within the Roman Catholic church.

    This crown consists of a plain inner circlet of gilt copper onto which is riveted a decorative eight-pointed framework of gilt copper scrolls, hammered leaves and twisted wire. The framework is ornamented with crystals, foiled pastes and imitation pearls.

    Fribourg, Switzerland, dated 1566; by Hans
    Schmaltz (active 1566–1601)
    Copper gilt, set with crystals, foiled pastes
    and imitation pearls
    Museum no. 155-1894 [22/11/2005]
    CROWN FOR A STATUE OF THE VIRGIN
    Gilt brass, set with pastes and crystals
    Engraved inside the band with the maker's name Hans Schmaltz and the date 1566
    Swiss (Fribourg); dated 1566
    Hans Schmaltz is recorded as a goldsmith of Fribourg from 1566 to 1601 []

  • Collection code

    Metalwork Collection