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Holt Antiques at Walsingham Mill

Large & Impressive Early 17th Century Antique Carved Walnut Sculpture of the Madonna & Child

Large & Impressive Early 17th Century Antique Carved Walnut Sculpture of the Madonna & Child

Regular price £3,950.00 GBP
Regular price £3,950.00 GBP Sale price £3,950.00 GBP
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A wonderfully carved walnut sculpture of the Madonna and Child, with traces of original polychrome.

French origin.

The Madonna bearing the Christ child in her left arm.

Verso, part of the back is removable and reveals a hollowed-out aperture, used to accommodate a reliquary.

Provenance: An internal appended label states "Dr and Mrs PG Wakely, Misc.11, Carved Walnut Montmorillonais Virgin and Child, hollowed for a reliquary, 17thC".

Montmorillonnais is a region of France. It is the town of Montmorillon, which gave it its name. Montmorillon is situated 50kms south of Poitiers in the Vienne département (region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine).

The little town dates back to the 11th Century and boasts a charming old centre labelled “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (city of art and history). Known for its three medieval churches and in more modern times for its twenty plus book stores:

  1. "Notre Dame" church was built on a rocky spur between the 11thC and 14thC. The crypt features remarkable frescoes depicting the crowning of St Catherine of Alexandria.
  2. "The Saint-Laurent-et-Saint-Vincent" chapel was built in the 12th century. A stone slab marks the tomb of Etienne de Vignolles (1390-1443) also known as "La Hire".  Named lord of Montmorillon by king Charles VII, he was Joan of Arc’s loyal squire. The French military commander is also remembered for being the Jack of Hearts (French deck).
  3. "The Octogone" is a Romanesque chapel built during the 12th century. It is twice the usual height because its basement is an ossuary, a sacred place for the burial of bones. The Octogone is listed as a historical monument by the French government. Most of the remaining medieval chapels in France are built in the ‘cruciform’ (cross) shape. The Octogone, however, is octagonal in shape. The original builders were inspired by the architecture of the Mosque of Omar (Jerusalem, 681) and by the Palatine Chapel (Aachen, 792), both of which were octagonal buildings as well. The number 8 is the symbol of the Resurrection. According to St Ambroise, Jesus was resurrected the day after the Sabbath, which is the 8th day. So 8 is the symbol of the Blessed Eternity because the 7 day week represents the present followed by Eternal Rest. Death symbolises the start of Eternal Life or the Rebirth.

It is possible that this figure group may have once had links to one of these churches but no further provenance is available.

Condition - as per images. Surface wear is commensurate with age. Please refer to the images. A further condition report is available upon request.

Size: Height 84 cm x Width 30.5 cm x Depth 20.3 cm (33" x 12" x  8")

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3. The Norfolk & Suffolk Antique Dealers Association - Representing reputable, high quality antiques dealers based in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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