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The Mourning Industry Begins: Charles 1st Pendant

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    Posted 14 years ago

    (3 items)

    A rare 17th century naive portrait on vellum of Charles I, the English monarch brought to trial in Westminster in 1648 and subsequently executed on January 30th, 1649.

    Such portrait pieces were made for Royalist supporters to mourn the martyred monarch and to support and further the cause of his exiled son. The pendant is silver, set with a watercolour portrait of the king wearing the blue sash of the Order of the Garter.

    He is depicted with an air of doom and the background is painted celestial blue. The reverse is engraved with a skull and crossbones and dated 1648 Jan 30.

    Whilst history documents the monarch's execution on the day of January 30, 1649, the date 1648 on this piece is based on the Julian calendar, which was used in England until the 18th century. Using the Julian calendar, the year did not commence until March, so many contemporaneous mourning pieces record the execution as having taken place in 1648.

    The pendant measures 1 and 1/4 inches in length including loop, 3/4 of an inch excluding loop and it is 2/3 of an inch wide. There is a small chip on the crystal cover and the portrait has slipped down a little inside the compartment, but I feel it's best to leave it alone. A rare and charmingly naive Royalist pendant.

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    1. potrero, 14 years ago
      This is really cool! Looks like Shakespeare...
    2. Artemisia7, 14 years ago
    3. Drumlin, 14 years ago
      That is so flippin cool. We forget that cut-throat politics has been around a long, long time.
    4. cis2you cis2you, 13 years ago
      I sure thought it was Shakespeare too. How very interesting.
    5. dragonking, 13 years ago
      What you have there is a tribute to Vlad the Impaler. Nice example at that. If you pry it open, there should be a drop of his blood inside. Somewhat priceless. As a professional, I would suggest you pry it open to find out.
    6. BigDragonDaddy BigDragonDaddy, 12 years ago
      AWESOME!!!! LOVE IT!
    7. Budek Budek, 12 years ago
      At first glance I, too, thought it looked like Shakespeare.
      Very cool piece.
    8. Zowie Zowie, 11 years ago
      You are lucky to have such a old and wonderful piece
    9. Bluboi Bluboi, 9 years ago
      These supporter pieces are fantastic and so rare! Lucky you! I have a few portraits of the monarchs after death and there is usually a skull painted within the portrait (behind the shoulder, on a table, etc.). Do you know when this artistic style started? BTW, love the skull on the back!
    10. FromTheVanityVintage FromTheVanityVintage, 4 years ago
      What an absolutely fascinating treasure! I appreciate you sharing it with us. I learned a lot from your description, too!

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