Pendant thumbnail 1
Pendant thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pendant

1830-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Normandy is best known for its elaborate crosses, but this Saint-Esprit pendant is equally typical.

It represents a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit (or Saint-Esprit), flying down to earth with a branch in its beak. As well as the Holy Spirit, it also suggests the dove which brought an olive leaf to Noah, signifying man's reconciliation with God after the Flood.

The use of a Saint-Esprit in French jewellery probably derives from the pendant of the chivalric Ordre du Saint-Esprit. It was used in traditional costume in other parts of France as well, particularly in the Auvergne, but the Normandy dove is the only one which carries a branch in its beak. Like many of the Normandy crosses, the Saint-Esprit was usually set with transparent stones, but the branch was often decorated with coloured stones, as here. It was worn on a black velvet ribbon, fastened tightly round the neck like a choker, with a slide at the front (now missing). The ribbon passes through the bale of the pendant, and is then threaded through a hole or loop at the base of the slide, and out at either side. The ribbon is tied in a bow at the back of the neck.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold set with white crystals and coloured pastes
Brief Description
Gold pendant of a dove (Saint Esprit) set with crystals and coloured pastes, Normandy (France), 1830-1850.
Physical Description
Two-part pendant, shaped like a stylised dove, pavé-set with colourless stones, hanging upside-down from an openwork frame set with colourless stones, with a stylised branch in its beak set with red, blue and green pastes. There is a long hook at the back of the top part.
Dimensions
  • Length: 8.2cm
  • Width: 4.7cm
  • Depth: 1.2cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'M C' with a (?) clenched fist above, and a (?) torc below, in a vertical lozenge. (On outside face of loop at back of top section.)
Subject depicted
Summary
Normandy is best known for its elaborate crosses, but this Saint-Esprit pendant is equally typical.



It represents a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit (or Saint-Esprit), flying down to earth with a branch in its beak. As well as the Holy Spirit, it also suggests the dove which brought an olive leaf to Noah, signifying man's reconciliation with God after the Flood.



The use of a Saint-Esprit in French jewellery probably derives from the pendant of the chivalric Ordre du Saint-Esprit. It was used in traditional costume in other parts of France as well, particularly in the Auvergne, but the Normandy dove is the only one which carries a branch in its beak. Like many of the Normandy crosses, the Saint-Esprit was usually set with transparent stones, but the branch was often decorated with coloured stones, as here. It was worn on a black velvet ribbon, fastened tightly round the neck like a choker, with a slide at the front (now missing). The ribbon passes through the bale of the pendant, and is then threaded through a hole or loop at the base of the slide, and out at either side. The ribbon is tied in a bow at the back of the neck.
Collection
Accession Number
87-1869

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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