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Richard de Beauvoir (active 1685)

Mary of Modena's Crown of State 1685

Gold, quartz crystal, pearls, velvet and ermine | 19.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 31707

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  • The crown is composed of a gold frame, set with rock crystals (quartzes) in closed silver collets, and with cultured pearls, and fitted with a purple velvet cap with an ermine band. The frieze is set with eighteen oval rose-cut crystals between rows of pearls, supporting four fleurs-de-lis and four crosses-pattée composed of large crystals, and a narrow festoon of rose-cut crystals. The four half-arches are each set with a central row of pearls, flanked by rows of rose-cut stones, supporting a pavé-set monde and surmounted by cross-pattée, the arms terminating in pearls.

    The rock crystals in this crown replace the diamonds which were hired for the 1685 coronation and subsequent ceremonies. This crown was the first consort's crown to be made after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and was supplied in 1685 as a State crown, together with a Coronation crown. The jeweller, Mr Richard Beauvoir, who created the crowns, was described in a contemporary account of the coronation by Francis Sandford as having 'the honour to please Their Majesties in a high degree'.

    Like the king, the consort required two crowns for the coronation ceremony – one for the moment of coronation and another, described in 1685 as the 'Rich Crown', that was to be worn she left the Abbey and processed to Westminster Hall. Sandford's illustrations of the two crowns suggest that this surviving example is the 'Rich Crown', although somewhat reworked by the consorts who wore it after Mary of Modena.

     

    The stones, like those on the diadem, have been replaced with pastes, as was common with all crowns. A surviving design for this piece, signed by the jeweller Richard de Beauvoir, suggests that the entire object was originally mounted with an array of diamonds costing somewhere in the region of £100,650, although this scarcely marries with the resulting bill, where the diamonds were valued only at £35,000 (and were hired for £1,000). Nevertheless, Lady Warwick, who saw the crown shortly before the Coronation, commented that 'shee will bee all over Jewls besids; never any quen was so richly decked'.

    The crown was reset with jewels for each of the coronations of Mary II in 1689, Queen Anne in 1702 and Queen Caroline in 1727. After this the consort's State crown was replaced - first by Queen Charlotte's nuptual crown, and then by a new crown designed for Queen Adelaide in 1831.

    Text adapted from Charles II: Art and Power (2017).

    Provenance

    Supplied for Mary of Modena, consort of James II, for the coronation on 23 April 1685, by Sir Robert Viner, the Crown Jeweller.

  • Medium and techniques

    Gold, quartz crystal, pearls, velvet and ermine

    Measurements

    19.0 cm (whole object)

    23 oz (Weight) (whole object)

    740.0 g (Weight) (whole object)