Picardy

French regional jewelry - Picardy

 

The Amiens cross

             
Amiens cross in silver

 


Amiens cross in silver

 

 

 

The Picardy cross - la croix de Picardy

 

 


Picardy cross in
gold, set with table cut diamonds

Picardy cross with slide in
gold, set with rose cut diamonds
 

Picardy cross with slide in
gold, set with table cut diamonds

 

 


Picardy cross in gold, set with rose cut diamonds


 


 


Picardy cross
in silver set with rose cut diamonds

Picardy cross
in gold and silver set with rose cut diamonds

 


I've frequently found these crosses, which I've provisionally called "Picardy crosses", in the region running from Compiègne as far north as Lille and as far west as Amiens, but never on the coast where the Boulogne and other Flemish crosses dominate.  They are the same as the Flemish crosses made and worn in southern Belgium, where they are relatively common and while they exist perhaps in other regions of France, I've not come across any others at this time apart from one found in Vierzon. They are similar to a silver and quartz cross in the musée national des arts et traditions populaires, inventory n° 1901-1-82 purchased for Lionel Bonnemère in Marseille before 1901, though he considered it to be already old when it was bought. One should consider them as Belgian crosses that were adopted in this part of France, bearing in mind that Flanders was occupied by France at the time they were produced and worn.  Examples in silver have been identified with the boar's head hallmark, proving that some at least were made in Paris, though they are likely to to be later re-editions.

 


woman from Picardy with cross by Jean Louis Elshoecht, (1760 - 1841), painted circa 1805,
The Bowes Museum, England

 

 

,
Jean Louis Elshoecht (1760 - 1841), woman from Picardy with cross (detail), painted around 1805,
reproduced by kind permission of The Bowes Museum, England

 

 


woman from Picardy with cross by Jean Louis Elshoecht (1760 - 1841), painted 1805,
by kind permission of The Bowes Museum, England

 

 


woman from Picardy with cross (detail) by Jean Louis Elshoecht (1760 - 1841), painted 1805,
reproduced by kind permission of The Bowes Museum, England

 

 


silver cross worn in Normandy
painting displayed in the musée des traditions et arts normands, Martainville

 

 


   Flemish cross in gold & silver, set with rose cut diamonds
note how the slide is the same as those on the Belgian Jeannette crosses
Collected in Vierzon

 

 

 

La croix de Liesse - the Liesse cross

The basilica of Liesse was an important centre of pilgrimage since the twelfth century and Our Lady of Liesse was actively worshipped in Normandy and other parts of France.  In the eighteenth century a jeweller in the town of Liesse, in Picardy, Mr. Bailly, exported large numbers of crosses to Normandy.  Marguerite Bruneau in her book Histoire du Costume Populaire en Normandie, tome 1, gives details on how much money some bankrupt jewellers in Normandy owed to Mr. Bailly and the figures are quite considerable.  (1)

We know very little about the Liesse cross.  Many were exported to other regions and yet none is mentioned under that name in the wills and documents that we can examine.  It is likely that examples of the cross exist but are at the moment known by different names.  A nineteenth century description of the cross gives us a few clues – “It was a badly stamped cross made in two halves, the upper and lower parts very thin.  The settings and raised parts were filled with plaster which gave it rigidity and weight.  This cross was inexpensive and was made almost exclusively in silver.  It was made mainly in Paris.” (2)

 

We can assume that if the jewellers in other regions imported these crosses, it was because the manufacturer had a commercial advantage and could make them cheaper than his clients.  This would be the case if the crosses were stamped, as the material required to make them is expensive and requires large production runs to be amortised.


medal from Notre Dame de Liesse, bronz

 


cross from Notre Dame de Liesse, bronze

 


medal from Notre Dame de Liesse, gold

 

 

 


pilgrim's cross from Notre Dame de Liesse in brass, reverse
 
pilgrim's cross from Notre Dame de Liesse in brass, obverse

 

 

 

         
pilgrim's cross from Notre Dame de Liesse in brass, obverse and reverse

 

 

 

The only crosses that seem to fit this description are the papillon cross, the Picardy cross and the bosse cross.  The former is indeed found in other parts of France, even in the south, while the latter is certainly inexpensive when in silver and filled with plaster, though I have not found any outside of Picardy for the moment.  Marguerite Bruneau, in her book "Les Bijoux Normands", leans towards the bosse cross, though this cross is found very occasionally in other regions. (3)  The problem is that despite several books mentionning bosse crosses filled with plaster or horse-hair, I haven't come across a single filled one, and I have to conclude that that if any bosse crosses filled with plaster exist, that they were so modified by their owner and not by the jeweller. For example, not a single bosse cross in the collection of the museum of Martainville is filled. 

If I had to lean one way, I would go for the papillon cross, which is common in the south of France and yet virtually identical to those found in the south of Belgium.  It is likely that a jeweller in Liesse, faced with a demand from pilgrims, would copy a southern Belgian cross already locally popular and that these crosses would spread throughout the country around the necks of pilgrims.  Any information you might have to clear up this mystery is welcome.  PM


    papillon cross
  in gold, silver & diamond
s


bosse cross in gold
 


Picardy cross with slide in
gold, set with rose cut diamonds

  

 

It's interesting however to observe the evolution of the Flemish butterfly cross (croix papillon or croix à la Jeannette) with time.  The third cross shown below has the form of the Picardy cross yet it has retained a reduced version of the upper section of the papillon cross.  The next cross has a slide which has evolved to retain only the diamond-set cone from the previous version.  Perhaps there never was a single Liesse cross but a succession of crosses which changed to follow the fashion of the time......


Flemish butterfly cross,
c1800-1840, gold,
silver and diamonds


 Flemish butterfly cross,
c1800-1840, gold,
silver and diamonds


"provencale" cross
collection musée national
du château de Malmaison


Picardy cross with slide
in gold, set with
table-cut diamonds

Picardy cross with slide
in gold, set with
rose-cut diamonds

 

 

The history of the basilica of Our Lady of Liesse is extremely interesting, you can click here for a link to their website.

 

 

(1): -  François Drouet, marchand orfèvre à Doudouville doit 1.177 livres (1789)
       -  Pierre Maloiselle, marchand bijoutier d'Ivril la Chausée doit 522 livres (1789)
       -  François Joutel, laboureur-bijoutier à Bretteville en Caux doit 1284 livres (1786)
       -  Vincent Coignard, marchgand orfèvre bijoutier à Rouen doit 1284 livres (1786)
          9 UP2 à p6 Archives Départementales de la Seine Maritime

(2):   Lettre citée par E. Colin dans "Le mois à Caen".  8e année n°80.

(3):   BRUNEAU, Marguerite., Les bijoux normands, Cercle d'action et d'études normandes, 1976     *****

 

 

 

contents::

Croix picarde, croix de Picardie, bijou régional, bijoux régionaux, Jean Louis Elshoecht, les bijoux traditionnels Français, bijoux des régions de France, croix de Rouen, croix bosse, croix régionale, bijoux picards, traditional French jewellery, jewelry, French regional jewellery, croix Jeannette, Marguerite Bruneau, croix de Liesse- antieke zeeuwse streeksieraden in zeeland friesland - Brabantse klederdrachten en streeksieraden

 

 

French regional jewelry - Picardy