- Museum number
Crucifix pendant; a copy in gold of the 11th-12th century gold and enamel Dagmar Cross in the National Museum of Denmark. The pendant is double-sided, hollow cast in relief, with on one side the Crucifixion, on the other circular medallions with busts of saints on each arm and in the centre, depicted in raised outlines imitating cloisonné cellwork, with mock cloisonné cellwork filling the background spaces; the ground hatched with horizontal and vertical lines; pendant beaded loop for suspension; further beading at each side of the arms; contained in the original silk-lined leather case with retailer's details.
- Production date
- 1863-1878 (circa)
Height: 50 millimetres (total + loop)
Width: 30 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For information on the original 'Dagmar Cross', see George Stephens, 'Queen Dagmar's Cross' (1863). See also F. Lindahl, 'Dagmar korset, Orø- og Roskilde korset', 1980. The cross was discovered in St Bendt's Church, Ringsted, Denmark, in 1683; after it's transfer to the Danish Royal Treasury in 1695 became known as the 'Dagmar Cross' as it was thought to have belonged to Queen Dagmar (1186-1212), wife of Valdemar II. It is now thought more likely that it belonged to Valdermar's sister, Richiza, who died in 1220.
The 11th century Byzantine original is decorated with cloisonné enamel but the copies were often plain gold, like this one, sold by the Danish retailer, A. Borgen & Co, in London. Although a cheaper version, this cross retains the outlines of the cloisonné enamel compartments on both sides to indicate the design. Lindahl has noted that simple versions continued to be made well into the 20th century as confirmation gifts. For an enamelled version made in commemoration of the First World War, see Bonhams London (Knightsbridge) 7 February 2018, lot 84, inscribed 'Dal Loyauté 1914 1918'.
Text from C. Gere & J. Rudoe, 'Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria: A Mirror to the World', London, British Museum, 2010, fig. 438, p.442: The marriage of the Danish Princess Alexandra to the Prince of Wales in 1863 provided an occasion for lavish symbolic gifts in the new national style. Her trousseau contained at least five different gifts of jewellery inspired by Danish antiquities. They were publicised in Denmark as much as in Britain, both in popular publications and in a grand presentation volume with colour lithographs of all the presents, and they encompass more or less all the types that were to remain in production for several decades. This was an extraordinary statement of national pride and a tour de force on the part of the Copenhagen jewellers. From King Frederick VII of Denmark she received a necklace of 2,000 diamonds and 118 Danish pearls, from which hung an enamelled gold copy of the eleventh-century cross of the medieval Queen Dagmar, made by the Danish court jeweller, Jules Didrichsen. (Judy Rudoe)
For the most recent account of the Dagmar necklace see exhibition catalogue, 'Precious Gems', Stockholm 2000, cat. 144, p. 113; see also Leslie Field, 'The Jewels of Queen Elizabeth II: Her Personal Collection', London 1992, pp. 42–3.
- On display (G47/dc11)
- Exhibition history
2010 11 May-14 Aug, London, British Museum (G90), 'Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The pendant failed to sell at Sotheby's (8.5.1986. lot 209) and was subsequently purchased privately from the vendor.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number