The Marriage of Catherine de' Medici
 
 
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, gilt metal.
  • Size: 3 6/8" by 3 2/32".
  • Date and Origin: 1870 France. 
  • Conditions: A metal wire has been inserted in the pin device (see pictures) to fix it. I found it as is. Removing it the pin would be lost. It can be fixed by a jeweller.
Excellent Quality, gigantic cameo and more than rare subject depicting a scene from the wedding of Catherine de Medici with Henry the Duc d'Orleans (later Henry II of France).  The wedding, a grand affair marked by extravagant display and gift-giving, took place in Marseille on 28 October 1533 Prince Henry danced and jousted for Catherine. The fourteen-year-old couple left their wedding ball at midnight to perform their nuptial duties. Henry arrived in the bedroom with King Francis, who is said to have stayed until the marriage was consummated. The figures are carved in contemporary dress. Look at all the details and how they are so well rendered. This is, with no doubt, the largest cameo I have ever handled and one of most unusual ones. The pictures speak by themselves. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable and rare collectors piece.
A bit of History:
Catherine de' Medici (April 13, 1519 January 5 1589 was born in Florence, Italy, as Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici. Her parents, Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, Countess of Boulogne, both died within weeks of her birth. In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Caterina married Henry, second son of France King Francis I of France and Queen Claude. Under the gallicised version of her name, Catherine de Médicis, she was queen consort of King Henry II of France from 1547 to 1559.