These old servant bells, sometimes referred to as "hotel" bells (Hotel means home in French, remember), seem ever more difficult to source and are so popular, we're always watching for the really nice old ones. This one is from the Napoleon III era, c.1850-70, and is a souvenir with 3 back-painted glass scenes (eglomise) depicting the Miracle of Lourdes. A wonderful Catholic story, not a single one of the painted panels is broken or cracked. Photos show it well, and it's got a patina of age and a sound that resonates. The little button-arm is spring-loaded so when you tick the figure on the top, it rings the bell. Rich with Catholic history of miracles, the original one being the vision of Mary to a young nun, Sister Bernadette Moriau. From The Guardian: "A total of 67 miraculous healings have been recognised at Lourdes since 1858, when a 14-year-old peasant girl claimed that she had seen the Virgin Mary in a cave. However, there have only been four miracles since 1978, the most recent last year when an Italian woman was said to have been healed of acute rheumatism." (up to 2006)
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. The typical aging of back-painted (eglomise) miniatures is that they sometimes lose a little paint, which flakes off as you see in the painting of the church building and slightly on the one of Mary alone. The panels are all nicely preserved, though, for age and type, and all 3 are fabulous! Set on the original alabaster plinth, no chips or cracks. Tightly mounted and no breaks to the metal mount, which is finished to look like bronze. Measurements are noted directly on our photos.
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