Charles Rex martyr

Charles Rex martyr

A rare 17th century silver heart-shaped memento mori locket for Charles 1st, circa 1649 – 1650. Immediately after the execution of the King, mourning jewels were created for his many loyal supporters. The jewels were often small, small enough to be concealed in clothing, with the image of the king hidden to interior. On this locket one side is engraved with an eye shedding tears and it is inscribed : I morne for Monarchy. The other side is engraved with a heart pierced by arrows and inscribed : I live and dye in Loyaltye, the archaic spelling on both sides delightfully irregular. Like the inscriptions, the heart-shape suggests the wearer’s loyalty, as well as undying divine love. To interior, a pressed enamelled portrait of the king and a skull crowned with a martyr’s crown. The locket measures 3/4 of an inch by 2/3 of an inch and is in a 19th century mourning box. A closely comparable locket, also engraved with a heart pierced by two crossed arrows, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

sold  £3900

              Similar locket in the V and A Museum
Portrait of Charles 1st as a martyr, his earthly crown being lost for the celestial. In his final speech on the execution scaffold Charles declared, “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be.” Museum of London.