Described and illustrated is a gold and blue enamel pendant said to mark the opening of the French Estates General on May 5, 1789. Unfortunately this attribution is incorrect – this item being English, not French.
Louis XVI returned to Paris in unhappy circumstances and it was highly unlikely that there would have been the usual presentation of expressions of loyalty, scrolls of welcome and other tributes, never mind a costly gift such as this pendant.
By coincidence, as Louis was making his way to Paris, our King George III had recovered his sanity and had resumed his royal duties. This pendant celebrates this occasion and was possibly presented to the king at a service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on April 29, 1789.
The donors have not been traced, but would probably have been a learned society or other body with which the king was connected. The inscription on the reverse was, as normal, in the French language.
Roland Arkell, contributing editor and author of the jewellery feature, responds:
Many thanks for pointing this out. I should have known better – I attended a sale at Woolley & Wallis in July 2013 when a gold and enamel ‘Recovery’ medallion expressing similar sentiments in Latin sold at £3000.
That example, similar to others found in the Royal Collection and also at the Fitzwilliam museum, Cambridge, was sold on behalf of the executors of The Hon Mary Anna Marten of Crichel House, Dorset.