Cristal de croix - © Philippe Berthé / Centre des Monuments nationaux

Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cross Found after 100 Years

Crystal Cross from the 16th century returned after a hundred years. It is believed to have belonged to either Mary Stewart or her mother Marie de Guise

Croix de la Sainte-Croix du cardinal de Lorraine © Philippe Berthé / Centre des Monuments nationaux Philippe Berthé / Centre des Monuments nationaux
Croix de la Sainte-Croix du cardinal de Lorraine © Philippe Berthé / Centre des Monuments nationaux Philippe Berthé / Centre des Monuments nationaux

The Crystal Cross was stolen from the treasury of Reims Cathedral on the eve of WW1. Recently an anonymous individual passed it on to the Cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand.

In July 1915 the treasury of the cathedral of Reims was evacuated to Louvre in Paris in order to preserve it from the looting Germans. However, the newly resurfaced cross is believed to have been stolen already on the eve of the war.

The cross is made of 13 pieces of Italian rock crystal joined together with a silver mount. It measures 63 cm x 36 cm. Since it was offered as a gift to the Cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand in 2009, it has undergone a prolonged process of restoration. Recently it was returned to Reims.

For a long time it was believed that the cross was presented to the Cathedral by the cardinal of Lorraine, archbishop of Reims from 1538 – 1574. However, recent research carried out by Maxence Hermant, who is curator at the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris has shed further light on the context of the gift. He believes that the cross was originally a gift by either Marie de Guise (1515 – 1560) or her daughter Mary Stewart (1542 – 1587) to the abbey of Saint-Pierre-Les-Dames in Reims. Marie de Guise was buried there and Mary Stewart stayed there after the death of her first husband, Francis II. She expressed her wish to be buried here, next to her mother, but was instead buried at Westminster.

During WW1 more than 3500 pieces of the Cathedral of Reims were stolen: paintings, tapestries, chandeliers, 900 pieces of goldsmith-work and countless embroideries.

The cross is currently on display at the Palace du Tau in Reims

VISIT:

Crystall Cross PosterPalace du Tau
2 place du Cardinal-Luçon
Reims
07.12.2014 – 04.01.2015

SOURCE:

Le Centre des monuments nationaux présente:
100 ans àpres, la croix
 de cristal retrouve son trésor

Le trésor volé restitué à Reims100 ans après