Two Rare Reverse Glass Painted & Mother of Pearl Ecclesiastical Signs c.1910-20

Origin: English
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1910-20
Height: 3.75” / 4”
Width: 9.75”

The wonderfully decorative reverse glass painted and mother of pearl ecclesiastical signs for 'He is Risen' and 'Redeemed', one with damage, each probably unique and in the original oak frames, surviving from the first quarter of twentieth century England.

The ‘Redeemed’ sign has damages as per the photographs with the broken glass being loose but still retaining its form under the frame. The other sign is in super condition.

The popularity of glass as a building material and for decoration in particular increased after the Great Exhibition of 1851, the centrepiece of which, the Crystal Palace, used glass with great extravagance. A technique known as ‘back-painting’ became popular in the 1870s and is less commonly seen with mother of pearl inlay as we see here.

Paintings which have been reverse painted on glass have the picture or information painted on the back of the glass so that it can be seen the correct way round from the front and is protected by the glass. It is a technique that has been used for portrait and landscape paintings which were then framed, usually for advertisements often on mirrors, and for decorating the inside of bottles.

He is Risen is from Matthew 28 with Redeemed referring to deliverance from some evil by payment of a price. We imagine these would have hung near the confessional or alter or perhaps by the notice boards.

Almost certainly unique signs, we have never seen the like before in mother of pearl of ecclesiastic origin.