The round-up of recent acquisitions is on show until February 17 by appointment at the Antwerp gallery.
The cross, one of 36 items in the catalogue, depicts a lamb at the centre with the four evangelists at each end of the cross. To the reverse are four holes where a figure of Christ would once have been attached.
Today, it is the polychrome side that makes it remarkable, completed in champlevé enamel in seven colours against an engraved and gilt background.
This enamelling technique, common in Limoges in the previous century, had disappeared in the first decades of the 1200s. However, the maker of this cross, c.1225, reintroduced the enamelling to give it a deliberately aged look. Only around 10 other pieces using this technique at this time are known. It is available for €145,000.
Vigilantia is Descheemaker’s 23rd catalogue. It comprises works of the Middle Ages and Renaissance from northern Europe also including an earthenware wet jug, a 16th century enamel plate also from Limoges and an oil sketch by 17th century Antwerp artist Theodoor van Thulden.
Writing in the catalogue’s introduction the dealer says that ‘vigilantia’ (vigilance) is key to his profession’s ongoing battles, from authenticity to provenance.
He says: “It requires a large dose of vigilance and expertise to separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff, to cherry pick and present the most desirable objects.”