The quality to the carving here is high with the drapery in particular with a superb fluidity. It’s not that often at all that one sees period monuments available for sale, for obvious reasons. This monument would have been commemorating the death of a well-loved and socially important person in France at the time.
Indeed, anything draped tends to indicate mourning and the drape can also be an allusion to the ‘veil’ between this world and the next. The drape can also stand for the protective nature of God over the dead and their remains, until the Resurrection occurs.
The symbolism of wreaths has been used at funerals since at least the time of Ancient Greece, to represent a circle of eternal life. Evergreen wreaths were laid at the burial place of early Christian virgin martyrs in Europe, the evergreen representing the victory of the eternal spirit over death. In early modern europe, a wreath custom existed for the funerals of “young maidens”. A young woman of the same age as the one being mourned would lead the funeral procession, carrying a wreath of white flowers to represent the purity of the deceased, and “that eternal crown of glory reserved for her in heaven”.
A wonderfully poignant and mysterious piece and a powerful decorating element.