I recently acquired a batch of French holy cards (images pieuses) from the 1870s. They are utterly charming engravings on paper surrounded by a lace border, which is why they are also called “dentelles,” which is the French word for lace. Cards like this were often given as gifts for a first communion, baptism, or other important events in one’s church life and were cherished.
I have made this into high-resolution (300 dpi) scans that you can download and print or use digitally in your own collage, journal, or other mixed media work. TO USE: click on an image below for a larger resolution. You either print from there or right click and copy into an editing programme such as Paint and then size and print from there.
Please check back soon as I will be adding some images pieuses in colour!
SOLD: I have a thing about vintage rosaries and have bought some stunners at French flea markets but THIS one is remarkable. It dates from the 1890s and is made of hand-carved mother-of-pearl beads. The trim is silver, including silver, filigree caps on the five pater beads. (Click on any photo for larger view.)
A rosary like this would have been given as a wedding gift, to be worn as a necklace or perhaps around the bridal bouquet, or as a present for a first communion. It is also big. It measures 21″ (53 cm.). The cross is 2.75″ (7cm). The pater beads are 10mm across (almost half an inch). These, of course, make sublime devotional objects but they are also great for anyone who loves vintage, French ephemera for its own sake.
Cost is £165 with free worldwide shipping. It comes in a hand-altered tin. Please let me know if you have any [read more]
I decided to create these vintage packages with a religious theme to showcase some of the French sacred ephemera I have found (or that has found me. I never know which it is). While this lotwould, of course, be perfect for someone who cherishes them as devotional items, they are also charming, vintage collectibles for anyone who likes French brocante. (Click on individual photo below to see a larger view.) This lot contains:
Vintage rosary from Lourdes, 1930s, of 59 sapphire blue, crystal beads. The centre is a fitting of brass in a filigree pattern (very art nouveau with a tiny fleur de lis) and the crucifix is either brass or a gold plated metal. On the reverse side it says, “Souvenir de Lourdes.” It measures 19.5″ (49 cm).
The book is Histoire Sainte Ancien et Nouveau Testament and is a schoolbook from 1898. It is full of stories and black and white illustrations. The binding is a little loose on the frontispiece. Also included is a photograph on a postcard of a first communion, 1903. (Stamp and handwriting on the back.) There are also three, vintage holy cards.
Cost is £75 GBP with free worldwide shipping. You can use [read more]
I decided to create these vintage packages with a religious theme to showcase some of the French sacred ephemera I have found (or that has found me. I never know which it is). While this lot would, of course, be perfect for someone who cherishes them as devotional items, they are also charming, vintage collectibles for anyone who likes French brocante. (Click on any photo below for larger view.) This lot contains:
Mother-of-Pearl Rosary, 1890. The beads are hand-cut and the centre stone is heart-shaped. It measures 20″ (58 cm) and has 54 Ave beads and four Pater beads. The Christ figure on the crucifix is silver. A white rosary such as this was given as a present for a first communion or a wedding.
The missel is a prayer book dated 1901. It has a hard cover that is trimmed with a filigree, silver monogram of the letter “M.” Inside are two engravings and each page is illustrated with borders of various religious scenes. Please note that the binding inside is a little loose and as such it is not being sold as a collectible book per se, rather as a charming piece to offset the rosary. It [read more]
I decided to create these vintage packages with a religious theme to showcase some of the French sacred ephemera I have found (or that has found me. I never know which it is). While this lot would, of course, be perfect for someone who cherishes them as devotional items, they are also charming, vintage collectibles for anyone who likes French brocante. This lot contains:
19th-century rosary of heavy, yellow milk glass. It has two medals, one smaller and very worn one of Mary on one side and the letter “M” intertwined with a cross on the back. The larger medal is of Saint Pacifigodi Severino and has a maker’s mark of “L.M.” As he was canonised in 1839, it is likely that the medal dates from then, as this is traditional. This is an Italian medal, so this could be an Italian rosary rather than a French one, but I did buy it in France and it is also possible that it was originally French and an Italian medal was added but at any rate, it is one of the most beautiful and unusual rosaries I have ever seen, so it goes in with this lot!) It is [read more]
Here are recent pages, including churches and notes from Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, as well as French churches in Perpignan, the Priory at Serrabone, Elne Cathedral.
To see more sketchbook journal pages of churches, go to:
For more information on some of these lovely Romanesque churches, try:
These sketches are from my illustrated journal is a recent trip to the Burgundy region of France. There are many hundreds of Romanesque churches, built between the 10th and 12th centuries. Before then, the area had been occupied and ruled over by Romans. Then they were gone but their architecture and design influence remained and were powerful influences in the creation of these churches. It was a time of crusades and pilgrimages, both of which brought travelers into tiny villages needing accommodation, food, and other practical provisions: these churches attracted these pilgrims and profited from their donations, as did the towns around them.
Hilaire Belloc, writing about his pilgrimage from France to Rome wrote of such places that: “In such shrines Mass is to be said but rarely, sometimes but once a year in a special commemoration. The rest of the time they stand empty, and some of the older or simpler, one might take for ruins. They mark everywhere some strong emotion of supplication, thanks, or reverence, and they anchor these wild places to their own past, making up in memories what they lack in multitudinous life.”
Click on an image to see a larger [read more]
There is almost nothing in the world I love doing more than drawing in churches. For me, keeping an illustrated journal is not about being the best at drawing or painting – I can’t hope to do anything like that. It is about creating a page that is part visual memory, part field guide. And by drawing in a church, or cloister, or crypt, I feel that I am capturing part of its soul as surely as primitive people believed that a photograph did the same to them.