D’Or et d’Argent
Décorations des princes de Condé et du duc d’Aumale
The Condé Museum in Chantilly has in its collections an almost complete set of orders of knighthood and decorations that belonged to the last owners of the castle: the princes of Condé Louis-Joseph (1736-1818) and Louis-Henri-Joseph (1756-1830), and the duc d’Aumale (1822-1897). Orders of knighthood appear in Europe following the Crusades. From the 14th century, orders of dynastic and state chivalry were created at the same time as the modern states were formed. The quality of prince, member of a royal or sovereign family, involved the wearing of a distinctive sign on the garment : necklaces, medallions, crosses or large cords attached to the knights’ orders. The daily wearing, at war and at court, of a decoration, insignia of his rank and eminent mark of his dignity, made it easy to identify kings and princes. This practice, which continues in Europe until the First World War, has lastingly marked the art of court portraiture and painting of a historical or military nature. Some of these insignia are spectacular and are real goldsmith jewels. By the side of chivalrous orders, decorations were developed which could only be obtained by acts of courage or merit, and not by mere belonging to a reigning dynasty. The best known are the order of St. Louis created by Louis XIV and the Legion of Honor instituted by Napoleon. The princes were particularly attached to these decorations which reflected their merit. The Condé Museum thus preserves a touching Saint-Louis cross, given to the Duke of Enghien for his courage at the fire, and the very simple Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor awarded to the Duke of Aumale for his brilliant driving at the fire during the conquest of Algeria.
- 22 x 28 cm