A mosaic which once resided at the Vatican's St Peter's Basilica in Rome is coming to auction at Christie's, armed with a $200,000-300,000 estimate.
A team of artisans produced the 11 foot high Roman-style mosaic during the late 19th century. It was based upon Giovanni Antonio Galli's mosaic, The Martyrdom of Saint Valeria and Saint Martial, completed for St Peter's between 1626 and 1636, and which resided there until 1824.
St Valeria is said to have been converted to Christianity by St Martial, before being condemned to death for her new found faith.
The work at auction stood at the altar of St Joseph from 1895 to 1963, before being taken to the Vatican Mosaic Studio, where it lived for 20 years.
We believe the estimate could be on the low side considering the work's arresting appearance and its connection to one of the holiest places in the Roman Catholic religion.
Consecrated in 1626, St Peter's Basilica is one of the Roman Catholic Church's leading sites of pilgrimage, and is famed for its Renaissance architecture, including the Michelangelo-designed dome.
The work will form the centrepiece of Christie's 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe auction in New York on November 29.
The sale will also feature a bibliotheque basse, produced by Pierre-Etienne Levasseur or his son Pierre-Francois-Henri Levasseur between 1820 and 1830. It has a $200,000-400,000 estimate.
We will bring you full results later in the month.
We are delighted to be able to offer you this superb memento from the Pope's recent visit to the UK.