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Casket

Casket

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (Possibly, made)
    France (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1380-1400 (made)
    1400-1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather on beech, with brass mounts

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by George Salting

  • Museum number:

    W.97-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Casket of wood (locked shut [2013] but formerly identified as beechwood), with gable shaped lid, covered with glued brown leather, with tooled decoration, partly in relief, overlaid with brass bands, and fitted with an external lock and top loop handle.

All the external surfaces of the casket are covered with brown leather. Apart from the base which has a simple cut lattice design, all the faces display a mix of stylised flowers, scrolling leaves and berries. The top of the lid has two pairs of male and female figures, presumably lovers, standing under a tree. The front, back and sides each have a pair of figures, apparently male and female, sitting (female) and kneeling (male). There are traces of red and white paint.

Brassy metal mounts, fixed with brassy pins
The lid is attached with three long hinges that run right around the casket. They have an applied rosette on the lid and triple bands near the hinges. Two terminate in fleur-de-lis, while the central one ends in the lock and its hasp. These hinges are of rounded profile on the lid and back, but flattened at the hinge point and underneath. A similar band runs along the bottom of the casket, from side to side, terminating on each side. Plain, rounded bands protect the arrises of the lid. Around the edge of the lid and the corners of the casket are nailed flat bands hatched with a regular bead pattern, and inscribed along the front of the lid in gothic letters LEAUTE DORT (?). The lock engraved with a gothic letter, possibly b. The loop handle of hexagonal profile.

The interior not seen.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (Possibly, made)
France (possibly, made)

Date

1380-1400 (made)
1400-1500 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Leather on beech, with brass mounts

Marks and inscriptions

I.3
Orange paper label pasted to underside of casket, printed in black

1148
White paper label pasted to underside of casket, printed in red

umf [manuscript]
K.47 [printed]
White paper label with blue border pasted to underside of casket, with a second label pasted over the top

Spitzer 804
Blue and white octagonal paper label pasted to underside of casket

COLLECTION 1893 SPITZER
White paper label pasted to underside of casket, printed in blue

LEAUTE DORT
Unclear, unless Beauté dort (Beauty sleeps)?
Inscribed on a flat metal band along the front of the lid in gothic letters

Dimensions

Height: 9 cm, Width: 17.5 cm, Depth: 12.5 cm

Object history note

Salting bequest

For discussion of Franco-Flemish leather caskets c.1400, with raised, moulded figures, see J. Cherry, M.A., F.S.A., 'The Talbot Casket and Related Late Medieval Leather Caskets', in Archaeologia CVII (1982), pp. 131-140

Notes by W.A.Thorpe c1959:
W.97-1910

CASKET. Beechwood covered with boiled leather, still brown in colour, with tooled decoration, partly in relief, surmounted brass hinges and other brass mounts.

Box of rectangular plan (ichnography). Lid in the form of a frustum [ie what is left when the top is sliced off square] of a rectangular pyramid.

Three band hinges of brass, the upper members travelling forward, as shaped sides bearing rosettes and terminating on the front slope in fleur-de-lys (lateral), and in the lock-hasp (centre); the lower members travelling, backwards and beneath and terminating on the front in fleur-de-lys (lateral) and the lock (centre). Lid edged with brass banding, chased on the front with the legend LEAVTE DORT, in Gothic letter, of uncertain allusion. On the back, the Gothic letter V, perhaps for a numeral. Underneath, a crossband terminating at either end in a fleur-de-lys. Loop handle of brass.

In the lateral panels of the top, at the ends, on the front and at the back, are pairs of figures beneath trees and other scenes in the convention of courtly love (l'amour courteois)

Interior never leather - covered nor lined.

NORTHERN FRENCH; about 1400

Notes by W.A.Thorpe c1959:
W.97-1910

General remarks

Inscribed for sale to “fraternizing” prisoners-of war ?? The poor quality is consistent with Titre LXVI (garnissurs de gaaines) of the arts et metiers.

Formerly in the Spitzer Collection. Stuck-on printed tab inscribed:-

COLLECTION
1893
SPITZER

Acquired by M.Spitzer after the publication (1891) of the volume including Les Cuirs of the catalogue of his collection. (vol II).

For subject and style of W.178-1910, a casket of marked similarity.

The bands perhaps adventitious [ie coming from without, added later], but from a pristine casket.

Museum Negatives:

No. 14979 (left-hand-end)
No. 14980 (right-hand-end)
No. 14983 (top, from above)
No. 14985 (back)
No. 14986 (front)

Descriptive line

Casket, wood covered with cut and embossed leather, with brass bands, mounts and external lock

Materials

Beech; Leather; Brass

Categories

Containers; Leather; Medieval and renaissance

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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