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Knights and Ladies Seated under Canopies

Panel
second half fourteenth century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a set of two pierced ivory panels from a casket made in the second half of the fourteenth century in France (Paris). The panels are divided into two compartments in each of which is seated the figure of a man or a woman; the former hold falcons, one of the latter a little dog. Above are elaborate architectural canopies.
The panels have been associated with three others, all showing two standing pairs of male and female figures, and it is extremely likely that they all come from one casket.

From about 1320 onwards, ivory caskets featuring secular subject matter began to be produced in substantial numbers, often sharing the imagery to be found on mirror backs. Some of the earlier examples are also some of the grandest, and must have been aimed at a wealthy clientele. The nature of the subject matter, which almost always concentrates on courtly love, chivalry and romance, indicates that the caskets were used for the exchange of courtship and wedding gifts. The most important type among the early caskets was what has become known as the ‘composite’ casket, illustrating more than one secular tale. This group of large and impressive caskets, of which at least eight examples survive, illustrate a variety of secular tales and themes. The primary function was not to stimulate memories of the viewers, but to delight and entertain.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Panel
  • Panel
  • Panel
Materials and Techniques
Carved elephant ivory
Brief Description
Panels, ivory, France (Paris), second half of the fourteenth century
Physical Description
The double panel (284-1867) shows two seated figures under an elaborate architectural canopy or gateway, the female holding a small dog, the male with with a falcon on his left wrist. A further male figure of similar type, but with his right hand raised to his face, occupies a single panel (284a-1867), and another female, without a dog and raising her left hand in address, is shown on the third panel (284b-1867). Above are elaborate architectural canopies.
Dimensions
  • 284 1867 height: 7.5cm
  • At top of 284 1867 width: 4.2cm
  • At bottom of 284 1867 width: 8.3cm
  • 284a 1867 height: 7.5cm
  • At top of 284a 1867 width: 4.2cm
  • At bottom of 284a 1867 width: 4.1cm
  • 284b 1867 height: 7.6 cm
  • At top of 284b 1867 width: 4.3cm
Object history
In the possession of John Webb, London, by 1862 (London 1862, cat. no. 131); purchased from Webb in 1867, for £10.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is a set of two pierced ivory panels from a casket made in the second half of the fourteenth century in France (Paris). The panels are divided into two compartments in each of which is seated the figure of a man or a woman; the former hold falcons, one of the latter a little dog. Above are elaborate architectural canopies.

The panels have been associated with three others, all showing two standing pairs of male and female figures, and it is extremely likely that they all come from one casket.



From about 1320 onwards, ivory caskets featuring secular subject matter began to be produced in substantial numbers, often sharing the imagery to be found on mirror backs. Some of the earlier examples are also some of the grandest, and must have been aimed at a wealthy clientele. The nature of the subject matter, which almost always concentrates on courtly love, chivalry and romance, indicates that the caskets were used for the exchange of courtship and wedding gifts. The most important type among the early caskets was what has become known as the ‘composite’ casket, illustrating more than one secular tale. This group of large and impressive caskets, of which at least eight examples survive, illustrate a variety of secular tales and themes. The primary function was not to stimulate memories of the viewers, but to delight and entertain.
Bibliographic References
  • Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 11
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 8
  • English Medieval Art. London, 1938, no. 458
  • Leeuwenberg, Jaap. Early Nineteenth-century Gothic Ivories. Aachener Kunstblätter. 39, 1969, pp. 111-148
  • Maskell, W., A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872p. 116
  • Maskell, A., Ivories, London, 1905pl. XXVII
  • Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)I, p. 484, II, cat. no. 1280
  • Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014part II, pp. 670-673
  • Longhurst, Margaret H., Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929pp. 8-9, pl. 11
  • Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part II, pp. 670-673, cat. no. 231
Collection
Accession Number
284B-1867

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record createdAugust 22, 2008
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