Clasp thumbnail 1
Clasp thumbnail 2
+2
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Clasp

1400-1420 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Cloak clasps were an essential item of medieval jewellery due to their practical function, and were worn by all groups in society. Choice of material, style and decoration depended not only on the cost, but also the fashions of the time. For the wealthy and elite groups, architectural motifs were among the most popular styles, and this elaborate pair of clasps represent in miniature form life in a courtly setting.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Clasp of a Girdle
  • Clasp of a Girdle
Materials and techniques
Silver, silver gilt
Brief description
Pair of silver-gilt clasps, depicting a lady within a Gothic castellated setting, possibly Germany or Hungary, 1400-20.
Physical description
A Pair of Clasps, silver gilt.Each clasp comprising a lady within a balcony beneath a tall, round-arched canopy, all in the Gothic style. The protruding arch of the lowest member of the canopy is surmounted by a stepped pediment. Above this, from the top and sides of the canopy rise three pinnacles with bobbin stems. The upper part of the canopy is formed of three or more of these pinnacles, surmounted by an arched canopy and stepped pediment which are a smaller version of those below. The canopy is flanked by two canopied openwork flying buttresses surmounted by a pinnacle of the same type. The buttresses are topped by a roof with stepped canopies at an angle to either side; at the bottom are canopies and two small pinnacles. The balcony terminates in a pendant boss. At the sides is a scroll motif.
Dimensions
  • Length: 6cm
  • Width: 2.5cm
Subjects depicted
Summary
Cloak clasps were an essential item of medieval jewellery due to their practical function, and were worn by all groups in society. Choice of material, style and decoration depended not only on the cost, but also the fashions of the time. For the wealthy and elite groups, architectural motifs were among the most popular styles, and this elaborate pair of clasps represent in miniature form life in a courtly setting.
Bibliographic references
  • Lightbown, Ronald. Medieval European Jewellery: with a catalogue of the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1992. cat. 77. p. 523.
  • Campbell, Marian, Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London, V&A Publishing, 2009, p. 63, fig. 63
Collection
Accession number
143&A-1865

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Record createdDecember 15, 1999
Record URL
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