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Mirror case (valve de miroir) (Front)

Mirror case (valve de miroir) (Front)
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Secular. Courtly love.

Repository Institution

Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art



Height: 102mm (diameter)
Depth: 10mm

Couple playing chess; courting couple; man with his left hand around the tree; lady holding a chess piece in her left hand.

Randall 1993, Lowden 2013 and Museum's opinion 2010: French (Paris), 2nd quarter of the 14th century.


Back turned with a depression, slot for the flange of the (missing) cover.

Object Condition
Minor losses mostly located around the drilled hole at the top center; crack on the reverse on the proper left side.

Collection of George Eumorfopoulos, London (in 1923). Bought in 1940 from Richard N. Zinser, New York, thanks to the J. H. Wade Fund.

Catalogue of an Exhibition of Carvings in Ivory, exhibition catalogue, London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1923, no. 144.
M. H. Longhurst, 'The Eumorfopoulos Collection: Western Objects- II', in Apollo 3 (May 1926), pp. 262-264.
Gothic Art in Europe, exhibition catalogue, London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1936, no. 109, p. 50.
G. C. Williamson, The Book of Ivory (London, 1938), p. 163.
T. L. Cheney, 'A French Ivory Mirror-Back of the Fourteenth Century', in Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art (October 1941), pp. 124-125.
T. L. Cheney, 'A French Ivory Mirror-Back of the Fourteenth Century', in Art Quarterly 4 (1941), pp. 333, 340-341.
'Cleveland Acquires a Gothic Ivory', in Art News (November 1941), p. 30.
W. D. Wixom, Treasures of Medieval France, exhibition catalogue, Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1967, no. V-18.
Art of the Courts of France and England from 1259-1328; L'Art et la cour: France et Angleterre 1259-1328, exhibition catalogue, Ottawa, Galerie nationale du Canada, 1972, no. 77.
P. Verdier, 'The Woman in the Marginalia of Gothic Manuscripts and Related Works', in The Role of the Woman in the Middle Ages (Albany, 1975), pp. 139-141, 186.
M. Wack, Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: the Viaticum and its Commentaries (Philadelphia, 1990), p. 69.
R. H. Randall, The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Ivory Carvings in North American Collections (New York, 1993), no. 184.
Images in Ivory. Precious Objects of the Gothic Age, ed. by Peter Barnet, exhibition catalogue, Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery, 1997, no. 58, pp. 232-233.
R. A. Dressler, Of Armor and Men in Medieval England (Aldershot, 2004), pp. 100-101, fig 63.
H. A. Klein, S. N. Fliegel, V. Brilliant, Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art, exhibition catalogue, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007, no. 66.
L. Lam, 'Les valves de miroir gothiques: sources littéraires et iconographie', in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 74 (2011), pp. 297-310 (esp. p. 305, fig. 5).
J. Lowden, Medieval and Later Ivories in the Courtauld Gallery (London, 2013), no. 1.5, p. 134.


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