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Casket with arches (frise d'arcatures; coffret) (Lid)

Casket with arches (frise d'arcatures; coffret) (Lid)
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Body, back

End, right

Body, front

End, left



Secular. Courtly love. Romance. Hunting scene.

Repository Institution

Saint Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum

Inv. F 61

Wood (modern wooden panels reinforcing the sides on the inside);ivory;gilt copper (fittings)

Height: 90 cm
Width: 265mm
Depth: 143 cm

Knight kneeling before a lady who places a helm over his head. Tournament; jousting knights in armour; two heralds in trees blowing trumpets; shields; horses. Knight kneeling before a lady who places a helm over his head.
Medallions enclosing quatrefoils with human faces in the spandrels. Rounded trefoils in the spandrels.
Body, front
Tristan and Iseult conversing; Iseult holding a squirrel; Tristan with a hawk on his wrist; king Mark in the tree; fountain reflecting king Mark's face. Tonsured Tristan, holding a bauble or club, speaks to king Mark; king Mark holds a pair of gloves; throne decorated with lion's head amd feet. Tonsured Tristan, holding a bauble or club, speaks to Iseult and two ladies. Iseult recognises Tristan; tonsured Tristan embracing Iseult; her maid Brangene holding a cup.
End, right
Variation on the Attack on the castle of Love; winged God of Love throwing arrows at two courting couples; couple embracing; lady holding a small dog; ladies supporting a falling swooning figure; tree; birds in a tree; flowery bush.
Body, back
Courting couple (meeting of lovers); couple embracing; lady holding a dog; man in fashionable dress, with dagger and hanging purse; trees. Game of hot cockles (jeu de haute coquille, or la main chaude). Couple playing chess; queen; onlookers; tree. Offering of the heart (?); lady crowning her lover with a chaplet; youth holding a pair of gloves.
End, left
Hawking party; hunter on foot blowing into a horn; ladies and youth hawking on horseback; youth with a hawk on his wrist; lady holding a lure for hawks; kneeling youth; birds in a tree; dog pursuing a hare running into its hole.

Darcel and Basilewski 1874: France, 14th century.
Koechlin 1924: 19th century.
Falke 1928: 14th century (front and back) and 19th century (lid and back parts).
Kryzhanovskaya 2014: France, 2nd quarter of the 14th century.
Carns 2014: France, c. 1325.


Polychromy - Gilding
Traces of gilding.

Carved on all sides.

Object Condition
Several cracks throughout. Holes for the missing fittings. Discolouration.
Upper edge of the right hand side panel chipped. Repair above the lock.
A vertical strip of carved ivory seems to have been added on the left and right side of each side panel, as if to make the casket larger. The lower border of each of the side panels is also made of a separate strip of ivory.
The upper and lower border of the lid are made of separate ivory pieces, as the side strips probably are too.
Diagonal crack in the lower right corner of the lid.
A piece on the left side of the left end panel broke off and was repaired (holes from a previous repair on either side of the break).
Bottom flat and smooth.
According to Falke, the lid dates from the 19th century.

Treasury of Saint Frambourg de Senlis. Collection of Alexander Petrovich Basilewski (b. 1829, d. 1899), Paris, c. 1874; acquired by the Museum in 1885.

A. Darcel, A. P. Basilewski, Collection Basilewski. Catalogue raisonné (Paris, 1874), no. 561.
A. Darcel, 'Le Moyen-Age au Trocadéro', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, (1878), I, p. 206.
N. Kondakov, Imperatorskii Ermitazh. Ukazatel' otdeleniia srednikh vekov i epokhi vozrozhdeniia [Guide to the Department of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance of the Imperial Hermitage] (Saint Petersburg, 1891), no. 71, p. 158.
R. S. Loomis, 'A Medieval Ivory Casket', in Art in America, 5 (December 1916), p. 56.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, p. 479, note 1; p. 497, note 4.
O. von Falke, 'Das Tristankästchen der Eremitage', in Pantheon (February 1928), pp. 75-80 (figs. 6, 8 and 9).
R. Loomis, Arthurian Legends in Medieval Art (New York, 1933), p. 56.
E. A. Lapkovskaia, Prikladnoe iskusstvo srednevekovoi Evropy in Vglub' vekov. Kniga o Gosudarstvennom Ermitazhe (Leningrad [Saint Petersburg], 1961), p. 222.
Ermitazh za 200 let (1764-1964). Istoriia i sostav kollektsii (Leningrad [Saint Petersburg]; Moscow, 1966), p. 65.
D. Fouquet, 'Das Elfenbeinkästchen der Sammlung Monheim, Aachen', in Aachener Kunstblätter 40 (1971), p. 25.
V. Darkevich, Putiami srednevekovykh masterov (Moscow, 1972), p. 162.
Zachodnioeuropejska rzezba z kosci w latach 1100-1290 ze zbiorow Panstwowego Ermitazu v Leningradzie, exhibition catalogue, Warsaw, The National Museum, 1981, no. 20.
M. Kryzhanovskaya, 'Kostianoi larets XIV veka i rodstvennye emu pamiatniki v sobranii Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha', in Kul'tura i iskusstvo zapadnoevropeiskogo srednevekov'ia: materialy nauchnoi konferentsii (Moscow, 1981), pp. 280-288.
N. Biriukova, Gosudarstvennyi Ermitazh. Prikladnoe iskusstvo (Leningrad [Saint Petersburg], 1986), no. 172.
Zapadnoevropeiskoe prikladnoe iskusstvo srednikh vekov i epokhi Vozrozhdeniia iz kollektsii A. P. Bazilevskogo, exhibition catalogue, Leningrad [Saint Petersburg], The State Hermitage Museum, 1986, no. 10.
E. Nekrasova, Proizvedeniia frantsuzskoi reznoi kosti XIV veka kak pamiatniki srednevekovoi kurtuaznoi kul'tury, PhD thesis (Academy of Arts, Saint Petersburg, 2002), p. 100.
P. Carnes, 'Cutting a Fine Figure: Costume of French Gothic Ivories', in Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 5 (2009), pp. 82, 84, 88.
L'Ermitage di Basilewsky: il collezionista di meraviglie, ed. by E. Pagella, T. Rappe, exhibition catalogue, Turin, Palazzo Madama, 7 June – 13 October 2013, no. 40.
P. M. Carns, 'Playing the fool: La Folie Tristan on two French Gothic Ivories', in Sculpture Journal 23.1 (2014), pp. 51-63, fig. 5-8.
M. Kryzhanovskaya, Western European Medieval Ivories. Catalogue of the Collection (Зaпaднoeврoпeйскaя рeзнaя кoстъ Срeдних вeкoв. Кataлoг кoллeкции), (St Peterburg, 2014), no. 101.


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