Liverpool artwork of the day – Tuesday August 21 2007. ‘Eloping knight mirror case’ c.1320 – French Ivory, Diameter 13.3cm at The Walker Art Gallery
A very early work today.
There are several images of knights on display at the Walker Art Gallery. Some, like this piece were made at a time when knights still rode through the land. Others, like Burne-Jones’s study for ‘Sleeping Knights’ cast a romantic eye back to the age of chivalry.
In this 14th century ivory mirror case, an elopement from a castle is shown in four scenes. The piece can be read like a modern-day comic strip. The lady appears three times: being lifted down from the tower, being carried away on the knight’s horse and at the bottom escaping with her lover in a boat.
At each corner of the roundel is a monster with long wavy ears and tail. These creatures are called ‘wyverns’.
Most works of art made at this time where produced for the church and had religious subjects. This piece has a more romantic theme and was probably owned by a wealthy aristocratic woman.