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Mirror case (valve de miroir) (Front)

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

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Paris, Musée du Louvre; on loan to the Musée national du Moyen Âge-Musée de Cluny

OA 115

Ivory;metal (modern stubs on the left)

Height: 87mm
Width: 82mm
Depth: 8mm

Courting couple (meeting of lovers); offering of a wreath of flowers (chaplet); crosshatched background; man wearing a houppelande with long sleeves and a big cloth cap or chaperon; lady wearing pendant sleeves hemmed with fur, and an elaborate horned headdress (à bourrelet); lady holding a dog.
Foliated corner terminals. Crosshatched background.
Carved inscription: 'en gre'.

Westwood 1876: France, ca. 1400.
Koechlin 1924: modern.
Randall 1985: Italy, N. (Milan?), c. 1410.
Gaborit-Chopin 2003 and Museum's opinion 2010: Italy, N. (Milan?), beginning of the 15th century.


Screw thread with notches for a pendant.
Mastic for the adhesion of a mirror (lost).Labelled: 'Chefs d'oeuvre de l'art français / 1937', 'OA 115 / Louvre / Mol. 105', 'N 105', 'A 62'.

The carved cursive inscription 'en gre' is the end of a motto begun on the pendant mirror back with the inscription 'prenes', now in Baltimore (Walters Art Museum, 71.107). These words mean 'Take kindly' and come from a poem by Christine de Pisan: 'Prenez en gre le don de votre amant' ('Take kindly the gift of your lover').

Collection of Pietro di Giacomo Gradenigo, Venice, mid-18th century (see drawing by Jan Ivan Gravenbroeck in the catalogue of the aforementioned collection, at the Museo civico, Venice, cf. Ross, 1939). Collection of Alexandre-Charles Sauvageot, Paris (no. 275); gift of A.-C. Sauvageot, 1856; on loan to the on loan to the Musée de Cluny-Musée national du Moyen Âge since 1948, renewed by arrêté of 10 July 1986.

A. Sauzay, Musée impérial du Louvre. Catalogue du musée Sauvageot (Paris, 1861), no. 275.
A. Sauzay, Musée de la Renaissance [Musée du Louvre]. Notice des ivoires (Paris, 1863), no. 62.
E. Viollet-le-Duc, Dictionnaire raisonné du mobilier français de l'époque carolingienne à la Renaissance (Paris, 1872-1875), fig. p. 136.
J. O. Westwood, Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), no. 869 ('55.50).
E. Molinier, Musée National du Louvre. Catalogue des ivoires (Paris, 1896), no. 105.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), II, no. 1115 (cited only).
Chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art français, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Palais national des arts (Paris, 1937), not catalogued.
M. C. Ross, 'A Gothic Ivory Mirror Case', in Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 2 (1939), pp. 109-111.
O. Beigbeder, Les Ivoires, Paris, 1965, fig. 54.
R. H. Randall, Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery (New York, 1985), p. 234 (in relation to 71.107, no. 348).
Héloïse et Abélard, exhibition catalogue, Cluny, Musée Ochier, 2001.
D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires médiévaux, Ve-XVe siècle (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2003), no. 277.


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