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Casket, with quatrefoils (coffret; quatre-feuilles) (Front)

Casket, with quatrefoils (coffret; quatre-feuilles) (Front)
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End, left

End, right



End, right




Secular. Courtly love. Romance.

Repository Institution

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New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art


Ivory;metal (fittings)

Height: 121mm
Width: 241mm
Depth: 149mm

Romance of the Châtelaine de Vergi
Register 1: Courting couple (meeting of lovers); the Châtelaine secretly meets the knight; offering of the heart. Châtelaine discussing with the knight. The Châtelaine trains her dog to be her messenger. The Châtelaine sends her dog to the knight.
Register 2: The dog finds the knight. The knight and the Châtelaine meet in her bedroom; the knight chucks the Châtelaine under the chin. The knight rejects the advances made by the Duchess of Burgundy; bed. The Duchess tells the Duke of Burgundy that the knight has offended her (both wear crowns).
Body, front
The Duke, discovering the two corpses, removes the sword from the body of the knight and goes in search of the Duchess. The Duke beheads the Duchess at the ball; ladies dancing a carole.
End, right
The knight, to exonerate himself, tells the Duke about his liaison with the Châtelaine; horses; trees.
Body, back
The knight brings the duke of Burgundy through the forest. The duke observes the meeting of the two lovers, hidden behind a tree; the knight embraces the Châtelaine, her dog is at her feet. Ladies dancing a carole; the Duchess compliments the Châtelaine on her skill at training dogs; two musicians blowing trumpets.
End, left
The knight, discovering the dead body of the Châtelaine, commits suicide by piercing his chest with a sword; servant.

Koechlin Number: 1309

Koechlin 1924: France, 2nd half of 14th century.
Museum's opinion 2012: France (Paris), c. 1320-1340.


Various labels on the bottom. Red printed label: 'ART TREASURES EXHIBITION 1857 MUSEUM OF ART' (referring to the Manchester exhibition. Handwritten inscription on this label: 'WELLESLEY'.Cuttings from the Keele Hall Heirlooms sale catalogue, including the full catalogue entry. Later label: '743'.

Object Condition
Missing: lock.
Holes for missing fittings.

The story starts on the lid, goes on on the right end panel, then continues around the sides of the casket to end on the front panel with the death of the Duchess. The depiction of the story on this object differs on several points from the convention displayed by other caskets (see Gross 1979, Randall 1993).

Collection of Rev. Dr. Henry Wellesley, Oxford (until 1866). Collection of Jeffery Whitehead, London. Collection of Rev. Walter Sneyd, Keele Hall, Staffordshire: sale, Juny 1902 (?), lot 2448. Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (d. 1913), London and New York; estate of J. Pierpont Morgan (1913-1917); gift of J. Pierpont Morgan in 1917.

Catalogue of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, collected at Manchester in 1857, exhibition catalogue, 1857.
A. Darcel and E. Molinier, Exposition rétrospective de l'art français au Trocadéro (Lille, 1889), no. 123.
K. Borinski, 'La Chastelaine de Vergy in der Kunst des Mittelalters', in Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft, II, 1909, pp. 58-63.
O. M. Dalton, Catalogue of the Ivory Carvings of the Christian Era in the British Museum (London, 1909), note under no. 367.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 509, 512; II, no. 1309.
W. Bombe, 'La Châtelaine de Vergy en Italie', in Gazette de Beaux-Arts, 1927, vol. LXIX, p. 186ff.
M. Locey, 'La chastelaine de Vergy', in The Register of the Museum of Art, the University of Kansas, IV, 2 (1970), pp. 1-23.
L. Gross, 'La Chastelaine de Vergi Carved in Ivory', in Viator 10 (1979), pp. 311-321.
R. H. Randall, The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Ivory Carvings in North American Collections (New York, 1993), p. 122.


Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photograph by Thomas Vinton, Medieval Art and The Cloisters.

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