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Casket, with arches, quatrefoils, rosettes (coffret; frise d'arcatures; quatre-feuilles)

Casket, with arches, quatrefoils, rosettes (coffret; frise d'arcatures; quatre-feuilles)
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Body, front

End, left

Body, back


End, right

Secular. Courtly love. Romance.

Repository Institution

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Milan, Castello Sforzesco, Civiche Raccolte d'Arte Applicata

Avori 34

Ivory;silver (fittings)

Height: 100mm
Width: 230mm
Depth: 125mm

Romance of the Châtelaine de Vergi.
Register 1: Courting couple (meeting of lovers); the Châtelaine secretly meets the knight; dog. Châtelaine discussing with the knight; Châtelaine and knight holding hands. The knight rejects the advances made by the Duchess of Burgundy; the Duchess chucks the knight under the chin; bed. The Duchess tells the Duke of Burgundy that the knight has offended her.
Register 2: the Châtelaine trains her dog to be her messenger. The Châtelaine sends her dog to the knight; knight with a hawk on his wrist. The knight and the Châtelaine meet in her bedroom; the knight chucks the Châtelaine under the chin; couple embracing. The Duke of Burgundy threatens the knight, kneeling in prayer; sword.
Body, back
The knight, to exonerate himself, tells the Duke about his liaison with the Châtelaine and 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. The duke tells the duchess about their idyll; bed. The Châtelaine receives an invitation to the Carnival ball organised by the Duchess.
End, right
Ladies dancing a carole; the Duchess compliments the Châtelaine on her skill at training dogs; two musicians blowing trumpets.
Body, front
The Châtelaine, seeing that her secret has been betrayed, dies of sorrow; bed; sword; servant. The knight, discovering the dead body of the Châtelaine, commits suicide by piercing his chest with a sword. The Duke, discovering the two corpses, removes the sword from the body of the knight and goes in search of the Duchess.
End, left
The Duke beheads the Duchess at the ball; musicians holding their trumpets.
Pointed trefoils.

Koechlin Number: 1303

Koechlin 1924; Vitali 1976; Zastrow 1978 and Museum's opinion 2009: France, 1st half of 14th century.


Object Condition
Right border of the lid partly broken.

On loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera di Milano to the Museum since 1864.

J. O. Westwood, Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 368.
D. Sant'Ambrogio, 'Il Cofanetto colla leggenda della Castellana di Vergi', in L'Osservatore cattolico (25 July 1908).
D. Sant'Ambrogio, 'Pel Museo di Porta Giovia. Preziosi avori con storie cavalleresche già nella Certosa di Pavia', in L'Osservatore cattolico (24 July 1909).
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, p. 509, 513; II, no. 1303.
G. Nicodemi, 'Avori del Castello Sforzesco', in Città di Milano (January 1929), p. 14.
G. Belloni, 'Avori, bronzi, ed orificerie', in Città di Milano (February-March 1963), p. 90.
M. Valsecchi, Tesori in Lombardia: avori e oreficerie (Milan, 1973), p. 90.
O. Zastrow, 'Avori', in Capolavori di arte decorativa nel Castello Sforzesco (Milan, 1975), p. 157.
L. Vitali, Avori gotici francesi (Milan, 1976), no. 4.
O. Zastrow, Museo d'arti applicate: gli avori (Milan, 1978), no. 41, pl. 76-90.
Avori bizantini e medievali nel museo nazionale di Ravenna, ed. by L. Martini and C. Rizzardi (Ravenna, 1990), p. 53, fig. 28.
Restituzioni 2000. Capolavori restaurati, exhibition catalogue, Vicenza, Gallerie di Palazzo Montanari, 16 September-19 November 2000 (Milan, 2000), pp. 126-131.
J. Robinson, Masterpieces: Medieval Art (London, 2008), p. 220.


© Civiche Raccolte d'Arte Applicata del Castello Sforzesco, Milano.
Photographs Saporetti Immagini d'arte, Milano.

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