12 December 2000
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
A CARVED IVORY MIRROR CASE COVER
FRENCH, 14TH CENTURY
Depicting a man and woman on horseback; with grotesque beasts on the corners; the reverse inscribed 'A 353'.
31/8 in. (8 cm.) high
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R. Koechlin, Ivoires Gothiques Françaises, no. 1020, pl. CLXXVIII.
A. Maskel, Ivories, Vermont, 1966, pl. 48, p. 532.
Mirror cases with secular imagery - often depicting scenes of courtly love or tournaments - were extremely popular in 14th century France. Comparable examples exist in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Koechlin, loc. cit.) and in the Wallace Collection (Maskel, loc. cit.).
The reverse of this ivory is carved with a circular recess which would originally have held a sheet of highly polished tin or silver, the most common form of mirror before the widespread introduction of glass examples.
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