The founder's salt at All Souls College: the recent repair and conservation of this celebrated and unique masterpiece of medieval goldsmith's work has allowed Claude Blair and Marian Campbell to conduct the first detailed investigation into its date, origins and meaning.
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Furthermore, no evidence has ever been published either for dating the salt or for attributing it to any particular country or area, although there has always been general agreement that it was made in the fifteenth century, and a tacit assumption that it is English. Likewise, the question of whether or not it could actually have belonged to Chicheley seems never to have been discussed seriously, although a number of authorities have dated it, without offering any supporting evidence, to the second half of the fifteenth century, that is, after his death. The purpose of the present study is to consider these problems.
Documentation of the salt
We will start with an account of such documentation as we have been able to discover about the history of the salt. This should be read in conjunction with the outline pedigree of the Chicheley family (Appendix 1) and the outline descent of the salt (Appendix 2).
The source of the bequest of 1799 was Mrs Catherine Griffith, eldest daughter of Sir William St Quintin, Bt, and widow of Christopher Griffith of Padworth, Berkshire. She died on 11 September 1801, aged 72, and was buried in the parish church at Padworth, adjacent to her husband's family seat. (4) Her will, which is dated 6 February 1799, was proved on 5 October 1801, and contains the following passage: 'I give the Picture of Archbishop Chichele and the Salt Cellar he used (which I have excepted in my will out of the Bequest of Plate therein contained) to the College of All Souls Oxford which he was founder of and to whose Family my dear husbands first wife was related.' (5)
Mrs Griffith's husband, Christopher Griffith Jr, of Padworth, had died on 12 January 1776, in his 56th year, leaving the whole of his estate to her, without specifying details in his will. (6) He was the son of Christopher Griffith Sr (d. 1757), by his wife Mary (nee Brightwell), and in 1757 had married his cousin Ann (1738-58), daughter by his aunt Ann (nee Brightwell, d. 1740) of Richard Chicheley of Lambeth (d. 17 July 1737). The last-named, who at the time of his death was secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury, had become a Fellow of All Souls in 1704, undoubtedly because he had been able to establish that he was 'Founder's Kin'. (7) His will, dated 11 July 1737, with codicils of 15 and 16 July of the same year, was proved on 24 July 1738, and contains the following references to the salt. In the will he states, 'I give and bequeath to the Warden and College of All Souls Oxon my piece of Gilt Plate which was formerly Arch Bishop Chicheleys to be preserved by them in memory of their Founder.' In the codicil of 16 July he added, 'And I do give my said Daughter Ann Chicheley my piece of Gilt Plate which was formerly Arch Bishop Chicheleys to be delivered to her upon day [sic] of Marriage or when She shall be one and twenty years of Age, but if she should dye before that time I do give the same to All Souls College Oxon, as I have directed by my will.' (8)
It is clear from this why Catherine Griffith, who had married Anne Chicheley's widower, should have bequeathed the salt to All Souls.
Richard Chicheley, Christopher Griffith's first father-in-law, was one of the sons of Rear-Admiral Sir John Chicheley of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire. His elder brother, also John, was made a Fellow of All Souls in 1699, and a barrister of the Middle Temple in 1701. He died in 1727 or 1728, and in his will, dated 7 April 1727, proved 17 May 1728, left his brother Richard 'my peice of old Plate comonly called Archbishop Chicheleys Salt Seller being the figure of a Man supporting a Christiall [sic] Globe'. He had been an antiquary and collector, who at one time owned the Wilton Diptych, now in the National Gallery, London, and was also one of the people who refounded the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1717. (10) It might have been hoped, therefore, that he would have left some account of so important a piece of antiquity as the salt, or at least have exhibited it to his fellow Antiquaries so that it would be recorded in their minute books. Sadly, no doubt because of the then prevailing taste for classical antiquities, we can find no evidence that he did either of these things.
John's and Richard's father, Rear-Admiral Sir John Chicheley (d. 1691), a distinguished national figure, predeceased his own father by eight years, and his will contains no mention of the salt. (11) The father; an even more distinguished figure, was Sir Thomas Chicheley of Wimpole (1614-99), who, amongst other things, was Master General of the Ordnance. His will, dated 28 December 1693 and proved 8 June 1708, contains the following instructions:
And my mind and will is that all my Pictures and Books and my Clock with Chimes and the saltseller that was Bishop Chicheleys shall go to and be enjoyed by my Grandson Mr John Chicheley during his life And after his death to such person and persons successively as shall from time to time be possessed of my real Estate by vertue of the settlement and Limitations herein after appointed to be made of the same it being my desire that the said Pictures Books Clock and Salt should be kept and continue in the family as Heire Looms. (12)
As may be seen from the family pedigree, Sir Thomas Chicheley of Wimpole was eighth in direct descent from the Archbishop's younger brother, William Chicheley, sheriff and alderman of London. The manor of Wimpole, or Wimple, Cambridgeshire, was acquired by the Archbishop in 1428, and in 1436 he settled it on his great-nephew Henry (d. 1490), William's grandson through his son John. It descended from him to Sir Thomas, who entered into possession of it on the death of his own father in 1616. A zealous royalist, who fought for Charles I in the Civil War, he was forced by the Commonwealth government to compound for his Wimpole estate by a heavy payment. In 1686, however, he sold it to Sir John Cutler, probably being obliged to do so 'owing to his extravagance', according to The Dictionary of National Biography. (13) The loss of the family home, where the family heirlooms would have been kept, no doubt explains the special provisions made for the salt and other objects in Sir Thomas's will.
We have not been able to trace any earlier documents relating to the salt. It is not mentioned in such wills of Sir Thomas's forbears as we have been able to locate, almost certainly because it was part of the furnishings of Wimpole Hall and therefore did not call for specific mention. No inventories of the house while it was in the possession of the Chicheleys appear to have survived, nor have we been able to find either a copy of the Archbishop's will, if he made one, or any inventory of his possessions. For further information we must therefore turn to an examination of the object itself. Before doing so, however, attention must be drawn to one conclusion that can be drawn from the documents we have cited.
Sir Thomas Chicheley is hardly likely to have invented the tradition about the origin of the salt, so it may reasonably be assumed that it was already current during his childhood, that is, around 1614, the year of his birth. (14) Furthermore, during his early life he must have known many people connected with his family whose recollections went well back into the sixteenth century, from which it may also be reasonably assumed that the tradition was current at least as early as the middle of that century: that is, by a little more than a hundred years after the Archbishop's death. The latter's great-nephew Henry, on whom he settled Wimpole, and presumably other things, did not die until 1490, and his grandson, Thomas, not until 1558. Clearly, therefore, the tradition that the salt belonged to Archbishop Chichcley is supported by evidence, which, although not absolutely certain, is as near to certain as we are likely to get. The salt can therefore be dated with confidence to before 1443, the year in which Chicheley died.
Description of the salt
The salt is made entirely of silver-gilt except for the salt-receptacle and its cover, the former being of crystal and the latter of glass, probably a replacement for the original. The figure of a bearded man is shown in the act of walking, set on a low, crenellated base, decorated with narrow bands of fine ladder-like ornament, and encircled by crenellated turrets. On his head, supported by his right hand, are the salt-receptacle and cover; both are mounted in silver-gilt and decorated in a similar manner to the base, but without the turrets and with the addition of feathered edges and cross-bands. The large leafy finial on the cover (Fig. 11) encloses a seeded berry.
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The figure, 30.5 cm high, which was made hollow, is attached to the base by two bolts soldered to the soles of the man's feet which pass through holes in the base and are secured by nuts underneath (Figs. 4 and 5). The bare-headed figure has a short, forked beard and moustache. His long-sleeved, shirt-like garment is held in at the waist by a narrow girdle. The neck-opening is split at the front, while the skirt is split almost to the waist at front and rear. The shoulder seams, and the edges of the neck and hem, are bordered by narrow orphreys, those on the hem decorated with a ladder pattern resembling that on the base and cover. Suspended over the man's left hip on a narrow sword-belt is a falchion, a sword with a broad, strongly-curved blade, widening towards the clipped-back point (Fig. 9).
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The man stands on an undulating green-painted ground made from a separate circular plate (Fig. 7). This fits inside the top of the base and is held in position by the same two bolts and nuts that secure him. It is set with a series of tiny, crudely modelled and cast silver figures of animals and men, of which all but one are soldered in position. This exception, the tallest figure at 3.6 cm high, is secured in the same manner as the salt-bearer, but by a single nut and bolt. It represents a bagpiper wearing a short doublet, full, knee-length breeches with a prominent codpiece, shoes with narrow rounded toes, and a hemispherical, skullcap-like hat with a very narrow brim. Other figures include boars, hounds, running rabbits or hares, hounds pursuing stags, and two tiny men blowing large horns, wearing indeterminate costume and hats similar to the bagpiper.
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There are considerable traces of pigment, some of which appears to have been applied over an undercoat that was itself applied over gilding. On the main figure the remains of pigment are confined to the face and neck, where it now appears brown over a pink undercoat. Recent analysis by the British Museum's Scientific Research Laboratory has shown that the brown pigment was originally pink, its present colour being the result of aging. (15) The finial on the cover has traces of green pigment.
All the figures stand on the 'ground' plate, coloured green; the small figures are likewise painted. All are covered with an undercoat, of which a great deal remains, of a copper-red colour. Surviving fragments of the top coat indicate that the bagpiper's doublet was coloured red and his breeches black, and the boars, stags and hounds were fawn with black eyes. Preliminary investigation of the pigments on the base indicates that all are later in date than those on the main figure; they include Prussian blue, first used in the eighteenth century.
The earliest coloured illustration of the salt (Fig. 3), published by Henry Shaw in 1836, clearly shows that more colour was then extant: red, colouring the orphreys on the tunic; black on his shoes. His face and hands are pink. Such paint is fragile, and does not benefit from too much cleaning, which would explain the discoloration and loss of paint. (16)
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The figure's identity
The sobriquets 'Giant' and 'Huntsman' for the salt, first recorded after it was acquired by the college, obviously derive from the relationship of the main figure to the size and subjects of those on the base, and possibly also from the belief that the sword he is wearing is a hunting one. However, the figures on the base are not original to it, as is obvious from the coarseness of their design and execution, which contrasts markedly with everything else on the group. Moreover, the dress of the tallest figure, the bagpiper, points to a date within the sixteenth century. Indicators of this are the short doublet and very prominent codpiece, the round-toed shoes and the knee-breeches. Very similar dress, with narrower breeches, but including skullcap-like hats with very narrow brims similar to those worn by the bagpiper and other figures on the base of the salt, is worn, for example, by some of the figures in Peter Bruegel the Elder's well-known Peasant Dance of 1568 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. (18) Why the base of the salt should have been reconstructed in this way in the sixteenth century is unknown, but the obvious explanation is that it had been damaged.
The reason for the hunting theme on the base may be because the sword worn by the main figure was thought to be a hunting-sword, which it is not (Fig. 9). Curved swords of any kind were rare in western and northern Europe in the middle ages, and medieval representations of hunters rarely, if ever, show them with anything but straight swords of identical design to those used in battle. (19) Curved swords intended specifically for hunting seem to have started to come into use only from about 1450 and became usual only in the sixteenth century. Those used in the actual hunt (as opposed to what are, in fact, implements used for dismembering game afterwards) have narrow pointed blades that could be used for stabbing as well as cutting. (20)
The broad, fullered blade with a clipped-back point seen on the sword shown on the salt is quite impractical for hunting. It is, as was described above, a falchion, of a kind that is commonly illustrated in medieval art from the late thirteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, although there is little evidence that it existed in reality, except perhaps for use in religious dramas. It is invariably shown as worn by 'exotic' figures of all kinds, including orientals, antique heroes and biblical personages, especially villains; for example, they appear frequently carried by the last on English alabaster tablets (Fig. 10). (21) The fact that the figure on the salt is equipped with such a sword is prima facie evidence for identifying it as a representation of such a personage, as will be discussed below.
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One detail that is of particular interest in the present context is that the sword's simple straight crossguard terminating at each end in a spherical button is of a type that is not recorded before about 1425-50, and which is generally regarded as English, although some evidence suggests that it might also have been used in France. (22)
The figure's tunic is a rich version of the most basic medieval garment, identified by Joan Evans in her book on medieval French dress as the gonelle. This was worn everywhere in Europe from at least the tenth century to the end of the middle ages, and in the later period mainly by peasants and servants. (23) It was also frequently represented as worn by the kind of exotic personages already mentioned in connection with the sword. These two sorts of tunic are well represented in the Limbourg brothers' illustrations to the Tres Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry (left unfinished in 1416). Nearly all the peasants shown working in the fields wear similar garments, as do also many of the men in the biblical scenes (Fig. 14). Whereas the peasants' gonelles are plain, with, at most, coloured borders, those depicted in the biblical scenes are richly decorated, including with orphreys, and are strikingly similar to the gonelle worn by the figure under discussion. (24)
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Genre and decoration
The salt is a great or standing salt, a testimony to the magnificence of gold and silver vessels found on the dining tables of noblemen or prelates alike in the fifteenth century. Such a salt was a major item of domestic plate, indicating the wealth and status of its owner, as much as marking out the place of honour at a feast. The size of the salt cellar belies the relatively small amount of salt it contained, for its function was symbolic. (25) In considering the All Souls salt either as a piece of plate or of sculpture, the historian is faced with a dearth of comparable clearly dated surviving material from anywhere in Europe. The closest extant piece is the English Ape Salt, which may be of around 1450, of silver gilt with crystal, where the crystal howl for salt is balanced, as here, on the head of the main figure. It was given to New College, Oxford, also by an Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, in 1516. (26)
However, European royal and ducal inventories of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries abound in descriptions of elaborate salts, often exotic in form--including ostriches, elephants, dogs and dragons. (27) Figural salts seem to have been rather less common. Henry VI (d. 1471) owned at least one valuable gold salt 'covered and made lyke a carle', and another was given to him in the 1440s by his uncle Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1391-1447), in the form of 'a man with a kendale hode ... upon a terrage'. Another uncle, John, Duke of Bedford (1349-1435), owned a silver and crystal salt shaped as a labourer carrying a basket, (28) whilst the French financier Jacques Coeur in 1453 owned a gold salt shaped as a 'villein'. (29) Later, John de Vere, Earl of Oxford (c. 1443-1513), owned a crystal and silver salt, with a 'morion' (a Moor or Turk) under the crystal 'bering up the salt'. (29) But none of these pieces survive.
Style and provenance
It is rather more difficult to resolve when and where the piece might have been made. Some decorative elements seem distinctively English and can be paralleled in extant goldsmiths' work, such as the feathered edging so close to that on fifteenth-century coconut cups, and found also on the Ballard Mazer of before 1437 at All Souls. (30) The leafy finial closely resembles that on the Warden's Grace Cup at New College, Oxford, associated with Richard Mayhew, who was warden 1457-71, and the two gold finials at All Souls, probably from Chichele's own mitre (Fig. 12). (31) Crenellated ornament occurs from the early fourteenth century onwards, as on the silver Ramsey Abbey censer of c. 1325. (32)
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Far less common are the miniature turrets, an ornamental form seen not on extant English but on French or Spanish goldsmiths' work. (33) Most notably, turrets decorate the gold Trinity Altarpiece in the Louvre, of about 1380-1410, on which opinion is divided as to whether it is of Parisian or London craftsmanship. (34) The straps securing the crystal are unusual, but most closely resemble those on a Tudor royal cup, made in London in 1511-12. (35) The 'wriggle' mark (Fig. 8) underneath the base indicates where the assayer has taken his scraping. English assayers habitually obliterated the mark, but in some continental countries, especially Germany, it was often left visible.
[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]
The style of the man's head cannot easily be paralleled in any extant goldsmiths' work, but does seem to bear some resemblance to that of a head reliquary of St John the Baptist, made in Montpellier in 1440, now in a church in Quarante, France (Fig. 16). (36) But it also relates to depictions in other media--in English glass from Winchester College chapel of c. 1393, notably the head of St James (Fig. 15), with its prominent nose and cheekbones, and to the heads of saints in an altarpiece painted in Paris in about 1410 for Pierre de Wissant (Fig. 13). (37)
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The paint on the salt is a great rarity. The only other English medieval example is the fifteenth-century 'Palisade' coconut cup at New College, Oxford, which has a base or 'terrage' made up of undulating silver once coloured with paint or enamel to imitate grass. But in France silver statuettes are documented as having at least faces and hands painted, as distinct from being enamelled, from the early fourteenth century onwards. (38)
In conclusion, the salt must have been made before Chicheley's death in 1443, and probably dates from about 1420-40. It may be the work of a French goldsmith, with later repairs by an English one. Chicheley was a notable owner of French goldsmiths' work, but his patronage was wide, and included such artists as the great Herman Scheere, a Flemish illuminator based in London. (39) In the sixteenth century, it seems that the salt's base and probably its crystal bowl and cover were damaged. Repairs possibly included new straps to secure the crystal, and certainly the figures on the base and probably the plate on which they stand.
How did contemporaries view the All Souls salt, with its strikingly broad-shouldered figure, massively sturdy legs, lowering brow and deep-set eyes? If he is neither huntsman nor giant, there seem to us to be two possibilities. The first, as is suggested by the exotic form of his sword, is that he is a Moor or 'morion', and there is evidence, cited above, for the existence of such figures in this context. Another possibility might be that he is a 'carl', like the miller described by Chaucer in about 1395 in his Prologue to The Canterbury Tales: 'The millere was a stout carl for the nones ... short-sholdred, broad, a thicke knarre ... his berd was brood ... a swerd and bokeler bar he by his side.' (40) A 'carl' was originally a peasant of low status, but by Chaucer's day the name was applied loosely to any man not of gentle rank, who might, nonetheless, be well to do, like the miller. The fact that the figure on the salt is well dressed and wears a sword indicates that, if he is a carl, he comes into the latter category.
The fact that the figure is shown with a beard may lend support to either of these possible identities. So far as the upper classes were concerned, the fifteenth century, excepting the first part of it, was essentially a clean-shaven one. Beards are normally depicted in the art of the period worn only by the lower classes, the aged, orientals, saints, prophets and other biblical characters. The Tres Riches Heures provides one of many examples of this, both in the sections produced by the Limbourg brothers before 1416, and those painted to complete the manuscript between 1485 and 1489. The representations of beards in both are confined almost exclusively to the biblical characters.
The aquiline visage of our figure is not that of an old man, while the richness of his dress seems to indicate that, if he is a peasant or servant, he is no ordinary one. In view of this, and the other evidence cited above, we suggest that he represents an 'exotic' figure, possibly a biblical one and probably a servant, as indicated by the fact that he supports the salt-container on his head. Did he originally perhaps form part of an elaborate table decoration illustrating a religious scene, such as the Magi bringing their gifts to the infant Christ? This, however, must remain pure speculation.
The authors are very grateful for the assistance of the Warden and Fellows of All Souls College Oxford, and the bursar, Tom Seaman: Timothy Schroder; Janet Ambers, Sheridan Bowman, Susan La Niece and R. Stacey of the British Museum; Arthur MacGregor, Mark Norman and Tim Wilson of the Ashmolean Museum.
(1) See Helen Clifford, A Treasured Inheritance: 600 Years of Oxford Silver, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2004, no 5; Lauren Gilmour, et al. (ed.), Treasures of Oxfordshire, Oxford, 2004. no 22 p. 122: Richard Marks and Paul Williamson (eds.), Gothic Art for England 1200-1547. exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2003, no. 179. Dr J.S.G. Simmons has kindly pointed out that the earliest published illustration and description of the salt occur in 1821, in J.S. Storer and Rowley Lascelles, The University and City of Oxford ... Views, accompanied by a Dialogue, London, 1821. See also J.C. Robinson (ed.), Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods on Loan at the South Kensington Museum June, 1862, revised edition, London. 1863, no 3,201; HC Moffatt, Old Oxford Plate, London, 1906, p. 88, plate 43: C.J. Jackson, History of English plate, 2 vols., London, 1911. vol. 1, pp. 130-31; Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Oxford College Plate, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 1928, no. 64; Treasures of Oxford: Catalogue of the Exhibits Goldsmiths' Hall, London, 1953 no. 37; M. Clayton, The Collectors Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, London 1971, p. 226
(2) See Marks and Williamson op. cit., p. 33, no. 179
(3) See The Dictionary of National Biography and E.F. Jacob, Archbishop Henry Chichele London, 1967.
(4) Wall-monuments with epitaphs to Mrs Catherine Griffith, her husband, and his first wife are in the church See C. Blair. 'A Cautionary Tale: Two Monuments at Padworth, Berkshire', The Church Monuments Society Newsletter, vol. v. no. 1, Summer 1989, pp. 8-9
(5) Public Record Office (hereafter PRO), PRO 11/1364. fol. 77.
(6) PRO, Prob. 11/1016, fol. 144.
(7) Founder's Kin refers to the right given to the descendants of the founders, or of the relatives of founders, of some Oxford and Cambridge colleges to become Fellows of their foundations without any other qualification. The right was abolished in 1857 at All Souls.
(8) PRO, Prob. 11/690 fols. 254, 256.
(9) PRO, Prob. 11/622, fol. 57.
(10) See George Vertue's notes on the collection of 'Mr Chicheley of the Temple', The note-books of G Vertue relating to artists and collections In England. Walpole Society, vol. XVII [Vertue I] 1929-30 p. 50. He does not mention the Salt.
(11) PRO, Prob. 11/501, fol. 348.
(12) PRO. Prob. 11/501, fol. 351.
(13) For an account of the Chicheleys and Wimpole see The Victoria County History. A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, vol. v, Oxford, 1973, p. 265.
(14) The record of his baptism on 26 April 1614 in the Register of the parish church of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, reads 'Mr. Thomas Chichelie son of Sir Thomas baptised, born 25 March'. We are grateful to the Cambridge County Archivist, with whom the registers ale now deposited, for this information.
(15) The authors are grateful to the Warden and Fellows of All Souls College for authorising this work, and to Janet Ambers, R. Stacey and S. La Niece of the British Museum Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science for carrying it out. Their findings will be shared at a conference in Paris in September, 'Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology'. The authors would also like to thank Mark Norman, head of conservation, Ashmolean Museum, for allowing them to examine the salt in his conservation studio.
(16) These colours may still have been present in 1906, as they are mentioned by Moffatt, op. cit., p. 86, plate 43.
(17) It is called the Huntsman Salt in Henry Shaw, Specimens of Ancient Furniture, London, 1836, and Sir Samuel Meyrick, Ancient Plate and Furniture from the Colleges of Oxford & the Ashmolean Museum, London, 1836, p. 139, plate 23, under 'Medieval Founders' Relics'. Moffatt, op. cit., says that it is 'known as the Giant Salt', p. 86, plate XLIII.
(18) See Joan Evans, Dress in Medieval France, Oxford, 1952, plates 37, 48, 50a, 66; F.M. Kelly and R. Schwabe, Historic Costume: A Chronicle of Fashion in Western Europe 1490-1790, 2nd edition, London, 1929, pp. 63, 67, 69, fig. 25, plates XV, XVII, XX; Idem, A Short History of Costume and Armour, chiefly in England, London, 1931, vol. II, pp. 9, 19, fig. 7, plate V (III)
(19) On this subject see Wendelin Boeheim, Handbuch der Waffenkunde, Leipzig, 1890, p. 255; O. Gamber, 'Die Mittelalterlichen Blankwaffen der Wiener Waffensammlung', Jahrbech der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, vol. LVII, Vienna, 1961, pp. 11-14, 31-33; C. Blair, 'The Word 'Baselard', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, vol. XI, London, 1983-85, pp. 193-206, pp. 198-201.
(20) For examples, see G. Seifert, Der Hirschfanger, Schwabisch Hall, 1973.
(21) See Blair, op. cit. in n. 19 above and F. Cheetham, English Medieval Alabasters, Oxford, 1984, pp. 91, 96, 117, 137, 225-26, 229-30, 235, 312.
(22) See E. Oakeshott, 'The Swords of Castillon'. The Tenth Park Lane Arms Fair, catalogue, London, 1994, pp. 7-16. figs. 1 and 2; N. Melville, 'Towards the Identification of a Group of English Two-Hand Swords', The Eighteenth Park Lane Arms Fair, catalogue, London, 2001, pp. 19-25. The so-called Castillon swords were found in the wreck of a barge in the bed of the River Dordogne a little way upstream from the town of Castillon-la-Battaile, the site, in July 1453, of the last battle of the Hundred Years' War, which the English lost. Since they were originally packed in casks they must have been in transit, so their inevitable association with the battle is uncertain. They can, however, be dated to the second quarter of the fifteenth century on stylistic evidence.
(23) See Evans, op. cit., p. 8, and Victor Gay, Glossaire archeologique da moyen age et de la renaissance, vol. I, Paris, 1887, under 'gonelle'; G.R. Owen-Crocker, Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, Manchester, 1986; F. Pipponier and P. Mane, Dress in the Middle Ages, New Haven, CT, 1997, pp. 51, 52, 85, 108, 148.
(24) See, for example, E. Pognon, Les tres riches heures du Duc de Berry, Fribourg-Geneva, 1979, pp. 21, 27, 29, 34, 37, 94-95, 98-99, 119.
(25) M. Campbell, 'Bishop Fox's salt', in C. Ellory, H. Clifford and F. Rogers, Corpus Silver, Oxford, 1999, pp. 129-74.
(26) See Marks and Williamson, op. cit., no. 180.
(27) See Gay, op. cit., vol. II, pp. 318-320. D. Gaborit-Chopin, 'Les collections d'orfevrerie des princes Francais au milieu du XIV siecle', in Hommage a Hubert Landais-art, objets d'art, collections, Paris, 1987, pp. 46-52, especially pp. 47-48.
(28) Cited in Jenny Stratford, The Bedford Inventories, London, 1993, pp. 63, 332.
(29) See Gay, op. cit., vol. II, p. 319 [Jacques Coeur]; R.W. Lightbown, Secular Goldsmiths' Work in Medieval France, London, 1978, pp. 100-101 [de Vere salt]. The tradition of figural salts continued in Europe; 16th-17th-century survivals are discussed by John Hayward, Virtuoso Goldsmiths, London, 1976, pp. 235-37.
(30) See C.C. Oman, in John Buxton and Penry Williams (eds.), New College Oxford 1379-1979, Oxford, 1979, p. 296 and plate 72 for the New College cup; Marks and Williamson, op. cit., no. 102 for the mazer.
(31) See Oman, op. cit., p. 295-96 and fig. 69 for the Warden's Grace cup.
(32) See Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski, Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400. exh. cat., The Royal Academy, London, 1987, no. 121.
(33) See Lightbown, op. cit., pp. 106, 126 and plate 77-78 for a 15th-century French gold salt; C.C. Oman, A Golden Age of Hispanic Silver, London, 1968.
(34) See F. Avril and E. Taburet-Delahaye (eds.), Paris 1400: Les arts sous Charles VI, exh. cat., Musee du Louvre, Paris, and Marks and Williamson, op. cit., no. 10.
(35) Kindly pointed out by Tim Schroder. See T. Schroder, 'A Royal Tudor rock-Crystal and Slver-gilt Vase', Burlington Magazine, vol.CXXXVII, no. 137, June 1995, pp. 356-66, fig. 2.
(36) Les Tresors des Eglises de France, exh. cat., Musee des Art Decoratifs, Paris, 1965, no. 620.
(37) See Alexander and Binski, op. cit., no. 202.
(38) Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, 'The shrine of Elizabeth of Hungary', in E. Parker (ed.), The Cloisters: Studies in Honour of the 50th Anniversary, New York 1992, p. 334 and note 28. On the 'Palisade' cup, see Oman, op. cit., plate 71, p. 296.
(39) See Marian Campbell, 'Medieval Founders' Relics: Royal and Episcopal Patronage at Oxford and Cambridge Colleges', in P. Coss and M. Keen (eds.), Heraldry, Pageantry and Social Display in Medieval England, pp. 125-142; see also Marks and Williamson, op. cit., no. 99-103, and Barrie Dobson, 'Two Ecclesiastical Patrons, Archbishop Henry Chichele of Canterbury (1414-43) and Bishop Richard Fox (1501-28)', in Marks and Williamson, op. cit., pp. 234-243. Between 1405 and 1419 Chicheley is recorded as being involved in at least nine diplomatic missions for Henry IV and Henry V, including six to France, the first when he was still only a mere canon. The others, from 1410 onwards, when he was already a bishop, are the ones that are most likely to have given him the opportunity to acquire French plate.
(40) See F.N. Robinson (ed.), The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd edition, London, 1957, vol II, pp. 545-32.
(41) See also Benjamin Buckler, Stemmata Chicheleana: or, a Genealogical account of some of the families derived from Thomas Chichele, of Higham-Ferrers, etc, Oxford, 1765, and idem, A Supplement to the Stemmata Chicheleana, etc., Oxford, 1775.
Claude Blair is former keeper of metalwork at the V&A, and author of numerous publications on early metalwork, especially arms and armour, and on medieval church-monuments.
Marian Campbell is senior curator in the department of sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and glass at the V&A, and has published widely, especially on medieval enamels, goldsmiths' work and on decorative ironwork.
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|Author:||Blair, Claude; Campbell, Marian|
|Article Type:||Cover Story|
|Date:||May 1, 2005|
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