Seal-die of an English baron

A bigger picture

Around the time of the First Crusade in 1095, a literary tradition emerged in France that has become known by the name Courtly Love. The traditions and ideals became more prominent in England from 1152 after Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II. Courtly love is closely tied to notions of chivalry and knighthood and is represented in many medieval artefacts as well as in paintings, music and literature.

A citole or medieval equivalent of a guitar


An instrument closely associated with courtly love. See the British Library link in For the classroom to see a citole in use.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/citole/zAElD70X23l7fw

French enamel casket


Showing scenes of combat, music, dance and courtly love.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/casket-with-troubadours/CQHrLkb5OJpU6A

Ivory mirror case


An ivory mirror case showing a scene of courtly love as a young man and woman hunt together with a falcon.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/ivory-mirror-back-with-hawking-scene/7gGWezum5haDFA

The Dunstable Swan jewel


A sign of a family’s descent from the Swan Knight, the mysterious hero of a romantic tale of courtly love.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/the-dunstable-swan-jewel/HAG8aNN2_1XdxQ

A decorative shield


Showing a scene of courtly love, featuring a knight, a lady and the figure of death.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/shield-of-parade/9gHIWdqqbwx0hA

The lid of an ivory casket


Showing a joust and an assault on the Castle of Love.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?partid=1&assetid=20430&objectid=48409
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Seal-die of an English baron