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Savernake Horn

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Savernake Horn
  • Description

    Savernake Horn; elephant ivory; silver, enamel, leather. The ivory horn cut into sixteen facets; with four silver mounts, a mouth-piece and three bands encircling the horn; silver band around mouth has foliage divided into sixteen compartments each with bird under triple canopy; band divided into sixteen compartments with engraved figures of a king, bishop and forester; twelve of remaining compartments show alternately figures of dogs and animals, thirteenth with lion; all panels decorated with translucent enamel which is partly preserved; next band divided into sixteen compartments, fifteen showing hunting scenes, one with huntsman blowing a horn, this band never enamelled, last occupied by suspension loop; mouthpiece decorated with lines alternately filled with chevrons; leather baldric in two parts: (1): leather strap with six silver roundels and four striped belt stiffeners, roundels emblazoned argent three lions within double fresson flory counter flory gules; roundels have circular back plates on other side of leather, one of which is missing; (2): harness formed of two strips of leather with buckle and hook at either end; strips held together by hinged mount engraved with design of lion couchant, moth and two birds, possibly herons; traces of translucent green and opaque red enamel remain; plates to which this mount is attached, two roundels, and one of the plates emblazoned with same arms as roundels on belt; second hook plate larger than first and engraved on both sides with stag under tree; hatched on obverse, reverse with diaper pattern; no traces of enamelling; arms of the Randolph, Earls of Moray.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 12thC (horn)
    • 1325-1350 (enamelled silver bands at bell of horn)
    • 18thC(early) (silver fittings nearer the mouthpiece)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 635 millimetres (along line of horn)
    • Length: 585 millimetres (along chord of horn)
    • Length: 1250 millimetres (belt)
    • Length: 190 millimetres (harness)
    • Diameter: 132 millimetres (baldric)
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Alexander & Binski, 1987, see bibliography:
    'The importance of the horn lies in the two silver bands, divided into sixteen compartments, at the bell of the horn. The top band is turned inwards to form a narrow flange decorated with sixteen birds, each beneath a canopy. On the sides of this band two adjacent figures frame the engraved figures of a bearded king and bishop. They face one another, each with a hand raised. Next to the king stands a forester blowing a horn. Twelve of the remaining compartments show alternating figures of hunting dogs and forest animals. The thirteenth, diametrically opposite the king, has a seated lion. The second band has sixteen compartments all with hunting dogs and animals of the chase. The backgrounds of both bands have translucent enamel, while the figures of the people and animals are reserved and gilded. These two bands are among the few enamels of the period that are certainly of British origin'


  • Bibliography

    • Shalem & Glaser 2014 F7 bibliographic details
    • Pradel et al 1968 no433 bibliographic details
    • Alexander & Binski 1987 no544 bibliographic details
    • Cherry 1977 pp201-211 ('The Savernake Horn') bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc3

  • Exhibition history

    2015 13 Mar-1 Sep, London, The British Library, Magna Carta
    1987-1988 6 Nov-6 Mar, London, Royal Academy of Arts, Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: The Savernake Horn


COMPASS Title: The Savernake Horn

Image description



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Object reference number: MCM8038

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