Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Romance casket; bone. Rectangular plaques, with copper gilt mounts and standing on four copper gilt legs. The underneath panel of vernis brun. The ivory plaques carved with illustrations from the story of Tristram and Isolde. The lid: a couple lying in bed attended by a servant with a vessel, within an arcade and between two architectural towers. The front: a couple in an arcaded niche above crenellated walls. The back: two battling knights amongst trees, between two towers. The lid, front and back within borders of simple quatrefoils. Each end: a couple flank a tree, above a crenellated wall and between two towers. The ends within borders of grooved columns.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1180-1200
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 143 millimetres
    • Width: 95 millimetres
    • Height: 93 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Blurton 1997
    This is one of the earliest representations in medieval art of the Romance of Tristram and Isolde. The scene on the top face of the casket shows the central episode in the story - Brangwain brings the love potion in a covered cup to Tristram and Isolde who are in bed together. Isolde is the wife of King Mark of Cornwall. The other scenes around the side of the casket are scenes of love and war which may not be specifically related to the Romance of Tristram.


  • Bibliography

    • Blurton 1997 206 bibliographic details
    • Robinson 2008 p. 209 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc10/sD

  • Exhibition history

    2011-2012 04 Nov-26 Feb, Germany, Cologne, Museum Schnütgen, Köln Glanz und Größ
    1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
    1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
    1995 13 May-31 Oct, Italy, Tirol, Südtiroler Landesmuseum, A Prince’s Dream : Meinhard II – The Genesis of Tirol

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Carved bone casket with Romance scenes


COMPASS Title: Carved bone casket with Romance scenes

Image description



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Object reference number: MCM3375

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