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Tristan Quilt – Wikipedia

Tristan Quilt – Wikipedia

2023-04-18 23:03:34

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Element of the Tristan quilt exhibiting a noble and a herald.

The Tristan Quilt, generally known as the Tristan and Isolde Quilt or the Guicciardini Quilt, is without doubt one of the earliest surviving quilts on this planet.[1] Depicting scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde, an influential romance and tragedy, it was made in Sicily throughout the second half of the 14th century.[2] There are at the least two extant sections of the quilt, certainly one of which is displayed within the Victoria and Albert Museum‘s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, and the opposite within the Bargello in Florence.[1][2] A 3rd quilt, additionally depicting Tristan and Isolde, however not regarded as a part of the V&A and Bargello examples, is held in personal palms.[3] The Tristan Quilts are the one identified surviving intact examples of medieval quilts.[4]

Materials and building[edit]

Element of a knight’s palms and arms. Floor put on has uncovered the wadding beneath.

The quilt is made out of two layers of linen, stitched along with wadding in between. Backstitch in cream and brown linen thread defines a sequence of images with captions which were introduced into relief by inserting rolls of cotton stuffing to boost sections of the design, a method referred to as trapunto. The stuffing might have been launched throughout the quilting course of, or as a result of the backing layer is looser in weave, its threads might have been parted to introduce the stuffing; some parts are performed utilizing wire quilting.[2]


Element of Tristan from scene 7

Element of King Mark from scene 7

Element of rowers from scene 8

The imagery on the quilt resembles the narrative of chapters 17–19 of a 14th-century novella, La Tavola Rotonda o L’Istoria di Tristano, which describes the oppression of Cornwall by Languis of Ireland and his champion Amoroldo (a variation on “Morholt“), and the battle of Tristan on behalf of King Mark of Cornwall.[2] The foliage on the quilt consists of ivy and grape vines, a reference to the crops that grew and intertwined from the tombs of the doomed Tristan and Isolde.[2] The scenes on the V&A quilt should not of their authentic order, having been re-arranged sooner or later.[2] Every scene has a caption within the Sicilian language.

There are six scenes within the central part of the V&A quilt, with a border of four-leaf clovers:

1: Morholt, bearing a fleur-de-lis protect, is proven capturing with a bow while on horseback in a ship. A page rows the boat. Caption: COMU LU AMORODU FERIU: TRISTAINU A TRaDIMANTU (“How the Morholt wounded Tristan”)
2: A fortress with a king and queen and a 3rd particular person looking, probably Languis and Lotta and their daughter Isolde ready for Morholt. Partial caption: …SITA: IN AIRLANDIA (“…in Eire”)
3: Tristan, with a three-horned protect, fights Morholt on an island. Caption: COMU: TRISTAINU FERIU LU AMOROLLDU In TESTA (“How Tristan wounded Morholt within the head”)
4: A web page with a saddled horse. Caption: COMU:LU InNA (?) DELU AMOROLDU: ASPECTTAUA LU PATRUNU (“How the Morholt’s web page waited for his grasp”)
5: A ship being pushed away by Tristan’s foot. Caption: COMU TRISTAINU BUCTA: LA VARCA: ARRETU: INTU ALLU MARU (“How Tristan struck his boat behind him into the ocean”)
6: Tristan together with his horse and protect. Caption: COMU: TRISTAINU: ASPECTA: LU AMOROLDU: ALLA ISOLA DI LU MARU: SANSA UINTURA (“How Tristan awaits Morholt on the isle Sanza Ventura within the sea”)

There are additionally eight scenes within the border. Alongside the decrease edge are two scenes:

7: Mark of Cornwall receives a letter from two kneeling ambassadors whereas Tristan stands behind them. Caption:COMU (li m) ISSAGIERI: SO UINNTI: AL (lu) RRE: MARGU: Per LU TRIBUTU DI SECTI ANNI (“How the ambassadors are come to King Mark for the tribute of seven years”)
8: The ambassadors, in a ship rowed by troopers and bearing a fleur-de-lis banner. Caption: COMU: LU RRE: LANGUIs: MANDA: Per LU TRABUTU In CORNUALIA (“How Languis despatched to Cornwall for the tribute”)

On the left facet, from the highest:

9: A ship, bearing fleur-de-lis banners with a person blowing a boatswain’s call within the poop deck. Caption: COMU: LU AMOROLDU: EUINUTU: IN CORNUALGIA: CUm XXXX GALS (“How Morholt got here to Cornwall with forty galleys“)
10: Tristan giving his glove to Morholt. Caption: COMU: Tristainu DAI: LU GUAnTU ALLU AMOROLDU DELA BACTAGLIA (“How Tristan offers the glove of battle to Morholt”)
11: A Cornish noble paying cash to seven of Morholt’s males. Caption: COMU: LU AMOROLDU: SULDARI: LA GENTI (“How Morholt made the folks pay”)

On the suitable facet, from the highest:

12: A ship bearing a fleur-de-lis banner with Morholt within the poop deck with a person blowing a boatswain’s name. Caption: COMU: LU AMOROLDU VAI: In CORNUALGIA (“How Morholt involves Cornwall”)
13: King Languis, with three nobles behind him, offers a letter to 2 kneeling ambassadors, whereas Morholt stands behind them. Caption: COMU: LURRE: LANGUIS: CUMANDA: CHI VAIA: LO OSTI: CORNUAGLIA (“How King Languis ordered that the host ought to go to Cornwall”)
14: Morholt, with a mace, with a herald blowing a trumpet. Caption: COMO: LU AMOROLDU FAB ANDIRI: LU OSTI: In CORNUALGIA (“How Morholt made the host go to Cornwall”)

The Bargello quilt has eight scenes and is made out of three longitudinal strips joined.[2] A few of the scenes on the Bargello quilt painting Tristan leaving his foster-father’s court docket to go to Mark of Cornwall; the assembly of Tristan with Morholt for fight; and their battle on horseback.[4]

A 3rd quilt in a non-public assortment, regarded as from the identical atelier however not really a part of these two quilts, features a central medallion exhibiting Tristan and Isolde on a subject of fleur de lis.[3]


The V&A quilt measures 320 cm (10 ft 6 in) excessive by 287 cm (9 ft 5 in) vast. These measurements had been verified in 2006 when it was ready for show within the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries.[2]

See Also

The Bargello quilt measures 247 cm (8 ft 1 in) excessive by 207 cm (6 ft 9 in) vast.[2]


Current analysis has urged that the quilts had been made as a pair of wall hangings, and subsequently altered.[2] Some sources state that there was a 3rd quilt, believed to have been made for the royal Capetian House of Anjou.[5] This third fragment, referred to as the Pianetti or Azzolini quilt, is in personal palms and is believed to come back from the identical supply because the V&A and Bargello quilts.[3]

The textile historian Sarah Randles argues that the 2 quilts had been initially one massive quilt, measuring a monumental 6 metres excessive by 4 metres vast, and that vital sections are lacking.[4] Randles’ plan for the quilt means that the scenes would have been organized clockwise within the border, with the central photos paired and studying backside to prime.[4] Ultraviolet mild assessments on the Bargello quilt revealed traces of calcium on the reverse, which might have come from its use as a wall hanging,[4] although such use might not have been the unique intention.

Historical past[edit]

Tristan’s protect with three looking horns.

It was lengthy believed that the quilts had been made to be given as a marriage present to Pietro di Luigi Guicciardini and Laodomia Acciaiuli in 1395.[2][5] though latest analysis suggests an earlier date. The three looking horns on Tristan’s protect are the coat of arms of the Guicciardini household.[2] The inventories of the Guicciardini household don’t embrace a definitive reference to the quilts, however do point out “three quilted bedcovers”.[2]

The V&A quilt, in line with its museum quantity (1391-1904), was acquired in 1904.

The Bargello acquired their quilt in July 1927 from Depend Paolo Guicciardini, to whose household it’s believed the quilt had at all times belonged.[2]


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