Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Purse with scenes from the story of Patient Griselda

14th century
Silk and metal thread on canvas
Overall: 6 x 5 5/8in. (15.2 x 14.3cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 1927
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
This embroidered scene depicts the popular medieval tale of Griselda, a poor maiden who was tested long and cruelly by her noble husband and thus exemplifies ideal Christian patience. The story appeared in various forms, the best known of which is "The Clerk’s Tale" in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The needlework may have been made professionally, or by its owner, inasmuch as needlework was considered an essential part of a woman’s education.
Edward S. Harkness
Lefébure, Ernest. Broderie et Dentelles. Bibliothèque de l'Enseignement des Beaux-arts. Paris: A. Picard & Kaan, 1904. p. 86.

Errera, Isabelle, and Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire. Collection de Broderies Anciennes Décrites. Brussels: J.E. Goosens, 1905. no. 21.

Seligman, G. S., Talbot Hughes, and Country Life. Domestic Needlework: Its Origins and Customs throughout the Centuries. London, 1926. fig. XI.

Morris, Frances. "A Gift of Embroideries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 27, no. 7 (July 1927). p. 188, ill. p. 188.

Wentzel, Hans. "Almosentasche." Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte 1 (1937).

Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: Dutton Publishing, 1975. no. 88a, p. 80.

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