Art/ 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:
Not on view
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
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages," March 28, 1975–June 15, 1975.

Paris. Musée de la Mode et du Textile. "Le Cas du Sac: histoire d'une utopie portative," October 5, 2004–February 20, 2005.

Lefébure, Ernest. Broderie et Dentelles. Bibliothèque de l'Enseignement des Beaux-arts. Paris: A. Picard & Kaan, 1904. p. 86.

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

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

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "List of Accessions and Loans." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 22, no. 3 (March 1927). p. 93.

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

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

Seidel, Linda. Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait: Stories of an Icon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. pp. 123, 125, fig. 61.

Blanc, Monique. "L'Argent, le Pouvoir, l'Apparat: le Sac de Presige au Moyen Âge." In Le Cas du Sac: Histoires d'une Utopie Portrative, edited by Musée de la Mode et du Textile and Hermès. Paris: Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, 2004. p. 214.

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