Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chest in Camps 1338-1425

From Agnolo Gaddi’s Dream of the Emperor Heraclius at Santa Croce (1385-87)

Illustrations in the Romance of Alexander (Bodley 264), c. 1338-44; 83v, 124r, 184r, and 198v

Preparations for a tournament; scene with horses and pavilions. Roman du Roy Meliadus de Leonnoys BL Add. 12228, f.150.

Hannibal and the spies, Ab urbe condita (BNF Fr. 261, fol. 25), first quarter of the 15th century

Many of these chests are without feet, which would be liable to damage as you dragged them in and out of wagons or carts. However, having the bottom of the chest lie on damp ground is also undesirable, and some of these have low feet, although they aren’t easy to see in the tiny illuminations: look carefully at Romance of Alexander 198v and the chest on the left in 124v, and the chest furthest inside the tent in Meliadus. Chests with high feet would also consume valuable volume in the carts used by an army on the march.


Woodcrafter said...

So it would appear in the 14th century at least that chest taken on campaign or travels were not footed chests. Neither do we see such chests propped up on billets of wood to keep them off the damp ground.

Ed said...

Umm...two of the three links show up as blank for me.

Woodcrafter said...

Thank you for pointing out those chests. They are not 'footed' in the sense that footed chests raise the chest up to a height that does not require you to bend down to reach the inside bottom. However they are equiped with short feet to raise them off the damp! This is excellent news. A footed chest, as well as risking leg damage, would also waste alot of space in a cart as other chests would not stack well upon them or under them. But those short legs would answer the problem for sure.