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date: 17 September 2019

Wilton Diptychlocked

  • Dillian Gordon

Extract

Portable diptych (London, NG), painted on both sides (each wing 475×292 mm, egg tempera on oak), made c. 1395–9. The Wilton Diptych is named after Wilton House, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, its location from 1705 until 1929 when it was acquired by the National Gallery, London. Its subject-matter is straightforward, but its meaning enigmatic, its purpose and patron a matter of debate, and its painter and his nationality unknown.

The interior of the left wing depicts King Richard II (reg 1377–99) with SS Edmund, Edward the Confessor, and John the Baptist, while the exterior has the royal arms of England and France impaled with the arms of Edward the Confessor, with a helmet, cap of maintenance, and lion statant guardant. The right wing is painted with the Virgin and Child with angels on the interior and the exterior has a white hart lodged, chained, and gorged with a crown.

In the interior of the left wing Richard II kneels; he wears his personal emblem of the white hart, and a collar of double broomcods. He is presented by St Edward the Confessor, King of England (...

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