Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-century France

The Testament of Blanche of Navarre (1331-1398)


In Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-century France: The Testament of Blanche of Navarre (1331-1398) Marguerite Keane considers the object collection of the long-lived fourteenth-century French queen Blanche of Navarre, the wife of Philip VI (d. 1350). This queen’s ownership of works of art (books, jewelry, reliquaries, and textiles, among others) and her perceptions of these objects is well -documented because she wrote detailed testaments in 1396 and 1398 in which she described her possessions and who she wished to receive them. Keane connects the patronage of Blanche of Navarre to her interest in her status and reputation as a dowager queen, as well as bringing to life the material, adornment, and devotional interests of a medieval queen and her household.

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Biographical Note
Marguerite Keane, Ph.D. (2002), University of California, Santa Barbara, is an Associate Professor of Art History at Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey. A specialist in medieval art, she has published on fourteenth-century French art with a particular interest in art commissioned by and for women.
Review Quotes
"For queenship scholars, Keane’s book is essential reading for both its methodology and its conclusions about the meanings of patronage, politics, and cultural power at court. And it opens fruitful avenues for research into the history of emotions. It will speak to a much wider audience of historians, art historians, and their students, both graduate and advanced undergraduate, who will appreciate her close textual analysis of
the testament and her insightful reading of the objects."
Theresa Earenfight, Seattle University, in: Renaissance Quarterly 70.4 (2017), pp. 1561-2.
Table of contents
Acknowledgements vii
List of Figures and Tables ix
Notes on Translation, Citation, and Names xi
Introduction 1
1 The Life and Patronage of Blanche of Navarre 19
Conflict with the Monks of Saint-Denis 33
Childhood and Marriage 41
Widowhood and Early Commissions 44
The Dowager Queen as Mediator: Charles of Navarre and the Hundred
Years War 52
The Dowager Queen at Home and at Court 56
2 The Testament: Legal Document and Sentimental Autobiography 61
3 Books as Evidence to Perpetuate Memory 77
4 Reliquaries, Altarpieces, and Paintings 116
Devotional Spaces within the Household 119
Reliquaries 126
5 Wearable Reliquaries, Metalwork, and Gems 151
The Reliquary Belt of Philip VI 153
Reliquary Brooches 156
Heirloom Diamonds 159
Heirloom Paternoster Beads 166
The Queen’s Crowns and Sealing Ring 169
6 Textiles: Vestments, Wall Hangings, and Clothing 178
Conclusions 202
Appendices: Gifts and Their Recipients 206
1 Gifts of Books 206
2 Gifts of Reliquaries, Altarpieces, and Paintings 212
3 Gifts of Wearable Reliquaries, Metalwork, and Gems 220
4 Gifts of Textiles 226
Bibliography 231
Index 255
All interested in medieval France, medieval queenship, the media of medieval books, jewelry, textiles, and reliquaries, in the history of collecting, and those interested in domestic devotional practice.
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