Click here to skip to content

The Turkish Army on the March, in the 'Romance of the Three King's Sons'

The Turkish Army on the March, in the 'Romance of the Three King's Sons'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1485

Shelfmark: Harley MS 326

Item number: f.90r

Length: 23.3

Width: 17.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Medieval romances--stories of knights and their ladies--were written for courtly audiences which were largely female. Translated into English from French, the 'Romance of the Three King's Sons' has as its main characters three young princes who venture off to battle the Turks: Philip of France, Humphrey of England and David of Scotland. While the story concerns their campaigns and travels, much female input comes from characters such as Iolante of Sicily, and the entertaining plot has intrigue and some twists and turns. This illustrated manuscript of it was probably made in London, from the evidence of its London and Midlands flavoured Middle English and similarities with another manuscript. It is not known whether it was made to order for a particular person or speculatively for sale. Its numerous pictures, unlike earlier medieval illustrations on the whole, may have been 'invented' or adapted from illustrations of other stories, as no other copy of the story survives with such extensive illustration. The pictures in this copy of the story are remarkable because the artist has taken every opportunity to paint wide views of landscapes and include genre ('daily life') or exotic details. In this scene of the Turkish army on the march in Sicily, the figures move through a varied, extensive landscape, their splendid, foreign armour, costume and weapons on display. The artist plays up the drama and epic quality of an army on the move.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: