• Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

The Beautiful Casket that Killed Mary, Queen of Scots


Dec 9, 2022

Mary I of Scotland, or Mary, Queen of Scots is without doubt one of the most iconic monarchs in British historical past. She had an unimaginable impression on each Scottish and English historical past, and her life was certainly one of tragedy, romance, and drama. However do you know she can be partly liable for one of many most interesting examples of a French silver casket we’ve right now? Generally known as the Mary, Queen of Scots Casket, it is without doubt one of the few lasting caskets of its period, with no different examples being of such prime quality. It was additionally a key artifact within the intrigue that led to her downfall.

The Origins of the Casket

The Mary, Queen of Scots Casket was made in Paris on the finish of the fifteenth or early sixteenth century. We all know this because of the 2 makers’ stamps which might be embossed onto the exterior underside panel. The mark is of a topped  fleur-de-lis, figuring out the casket as unmistakably Parisian. After 1506,  King Louis XII  ordered goldsmiths to begin utilizing a brand new mark, which suggests the casket was made earlier than then. It’s believed that the casket was given to Mary by her first husband, Francis II of France.

The fleur-de-lis marker on the underside of the casket helped decide its French provenance and connection to Mary, Queen of Scots ( National Museums Scotland )

The casket is intricately adorned, with what is named strapwork on the lid. It options alternating broad bands of three-dimensional scrolling leaves and flowers, and narrower, flat bands of florettes. 

The casket is a beautiful example of French craftsmanship in the age of Mary, Queen of Scots. View of the strapwork and floral designs on the top. (National Museums Scotland)

The casket is a ravishing instance of French craftsmanship within the age of Mary, Queen of Scots. View of the strapwork and floral designs on the highest. ( National Museums Scotland )

In the meantime, the perimeters are adorned with pinpricked birds, flowers, a  rabbit, and a working stag, and canine. This work could have been added later, though we will’t say for sure.

The Mary, Queen of Scots casket features delicate pinpricked outlines of various animals (National Museums Scotland)

The Mary, Queen of Scots casket options delicate pinpricked outlines of assorted animals ( National Museums Scotland )

On one facet of the casket is an engraving of the coat of arms of the  Dukes of Hamilton . When magnified, it turns into clear that these arms are changing one thing that has been erased. In response to the provenance word saved inside it, the casket beforehand featured the coat of arms of the Marquis of Douglas, and earlier than that, Mary, Queen of Scots.

The coat of arms engraved on the Mary, Queen of Scots casket (National Museums Scotland)

The coat of arms engraved on the Mary, Queen of Scots casket ( National Museums Scotland )

The word briefly describes the historical past of the casket. It claims that it was purchased by Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, from Mary, Marchioness of Douglas, who informed her that the casket had belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots. This affiliation with the well-known queen is a giant a part of what makes this casket so particular.

A Historical past of the Possession of the Mary, Queen of Scots Casket

An evaluation of the handwriting has proven that the letter was written by David Crawford, secretary to Duchess Anne, who wrote it earlier than the duchess’s loss of life in 1716. The word said:

“…the Duchess of Hamilton, being informed by my Girl Marquis that the stated field did as soon as belong to the Queen Her Grace, purchased the identical from the goldsmith after the marchioness’s loss of life in 1674. The Marchioness of Douglas had left it to her youthful son, James, who promptly bought it. On listening to this, the Duchess of Hamilton, who had married the marchioness’s older son William, retrieved it from the goldsmith.” (as cited by Nationwide Museums Scotland).

Which means that the casket has been related to Mary Queen of Scots from at the least the mid-1600s. And it has definitely been handled with this information in thoughts by the Dukes of Hamilton, who’ve saved the casket properly preserved ever because it got here into their possession.

The Casket Letters and the Downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots

One of many extra controversial features of the casket is the existence of supposed ‘Casket Letters’. The provenance word claimed that the casket carried the letters and tokens of Mary and her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell. Shortly after Mary was overthrown by the Accomplice Lords in June 1567, a silver casket was taken by the Earl of Morton from certainly one of Bothwell’s servants. He displayed the casket in entrance of the  Scottish Privy Council , the place he pressured its lock to look at its contents. Sadly, there isn’t a report from the time of what was discovered inside.

Nonetheless, the next 12 months, Mary Queen of Scots fled to England, and a casket was produced at a listening to in opposition to Mary at  Westminster. Letters had been discovered inside between Mary and Bothwell. The listening to had been ordered by Elizabeth I after Mary was accused of conspiring with Bothwell to homicide her second husband, Lord Darnley. The letters had been used as proof of Mary’s guilt, and likewise that she had an adulterous relationship with Bothwell earlier than Darnley died. These letters had been revealed by Mary’s half-brother James, who stood to learn if she was discovered responsible.

For over 300 years, a handwritten letter was contained inside, tracing its ownership back to Mary, Queen of Scots (National Museums Scotland)

For over 300 years, a handwritten letter was contained inside, tracing its possession again to Mary, Queen of Scots ( National Museums Scotland )

Nothing was ever confirmed, and plenty of historians imagine the paperwork to be doctored, however Mary, Queen of Scots was held in captivity till her  execution in 1587.

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, 18th century painting by Abel de Pujol (Public Domain)

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, 18th century portray by Abel de Pujol ( Public Domain )

The Dukes of Hamilton and the Marchioness of Douglas earlier than them believed their casket to be the ‘Letters Casket’ that performed such a outstanding function in Mary’s life. It’s this shut connection that offers the casket its particular that means, even when it may’t be stated for sure that it’s the identical casket.

It isn’t simply its affiliation with Mary that makes the casket so particular, although. Within the late 1600s, King  Louis XIV  of France ordered invaluable objects just like the casket to be melted down so he might pay for his military. For the reason that casket had already left France by that point, it escaped the identical destiny as virtually each different casket of time, making it extraordinarily uncommon. That one of many few caskets to flee this destiny additionally occurred to belong to probably the most well-known monarchs in British historical past is sort of a coincidence.

The casket was bought by the Scottish authorities in early 2022. It value £1.8 million (roughly $2.1 million on the time of writing.) It now sits within the Nationwide Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and is acknowledged as certainly one of  Scotland’s national treasures .  

Prime picture: The Mary, Queen of Scots casket was bought by the Scottish authorities in 2022 and is now on show.                Supply:  National Museums Scotland

By Mark Brophy

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.