A knight from the British museum

Last year I had the opportunity to attend a special exhibition about the Middle Ages at the Canadian Museum of History. One particular artefact caught my eye - a stone sculpture of a knight.

Officially known as Item Number 1853,0404.1, it is an object usually kept at the British Museum in London. The curators believe that it was created between the year 1375 and 1425 and is possibly meant to be a depiction of St George the Dragonslayer, a common topic of medieval art. It stands almost 32 centimetres tall, although it would have been originally taller, having lost his legs.

The knight has just enough details to give us a good view of how a late medieval warrior would have looked. He wears a suit of plate armour, with chainmail covering his neck and lower body. We can see he was carrying a sword and a shield, and likely a lance a as well. The British Museum webpage for the figurine contains more details.

 

It is a very impressive figure - it gives off an aura of being a somewhat simple design, but at the same time has a powerful look to it. Many who see it might think of it as a kind of quintessential ‘medieval’ image. This includes the curators at the Canadian Museum of History, who heavily featured the figurine in the promotion of the exhibition. You can even see him appear in their television commercial.

While I might call this the Knight of the British Museum, the statue is not usually displayed there. The museum seems to be using it as one of the main pieces that it lends out to other galleries and museums, and in the last few years it has travelled widely, including to Australia, Canada and Spain. If you had the chance to see this item, I would love to know more about your feelings towards this iconic and beautiful piece of medieval art.

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