This lavishly illustrated book examines both the medieval period itself and the nineteenth-century fascination with it: from the chivalric world of knights and ladies, of courtly love and tournaments, to phenomenal objects d’art, a scandal that rocked Paris and a distinctively Romanov take on the European craze for the Middle Ages.
Nineteenth-century Europe was swept by a romantic nostalgia for the medieval age of chivalry. The passion was shared by the Russian court. Tsar Nicholas I established a collection of magnificent arms and armour at his Arsenal, while his grandson Alexander III infuriated the French by snatching the celebrated Paris-based Basilewsky Collection of mainly medieval objects d’art. Dutch King William II and his consort Anna Pavlovna also followed the trend; Thera Coppens vividly describes their passion for Neo-Gothic architecture.