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Heart's Desire: The Darnley Jewel and the Human Body in white font on lilac centre banner on darker purple cover

Heart's Desire: The Darnley Jewel and the Human Body

The Watson Gordon Lecture 2018

By (author) Cynthia Hahn


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  • A highly illustrated examination of the Darnley Jewel
  • Examines the history of the metaphor of the human heart since the 16th century
  • 12th title in an annual series
  • A fascinating exploration for anyone with an interest in art and jewellery, politics, medieval history or Queen Victoria
Full Description

The Darnley jewel, a masterpiece of the goldsmith’s art on display at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace, has been deemed a love token, but has also been labelled an emblem of political ambition. Taking the shape of a heart, the jewel was produced at a moment (1565-75) when such objects worn by courtiers were a primary means of asserting status and proclaiming allegiances. With a deep medieval history – originally the fleshly power centre of the human body, the seat of the soul, and place of memory and emotion – the heart has many aspects to offer. This book shows how the understanding of the heart changed during the Middle Ages, from spiritual locus of the body, to source of devotion to country, and finally, to the font of love and sentimentality.

About the Author

Cynthia Hahn is Professor of Medieval Art at The Graduate Centre at The City University of New York (CUNY).

National Galleries of Scotland
6th Feb 2020
215 mm x 165 mm
48 Pages
25 color
Name of series
The Watson Gordon Lecture Series
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