Heart's Desire: The Darnley Jewel and the Human Body
The Watson Gordon Lecture 2018
- 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 jewelery, politics, medieval history or Queen Victoria
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 center 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.