Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rowel Spur

ca. 1400
French or Spanish, Catalonia
Copper alloy, enamel, gold
L. 7 1/4 in. (18.42 cm); L. of neck, 3 in. (7.62 cm); Diam. of rowel, 2 7/8 in. (7.03 cm); Wt. 7 oz. (198.45 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, spurs were recognized symbols of rank and status. The wearing of gilt spurs was restricted to knights and members of the nobility. Squires in training for knighthood wore silver or silver-gilt spurs, while others used spurs of iron or brass. Early medieval spurs were equipped with simple, straight prongs, and were known as prick spurs. By the fourteenth century, the rowel spur, with a rotating wheel, came into general use. The rowels were sometimes pierced with intricate decorative patterns or, as in this example, finished with radiating points resembling a sunburst. This elaborately enameled and gilt spur is decorated with the black and gold checked insignia of the counts of Urgell, a Catalan noble family.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Paris. Exposition universelle internationale de 1889. "Exposition Universelle," May 6–October 31, 1889, no. 520.

New York. Brooklyn Museum. "Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor," June 12–October 31, 1933, no. 121.

Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 4–July 3, 1955.

Hôtel Drouot. Objets D'art Et De Curiosité. Paris: Hôtel Drouot, 1864. p. 13, no. 77.

Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène-Emmanuel. Dictionnaire Raisonné Du Mobilier Français De L'époque Carlovingienne À La Renaissance. Vol. 5. Paris: Ve. A. Morel et cie, 1874. pp. 408–09, fig. 7.

Bréban, Philibert. Livret-guide du Visiteur à l'Exposition Historique du Trocadéro. Exposition universelle de 1878. Paris: E. Dentu, 1878. p. 74.

Exposition universelle de 1889. Catalogue Général Officiel: Exposition Rétrospective du Travail et des Sciences Anthorpologiques. Vol. 5. Arts Militaires. Lille: L. Danel, 1889. p. 77, no. 520 (the mate to this spur, lent by Orville).

Thoumas, Charles-Antoine. Exposition Rétrospective Militaire du Ministère de la Guerre en 1889. Vol. I. Paris: H. Launette et Cie., G. Boudet successeur, 1890. pl. opp. p. 14.

Marcy, L. "Histoire d'un Éperon." Le Connaisseur 5 (May–June, 1911). p. 150.

Gaignières, François-Roger de, and Joseph Guilbert. Les Dessins D'archéologie De R. De Gaignières. Vol. 3. Paris, 1913. no. 587–92, ill.

Christie, Manson & Woods. Catalogue of The Collection of Arms and Armour and Objects of Art Formed by Sir Guy Francis Laking, Bart.. London: Christie, Manson & Woods, April 19–22, 1920. pp. 22, no. 136 (the mate to this spur).

Laking, Guy Francis, Sir, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. III. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 164–67, 206–8, fig. 971a.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 3 to September 27, 1931. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. p. 36 (compared to no. 121).

Grancsay, Stephen V. A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue. Louisville, Ky.: Speed Art Museum, 1955. no. 79, ill.

Byrne, Blanche. "The Spurs of King Casimir III and Some Other Fourteenth Century Spurs." The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society 3, no. 4 (December 1959). p. 110.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer, 1991). pp. 12, 64, ill.

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