A later copy of an earlier (lost) work:The painting itself: Marriage of Philip the Good, 1550

The White Wedding, or, Hawking at the Court of Philip the Good, or, The Marriage of Philip the Good, or Mariage du duc de Bourgogne Philippe le Bon avec Isabelle de Portugal

by Cynthia Virtue

based on investigations by Jack Banyard/Brian James.

The short version of this page: this painting was a copy of the original painting; it was made after 1550, which puts it over 120 years later than the event it depicts.

Here is the catalog description of the painting, at the Versailles database.  NOTE: Many fine detail shots of the painting at this site.

Years and years ago, I first saw this painting in Boucher's 20,000 Years of Fashion (1965), where it is given an entire  full-color page (page 211) and describes it as "fifteenth century, around 1442."  A few years later, after becoming extremely interested in houppelandes and the amazing hats worn with them, it was clear to me that many of the clothing forms, tailoring, and hats in this picture are quite unlike anything else seen in England or France around this time, but it wasn't until some dozen years ago that I saw reference to the painting being a copy of an earlier work.

Indeed, even in this modern age of Google, Google Image Search, and so on, the details were hard to find.  Jack Banyard wrote to me recently, hoping to dig up some confirmation of its history, as I had mentioned it as dubious elsewhere on my web pages here.  We threw keyword searches back and forth at each other until he hit the jackpot, that being the description of the painting in the database of the owning museum.

Here is his English translation of that page:

area: Painting
Object type: Table
Author / Player: Anonymous
School: Drance
Period: 2nd half 16th century
Materials / Technical: Oil painting; Canvas
Dimensions: 164 H; 120 L
Subject represented: Scene (Duke of Burgundy, Duchess of Burgundy,
collation, crockery, servant, horse, dog, pond, swan, clothing, a hat,
musician, trumpet, arms, village, hunting with bird, tree, house)

Date representation: 1430-1401
Location of conservation: Versailles; National Museum of the castle and

Musee de France
Under Law No. 2002-5, January 4, 2002

Information about the museum
Legal status: State property; Purchase; Musee National du Chateau and Trianons
Acquisition Date: 1897
No inventory: MV 5423; RF 1141
Genesis: Copy; Work related
History: Copying from a painting on wood Burgundian the second half of the fifteenth century
Bibliography: CONSTANS 1980, No. 4995
Photo Rights: © Gerard Blot; Meeting of national museums
Copyright notice: © Direction des Musees de France, 1986

Of course, this is terribly frustrating to people who want to recreate any of these outfits --there are so many of them, with good detail, and some even shown from the back!   This is so rare -- but they aren't reliable.  However, one could at least take an example of one of these, and use it to hunt for more documentable images from the original time period.

© 2007 Cynthia Virtue