I've restricted my attention to those from medieval and Renaissance Europe. There are lots of other tent pictures from the Orient; try searching the British Library's Images Online database yourself. I've copied the titles, ms. numbers, origin and date from the British Library's site.
After I put this page up, the British Library reorganized its web site and moved the pictures to a different server; I've fixed the links as of 12/26/2005, but for copyright reasons I haven't copied the pictures to my own server, and it's possible that the Library will reorganize things again.
The British Library reorganized its web site again, so all the links were broken again. I've found and fixed most of them as of Sept. 1, 2010; for the remaining pictures, at least you have the citations and descriptions.
|Knight and King||Chanson d'Aspremont (a version of the Legend of Roland)||BL Lansdowne 782 f. 10v||France||c. 1240-1250||A pyramidal tent with small apple-core-shaped finial. The walls seem to stop short of the ground, as there are short ropes continuing in the same direction (presumably to stakes, although no stakes are visible). Colors dubious, but possibly white with green stripes.|
|An army pitches camp||Chanson d'Aspremont (a version of the Legend of Roland)||BL Lansdowne 782 f. 34v||France||c. 1240-1250||A pyramidal tent with center pole, small apple-core-shaped finial, and a bunch of J-shaped stakes holding the walls down. Three men are pitching the tent: one holding the center pole, one holding a guy rope that goes to the finial, and one driving stakes with a mallet. Colors dubious, but possibly white with green stripes.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Judith and Holofernes||Li livre des ansienes estoires||BL Add. 15268 f. 181||France||c. 1285||Round tent with red roof, blue walls decorated with speckles of gold and white, red checkerboard wall lining, animal finial. No visible means of support; there's one white thing that might be a perimeter pole, but there's only one, and it's not clear whether it goes all the way to the ground.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Mordred Hears of Arthur's Return||La Mort le Roi Artus||BL Add. 10294 f. 87||France||c. 1316||Several single- and double-peaked pavilions with no visible means of support; one has narrow linear decorations, and the rest are striped with bands of color. All have ball-shaped finials.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Preparations for a tournament||Roman du Roy Meliadus de Leonnoys||BL Add. 12228 f. 150||Italy (Naples)||1352-1362||One rectangular and six round pavilions in various pastel colors, most with acorn-shaped finials on short banner-poles. Two pavilions have rectangular doorways and contain horses. All pavilions have dagged valence-edges and no visible means of support.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Israelites with Moabite Women||Paduan Bible Picture Book||BL Addl. 15277 f. 51||Italy (Padua)||1350-1399||Several round tents, two showing center poles; no visible means of shoulder support. Some tent pegs visible; all have round finials, wider than they are high. Also one pup-tent/geteld partly visible, including ridge-pole and decoration on side. Picture also includes some pretty striped and fringed blankets, a coif and pink hat, a bench with legs coming through the board, and some beds.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Surrender of Tarascon||Life of Bertrand du Guesclin||BL Yates Thompson 35 f. 210v||France||c. 1400||A single-poled pavilion with onion-shaped finial, crisp simple valence band, and no visible guys or stakes.|
|The Capture of Don Pedro||Life of Bertrand du Guesclin||BL Yates Thompson 35 f. 246||France||c. 1400||Several single- and double-peaked pavilions with no visible means of support, but nice lacy decorations.||Moved, no forwarding address|
|Death of don Pedro||Life of Bertrand du Guesclin||BL Yates Thompson 35 f. 250||France||c. 1400||A double-poled pavilion with onion-shaped finials, no visible poles or guys. Viewed at an odd angle; presumably the artist changed his mind about layout in mid-illustration.|
|Alexander's camp||Le Tresor des Histoires||BL Cotton Augustus V, f. 124||France||15th century||Several single-peaked pavilions, one double-peaked; no visible means of support; most are solid-colored, with tracery decoration in gold. All have ball-shaped finials with short banner-poles.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|The death of Mark Antony||Vita Antonii||BL Add. 22318, f. 44v||Italy||c. 1450||A battle scene with about eight circular tents with ball-shaped finials and dagged valences.||Moved, no forwarding address.|
|Hector slaying Patroclus||Troy Book||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 66v||England (London?)||c. 1455-1462||White circular and rectangular tents with guy-ropes and crow's-feet. Circular tents have red conical finials with balls at the top.|
|Calchas||Troy Book||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 74||England (London?)||c. 1455-1462||Dark-colored circular tents in the background. Finials with fringes, valences also with fringes, guys with crow's-feet.|
|Trojan Horse||Troy Book||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 75||England (London?)||c. 1455-1462||Circular pavilions with gold or red conical-plus-ball finials, fringed valences, guy ropes with crow's-feet. Guy ropes appear to go all the way to the finial, rather than stopping at the shoulder.|
|Greek tents overthrown||Troy Book||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 82v||England (London?)||c. 1455-1462||Several circular white tents with fringe valences and red ball-shaped finials, short banner-staves sticking out of the tops of the finials. Guy ropes with crow's-feet. Two of the tents are tipped over to a diagonal.|
|Agamemnon and Achilles||Troy Book of John Lydgate||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 95||England (London?)||1455-1462||Foreground: King and his knights sitting under an unusual hexagonal canopy with a flat roof; white with red speckled decorations, white fringe. Background: One rectangular and 13 circular tents, all white with white fringe, red or gold spherical finials, and 3-way crow's feet at top of valence. One has visible red wall linings (and bedclothes).|
|Ajax and Agamemnon||Troy Book of John Lydgate||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 128||England (London?)||1455-1462||Foreground: King sitting under a rectangular pavilion with gold fringe, gold ball finials, and a semée of clusters of four gold dots. In the background are numerous circular and rectangular pavilioins with fringed valences and red or gold ball-shaped finials. Some kind of weird raised platforms, possibly with ropes leading up to them, in the far distance. Musician in heraldic tabard playing slide trumpet.|
|Jocasta and Adrastus||Troy Book of John Lydgate||BL Royal 18 D. II f. 158v||England (London?)||1455-1462||Foreground: round white tent with wavy blue and gold rays on the roof, blue stripes on the walls, blue-edged rounded crenellations with gold pendants at shoulder, 3-way crow's-feet from top of shoulder. Background: several round white tents with blue stripes on rooves, gold ball finials with banner-poles sticking up, some blue decorations on walls; one rectangular tent with similar decoration.|
|Battle of Hastings||Chronique de Normandie||BL Yates Thompson 33 f. 167||France (Rouen)||second half of 15th century||A double-poled white pavilion with blue decorations; guy lines with crow's-feet. Farther back, a pink circular pavilion with wavy red decorations on the roof, and a rectangular white pavilion.|
|A joust at St. Inglivère||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 1)||BL Harley 4379 f. 23v||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||(Parts of) three large pavilions, light red with castle-shaped rooves, blue valences with gold curlicues, white and gold(?) fringe, no visible means of support.|
|A joust at St. Inglivère||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 1)||BL Harley 4379 f. 43||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||(Parts of) three large pavilions, light red with castle-shaped rooves, blue valences with gold curlicues, white and gold(?) fringe, no visible means of support. Heraldic shields hanging from the shoulders.|
|Assault on Ribodane||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 1)||BL Harley 4379 f. 83v||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||About a dozen round pavilions, variously red, green, blue, and white. All have cone-and-ball finials, most of which have banner-poles sticking out of them. One large red pavilion has dormers on the roof, and a foliate green valence with a red-white-and-blue fringe. Several cannons being fired; ships in far distance.|
|Raising of the siege||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 1)||BL Harley 4379 f. 104v||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||A number of blue and red colored tents, with external guy lines going directly to finials that have banner poles coming out of the top. Other guy lines, with two-fold crow's-feet, go into the bottom of a fringed valence at the shoulder.|
|King of Hungary holds council||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 2)||BL Harley 4380 f. 84||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||Foreground: large rectangular tent with spike-and-ball finials, red roof with gold arch-shaped decoration, blue valence with gold leafy decoration, red-white-and-green fringe, red walls, white wall lining, millefiore hangings, no visible means of support. Background: three circular tents with ball-shaped finials and no visible means of support; one tent is red with gold curlicues, one white with green cap and valence, and one blue with red valence, gold decorations on roof, valence, and walls.|
|Richard II meets his child bride, Isabel of France||Froissart's Chronicles (Vol. IV, part 2)||BL Harley 4380 f. 89||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||1470-1475||Two round tents with no visible means of support: one red with green lining, valence decorated azure, fleur-de-lis Or, red-white-and-green fringe, roof and walls decorated with gold arch-shapes; one green with red lining, valence decorated gules, lions Or, red-white-and-blue fringe, roof decorated with gold arch-shapes.|
|Nature appears in author's dream||Chemin de Vaillance||BL Royal 14 E. II f. 1||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||c. 1473-1483||Solid red single-peaked pavilion, tracery decorations in gold, lined with blue, also decorated in gold. Narrow valence, also red with gold decorations. Allegorical figure.|
|Death of Holofernes||Bible Historiale of Edward IV||BL Royal 15 D. I, f. 66v||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||c. 1479||
Foreground: a double-poled oval tent, mostly white with pink tracery patterns on
roof. Ball-shaped gold finials with banner poles sticking up. No visible means
Background: At least a dozen round tents, mostly red or blue with "rays" from peak decorating roof; they have valences, ball-shaped finials with banner-poles, and no visible means of support.
|Discovery of body of Holofernes||Bible Historiale of Edward IV||BL Royal 15 D. I, f. 76v||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||c. 1479||Several single- and double-peaked tents, solid pastel colors, some with narrow decorations. Valences either solid colors or gold-decorated; walls staked to ground; no visible guy lines; sharp peaks, some with ball-shaped finials.|
|Judas Maccabeus||Bible Historiale of Edward IV||BL Royal 15 D. I, f. 134||S. Netherlands (Bruges)||c. 1479||Two and a half circular white pavilions with fringed finials and subtly decorated roofs. No visible means of support. The one in the foreground is in the process of falling down.|
|Design for a royal pavilion||BL Cotton Augustus III, f. 11||S. Netherlands||before 1520||An enormous tent with sixteen single- and double-peaked bodies connected by passages, held in place by dozens of guy-lines. Solid dark blue, with lacy decoration in gold, ridges and finials in gold, valences or fringes alternating Tudor green and white. Said to be for Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.|
|Another design for a royal pavilion||BL Cotton Augustus III, f. 18||S. Netherlands||before 1520||An enormous tent with four rectangular sections connected by galleries, with ten circular chambers on the sides, held in place by dozens of guy-lines. Red with gold decorations, gold ridge decorations, various royal beasts as finials, light-colored valences or fringes. Said to be for Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.|
|A third design for a royal pavilion||BL Cotton Augustus III, f. 19||S. Netherlands||before 1520||An enormous tent with two large oval sections connected by several galleries and oval cross-pieces, held in place by dozens of guy-lines. Green and white striped, with ridges and finials in gold, valences or fringes alternating green and red. Said to be for Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.|
If you have, or know the whereabouts of, other good surviving pictures of medieval tents and pavilions, please contact me!
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