Casket with Miniature: The Right of the Lord

Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917)1899-1908

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

A plaque in glossy enamel replicates "The Right of the Lord," a painting by the cosmopolitan Russian artist Vasilii Polenov (1844-1927). The scene is set in Brittany: standing on the threshold of his castle, a lord, flanked by his hounds, addresses an elderly man who is introducing his three daughters. The Droit de Seigneur, (1874), or The Right of the Lord, (Prava gospodina) illustrates an undocumented custom, that purportedly flourished in the Middle Ages: the right of the lord of the manor to spend the "first night" with one of his tenant's daughters. Polenov painted this work while pursuing his academic training in Paris and exhibited it in the Salon of 1874 (in the Tretiakov State Gallery, Moscow, inv. no. 2651). The en plein counter enamel inside the lid is engraved with flowers and tendrils.

The rim of the lid is enameled in black with vegetal motifs executed in silver gilt filigree. Similar decoration is repeated on the box's corners. On the side faces, blossoms are rendered in red, green, and blue painted enamel. These, in turn, are flanked by blue areas with fern-like foliage.


  • Title: Casket with Miniature: The Right of the Lord
  • Creator: Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917)
  • Date Created: 1899-1908
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917)
  • Provenance: Sale, Sotheby's, New York, June 12, 1996, Lot. 234; Jean M. Riddell, Washington, D.C., June 13, 1996, by purchase [Leo Kaplan, New York, as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 2010, by bequest.
  • Object Type: boxes; caskets (personal gear)
  • Medium: silver gilding, filigree, painted filigree and en plein enamel
  • Inscriptions: [Symbol] kokoshnik left; 84; [Mark] In Cyrillic: EL, FR; [Inventory number] 1224
  • Geography: Place of Origin: Moskva
  • Dimensions: H: 2 1/2 x W: 5 1/8 x D: 3 5/8 in. (6.35 x 13.02 x 9.21 cm)
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Jean M. Riddell, 2010
  • Classification: Enamels
  • Accession Number: 44.873

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