Gold Ornaments

Detail of gold ornament from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854
Detail of gold ornament from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854

Maclise was fascinated with antiquities from a young age and always welcomed an opportunity to include such details in his paintings. The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife was the perfect opportunity for him to show off his technical skills and knowledge in this area. The precisely rendered gold ornaments worn by the fallen Irish, Aoife, and her bridesmaids, may have been copied from objects owned by the antiquarians Thomas Crofton Croker and George Petrie, whom Maclise had known for a number of years.

Detail of gold ornament from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854
Detail of gold ornament from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854

One of Maclise’s sketchbooks contains many sketches taken from these objects, including a crozier from Cashel owned by Petrie (similar to the one held by the priest in the painting). Another source may have been Vestuta Monumenta (1835), a publication which included many engravings and lithographs of such ornaments.