The Wilton Diptych

by Dillian Gordon


The Wilton Diptych is a comprehensive account of one of England’s greatest surviving medieval treasures, now in the collection of The National Gallery, London. 

The painted portable altarpiece depicts King Richard II (1367–1400) being presented to the Virgin Mary and Christ by John the Baptist and two English Kings, revered as saints. The brilliant colour and lavish use of gold give it the appearance of a luxury object, yet its primary function was religious, as an altarpiece for the king’s private devotions.
The author analyses the iconography, historical context, style, materials, and techniques used to create this precious work, and discusses the likely identity of the artist and the possible evidence that this picture was known to and referenced by William Shakespeare in his play Richard II. Further study of the intricate detail, varied techniques, and decorative effects shows connections to French metalwork and manuscript illumination, while newly commissioned photography reveals exquisite details unseen by the naked eye. 

With an essay by Caroline M. Barron, and contributions by Ashok Roy, Rachel Billinge and Martin Wyld.

The painted portable altarpiece will be shown at The Ashmolean Museum from 10th May to 1st September, as part of The National Galleries: National Treasures project as part of their 200th Birthday celebrations.


Book contains: 144 pages.

Dimensions: 21.5 x 26.6 cm