The illustration of the Knight in the Ellesmere Manuscript
of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales



Call Number: EL 26 C 9
Folio: f. 10r
Description: The Knight, in the gloss space, by the first artist; on the horse are 2 letters, possibly sixteenth century, a “y” (?) and a “m” (?); below the miniature, a crude sixteenth century ink sketch of the Knight; somewhat damaged.
Source: Digital Scriptorium Database, Huntington Catalog Images. The full image of folio 10r.




An early 15th-century illuminated manuscript held in the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California (MS EL 26 C 9)
This large beautiful and innovative manuscript was probably produced soon after 1400. It was most probably made and bound in London. It is large, about 16 by 11 inches, and elegantly decorated. The best known decorative feature of the Ellesmere manuscript is a set of twenty-three equestrian portraits of the storytellers (including Chaucer) who tell their tales during a sixty-mile pilgrimage from London to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket in Cantebury Cathedral. There are probably three artists, distinguished on stylistic grounds, who painted the miniatures. The first, responsible for the first sixteen pilgrims and the Parson, painted relatively small figures. The second and third artists paint larger figures and place the horses on grassy plots. Artist 2 paints the best miniatures, including Chaucer, while the third illustrator is a possible apprentice.
Source: B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library



Referenced on p143, Knight - Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 by Christopher Gravett
The Knight, as depicted in the early 15th-century Ellesmere Chaucer. He wears a vertically quilted jupon with unusual bagpipe sleeves, which Terry Jones has suggested may have been widened latterly. The four straps at neck and shoulders may have been for securing an external breastplate, or perhaps for tying down the edges of a mail aventail. Note the brand on the horse's rump.



A mercenary Companion man-at-arms in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath, based on the Ellesmere Knight
Another knight in a quilted jupon in Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, c.1398
Other 15th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers