Armour and Weapons

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

In the Victorian era, when Maclise was active, great emphasis was placed on the accuracy of historical detail in paintings. While Maclise strove for accuracy in his work, he was prone to employing some artistic license in his portrayal of certain elements of the story, in particular, the armour and weapons. A review of the painting in the Art Journal, while it was exhibited in the Royal Academy, highlights some inaccuracies, such as the helmets worn by Strongbow and his soldiers, the designs of which post-dated the event.

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

Maclise includes some Bronze Age weapons in the foreground, as well as an African shield and bow, half concealed under a dying Irish warrior. These latter objects may have been studio props since they appear in other works by Maclise.