What Belsey adds to this analysis are her wonderful readings of marriage chests
, bedheads, bed valences, and betrothal dishes.
Belsey's visual evidence includes some paintings, woodcuts, and engravings, but the most interesting examples come from family monuments found in English churches and from domestic artifacts, such as carvings on marriage chests
and bedheads, bed valences, needlework, a wedding or betrothal dish.
It is therefore hard to accept Wolfthal's contention that paintings of the subjects, so popular on the Florentine marriage chests
which decorated the living quarters for a new bride in her husband's house, simply serve to "whitewash" or "sanitize" rape as we understand the word today.
This panel, which is still being researched, evidently came from one of an important pair of marriage chests
, and subsequently belonged to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres as well as Sir Thomas Merton, the English scientist, inventor and collector.
Bull contends that mythological visual imagery appeared mostly in what he characterizes as secondary locations: domestic furnishings such as marriage chests
, majolica, birth trays, and small boxes for jewelry and other precious objects, temporary decorations for festivals or triumphal entries, prints, and sculptures for fountains and gardens.
The bride's dowry (donora) and counter-dowry from the groom were also important, not just for the decorative and symbolic objects it comprised but also for the marriage chests (forzieri, generally referred to as cassoni today) in which the goods were contained.
Replicated in necessarily smaller and more intimate versions, ranging from paintings and statuettes to painted marriage chests and cutlery handles, they attained a more personalised civic message appropriate for the domestic setting.
Renaissance Casssoni, Masterpieces of Early Italian Art: Painted marriage Chests 1400-1550.
Schubring's work, for its sheer scope still the standard reference, blurred the distinction, however, between marriage chests (cassoni, or forzieri perhaps), wainscot paneling (spalliere), birth trays (deschi da parto), and even ceremonial shields (for example, Castagno's David, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington).
Jacqueline Musacchio examines the meaning of a common image on Tuscan marriage chests
and wainscoting in the fifteenth century, the rape of the Sabine women.
Similarly, images adorning marriage chests
are discussed as exempla virtutis as they relate to societal expectations for both husband and wife.