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The Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation in the Temple and Christ, St Peter and St Paul

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    France (north or probably Paris, made)

  • Date:

    late fourteenth century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and pierced ivory

  • Museum number:

    213-1865

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case DR8

This ivory panel, made in Northern France or probably Paris, probably in the late fourteenth century represents Christ with St. Peter and St. Paul and above it are the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Presentation in the Temple. During the 14th century specialist ivory craftsmen carved both secular and religious objects in great numbers. Although Paris was the main centre of production, other workshops emerged in Italy and Germany. Some of the craftsmen may have been trained in Paris as their work often combines French and local styles.
The work has remarkable detail, especially the ribbed vaults of the canopies. The juxtaposing of large standing figures with an elaborate surrounding architecture containing small figures in niches is also found on fourteenth century seal matrices. The marriage of technical accomplishment and art-historical accuracy would seem to be beyond ab early nineteenth century forger.

Physical description

Carved and pierced ivory panel depicting Christ between St. Peter and St. Paul, depicted above are the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation. The three principal figures stand in traceried niches under triple arched canopies with ribbed vaults. The niches are divided by uprights with eight small figures of saints in the first and third tiers and eight angels playing musical instruments in the second and fourth. Christ holds an orb in his left hand and - unusually - a short cross in his right, rather than blessing. Peter holds a large key in his left hand and a book in his covered right hand; and Paul supports his sword with his left hand (covered by his mantle) and holds a book in his right. The figures stand on pedestals with finely pierced quatrefoils.

Place of Origin

France (north or probably Paris, made)

Date

late fourteenth century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and pierced ivory

Dimensions

Height: 14.7 cm, Width: 11.4 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

In the possession of John Webb, London, by 1862; purchased from Webb in 1865 for £168.

Descriptive line

Panel, carved and pierced ivory relief, depicting Christ with St. Peter and St. Paul, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation, Northern France (or probably Paris), probably late fourteenth century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 32
Leeuwenberg, Jaap. Early Nineteenth-Century Gothic Ivories. Aachener Kunstblätter. 1969, XXXIX, p. 111-148
Grodecki, Louis. Ivoires François. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1947, p. 107
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 36
pp. 45-46, ill.
Maskell, W., A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872
pl. XXVII
Maskell, A., Ivories, London, 1905
I, pp. 322-23, 324, 326, II, cat. no. 859, III, pl. CLIV
Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)
part I, pp. 528-531
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part I, pp. 528-531, cat. no. 181

Materials

Elephant ivory

Subjects depicted

Cross; Saints; Angels; Orb; Canopies; Sword; Musical instruments; Key

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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