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Panel - The Assumption of the Virgin

The Assumption of the Virgin

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    Germany (perhaps, made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved elephant ivory

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an ivory group made in the 19th century France, representing the Assumption of the Virgin.
When the relief was acquired it was thought to be Italian of the 17th century, which is a mystifying ascription. Later in 1924 it was ascribed as being of the mid-fourteenth century by Koechlin but he was disturbed by its stylistic and compositional infelicities. The anatomically impossible angle of the kneeling angel's head, is indeed maladroit; and the simpering faces, with pointed noses and chins, seem to display a mannered exaggeration - almost a parodic imitation of the 'Gothic smile' manifested in large scale at Bourges and elsewhere.

Physical description

Ivory group in high relief representing the Assumption of the Virgin. The Virgin with clasped hands is upheld by angels, four on either side. Pierced at the bottom, below the Virgin, and was set on a separate background. The back is cross-hatched througout to support adhesion. Remains of red paint.

Place of Origin

France (made)
Germany (perhaps, made)


19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved elephant ivory


Height: 8.5 cm, Width: 7.2 cm at base

Object history note

Bought in 1866 from Tito Gagliardi, Florence, in 1866 (£14).

Descriptive line

Group, ivory in high relief, the Assumption of the Virgin, France, probably nineteenth century

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

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1866. 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. 16
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 32
Vol I, p. 261; Vol II, cat. no. 727; Vol III, pl. CXX
Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)
part 1, p. 133
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 1, p. 133, cat. no. 41




High relief; High relief

Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Christianity; Religion; Reliefs


Sculpture Collection

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