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Statuette - The Virgin of the Immacualte Conception

The Virgin of the Immacualte Conception

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Portugal (or Indo-Portuguese (Goa), made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1720 - ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory, partly coulored and gilt

  • Museum number:

    183-1864

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ivory statuette of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception is made in Goa in about 1720-1750. It was formerly identified as Portuguese, but Indo-Portuguese figures from Goa exhibit similar features, and the edging of the drapery, the cherubim, and the acanthus on the base imply a Goan origin for the present piece.
Ivory carving had a long tradition on the Indian subcontinent, and elaborate works of art were made, particularly as diplomatic gifts, often presented to Western rulers. From the sixteenth century onwards, the four main missionary Orders, the Augustinians, Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans, built churches and aimed to convert the inhabitants of India. The ivories would assist in the presentation of Christian imagery, as well as being exported back to churches, convents and private collectors in Europe.

Physical description

The Virgin is shown standing with a flowing dress and veil with clasped hands upon the crescent moon, surrounded by a serpent, and clouds with seven cherubim. The statuette is on a carved pedestal decorated with three fleshy acanthus leaves. The back of the figure is fully carved; the long hair of the Virgin is visible beneath her veil. The figure has been dowelled into the separate socle, the underside of which is roughly worked.

Place of Origin

Portugal (or Indo-Portuguese (Goa), made)

Date

ca. 1720 - ca. 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ivory, partly coulored and gilt

Dimensions

Height: 27 cm ivory alone, Weight: 0.980 kg, Height: 31 cm whole

Object history note

The figure was bought as Valencian, and linked stylistically by John Beckwith, Keeper of Architecture and Sculpture, to an ivory crucifix figure, cat. no. 375 (Museum records). The crucifix is now however thought to be Indo-Portuguese. Estella Marcos identifies the present piece as Portuguese (Mafra). But Indo-Portuguese figures from Goa exhibit similar features, and the edging of the drapery, the cherubim, and the acanthus on the base imply a Goan origin for the present piece.

Historical context note

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception was popularly represented in Spain and Portugal and their colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Descriptive line

Statuette, ivory, 'The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception', Portuguese or Indo-Portuguese (Goa), ca. 1720-1750

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

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1864 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 39
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 111
Marcos, Estella M. M., La Escultura Barroca de Marfil en España, Madrid, 1984, II, pp. 390-391
Vol I, p. 197
Estella Marcos, Margarita M. La escultura barroca de marfil en España : las escuelas europeas y las coloniales. (2 vols), Madrid, 1984
pp. 365, 366
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, pp. 365, 366, cat. no. 358

Production Note

portuguese or indo-portuguese (GOA)

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Carving; Colouring; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Cherub heads

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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