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Panel - the Virgin and Child

the Virgin and Child

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    France (Paris , made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1340-1350 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Elephant ivory

  • Museum number:

    162-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ivory plaque from a devotional booklet or set of writing tablets is carved with a depiction of the Virgin standing and holding the Infant Saviour on her left arm. On either side there is a figure bearing a candlestick with a long candle and above the group there is a triple Gothic canopy.
Ivory covers for writing tablets survive in good numbers from the fourteenth century. Wax writing tablets or panels of a hard material filled with layers of wax that could be inscribed with a stylus, were common in Antiquity and continued in use throughout the early Middle Ages.
They were particularly useful for note taking, given their portability and the fact that their surfaces could be erased and reused.
The majority of such tablets would have been made of wood, although other materials such as gold, silver, bone and ivory were also used. In most cases the tablets formed part of a group of up to eight panels, only the covers of which were carved with imagery on their outer faces. The imagery on most surviving tablets and boxes derives primarily from diptychs, with a quality of carving lower than that commonly found on diptychs, at least partly as a result of the thinner ivory material on the tablets.

Physical description

The plaque is carved with the crowned Virgin standing and holding the Infant Saviour on her left arm and the stem of a flower, probably a lily, in her right; on either side is a figure bearing a candlestick with a long candle. \They are not winged, wear plain circles in their hair, and the angel on the right is barefoot. Above the group is a triple Gothic canopy. Slight traces of colour. Topped by a triple arcade supported on corbels, formed of pointed trefoil arches, with heavy roll mouldings and gables above.

Place of Origin

France (Paris , made)

Date

ca. 1340-1350 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Elephant ivory

Dimensions

Height: 9.8 cm, Width: 6 cm

Object history note

Purchased on the 12th May 1896 from Henry Willett, Arnold House, Brighton, for £70.

Descriptive line

Panel, ivory, from a devotional booklet or set of writing tablets, the Virgin and Child, France (Paris), ca. 1340-1350

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

List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1896. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office. Wyman and Sons, 1900, pp. 25
part 1, p. 358
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. 358, cat. no. 122

Materials

Ivory

Subjects depicted

Angels; Candlesticks

Categories

Religion; Christianity; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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