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Statuette - St Anne teaching the Virgin to read

St Anne teaching the Virgin to read

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Goa (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs Gilbertson in memory of her husband Canon Gilbertson in 1940

  • Museum number:

    A.34-1940

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This statuette in ivory depicts 'St Anne teaching the Virgin to read', seated in a wide chair with her right arm round the Virgin, who stands at her side, pointing to a book St Anne has on her lap and in her left hand. The group, very likely to be Indo-Portuguese (Goa) and made in about 1700, is an inferior version of a commonly known composition. There are comparable ivories and versions in the British Museum, in the Vatican Museum, the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City and there are wood groups in Brazil. They might depend from an Indo-Portuguese source. Clearly the composition was widely disseminated, perhaps through an engraved source. Goa was the second base in India to be established by the Portuguese, having been conquered by Alfonso de Albuquerque (about 1453-1515) during the reign of Manuel I of Portugal initially in 1510, and then reconquered in 1512. Portugal was interested first and foremost in trade, and the discovery of India was motivated by a desire to dominate trade-routes. But the Christian settlers and missionaries were also keen to convert the native populace to Christianity, and religious images in ivory were commissioned to assist in this. Some were exported to Europe, but others evidently remained and were used for evangelical purposes.

Physical description

This ivory statuette represents St Anne seated in a wide chair with her right arms around the Virgin, who stands at her right side holding the book with one hand and pointing to the pages with the other hand.

Place of Origin

Goa (made)

Date

ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ivory

Dimensions

Height: 7.5 cm, Width: 5.3 cm of base

Object history note

The group is an inferior version of a commonly known composition. There are comparable ivories and versions in the British Museum, in the Vatican Museum, the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City, wood groups in Brazil. They might depend from an Indo-Portuguese source. Clearly the composition was widely disseminated, perhaps through an engraved source. The previous owner of the present piece, Canon Gilberston, had been a chaplain in the Royal Navy, stationed on different ships from 1909 to 1923, and may well have acquired the ivory abroad.

Descriptive line

Figure group, ivory, 'St Anne teaching the Virgin to read', Indo-Portuguese (Goa), ca. 1700

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

p. 376
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 376, cat. no. 372

Materials

Ivory

Subjects depicted

Book

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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