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Relief - The Agony in the Garden

The Agony in the Garden

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (Augsburg or possibly Austria, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory relief, in a wood, silver and tortoiseshell frame

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This house altar relief, representing the Agony in the Garden, was probably made in South Germany (perhaps Augsburg) or possibly in Austria, in about 1700. The maker of the ivory reliefs is anonymous, but the frame was made by Andreas Thelot. The composition is frequent in Italian art and the carving may be based on a 16th or 17th century painting or engraving.
This altar and the companion altar (A.94-1923) were noted in a memorandum at the time of acquisition as having 'considerable decorative value' (Museum records). They are analogous stylistically to over twenty other ivory reliefs of devotional subjects, which Theuerkauff has identified as a cohesive group.

Physical description

Ivory relief representing the agony in the garden, in a frame of wood overlaid with silver, tortoiseshell and ivory. Christ is shown kneeling on the Mount of Olives; an angel facing him holds the chalice, while two more above hold the cross. A landscape background is suggested in low relief behind. A small oval silver relief of Christ as Man of Sorrows, seated on the cold stone, is set into the frame above the ivory relief, and an irregularly shaped rectangular silver cartouche showing Christ carrying the Cross is set into the frame below the ivory. The rest of the frame is decorated with tortoiseshell panels, silver strapwork, and ivory strips, many of them painted green, analogous to the decoration on the frame on A.94-1923.

Place of Origin

Germany (Augsburg or possibly Austria, made)


ca. 1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ivory relief, in a wood, silver and tortoiseshell frame


Height: 11.5 cm of the relief, Width: 7 cm ivory relief alone, Height: 30 cm with frame, Width: 20.5 cm with frame

Object history note

Bought for £12.10 in 1923 from Edgar Charles Sumner Gibson (1848-1924), the 31st Bishop of Gloucester, St Giles House, Fareham, Hampshire.

Descriptive line

House altar, ivory relief, the Agony in the Garden, German (perhaps Augburg), or possibly Austria, ca. 1700

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

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 92
Theuerkauff, C. Elfenbein: Sammlung Reiner Winkler. Munich, 1984, pp. 162-163, no. 9, footnote 9
Cf. Burlington Fine Arts Club. Catalogue of an exhibition of carvings in ivory. 1923, pp. 202, 204
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 90


Ivory; Wood; Tortoise shell; Ivory



Subjects depicted

Cross; Chalice; Angel


Reliefs; Christianity


Sculpture Collection

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