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Not currently on display at the V&A

King James II crowned by Peace and Justice

Relief
ca. 1685 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
The exact purpose of this allegorical ivory carving is unknown, although it may have been designed to commemorate the suppression by James II of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. It is signed by Jacobus Constantin, an artist who is otherwise unrecorded. He is likely to have been a Continental artist, perhaps from The Netherlands, working for the Stuart court.

Subjects Depicted
The King is seated on his throne, holding his sceptre and crushing with his left foot a representation of Discord, shown as a half-naked man with a serpent. Two classically dressed female figures, Peace and Justice, flank the King and jointly crown him with a laurel wreath of victory. Justice holds a sword and scales, while Peace holds an olive branch.

Materials & Making
Ivory was a precious and relatively expensive commodity, used at this date for portraits, and for allegorical images. It was particularly favoured by Netherlandish and German sculptors, who also used it to carve religious scenes. Ivory tusks were probably imported from Africa, where they were often bought at the same time as slaves, who were shipped to the sugar plantations in the West Indies. Ivory could be carved relatively easily, although occasionally faults led to breaks during the carving process. Because of the size and shape of the tusks large ivories are rare, many being even smaller than this piece.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Ivory in glazed tortoiseshell and wood frame.
Brief Description
Medallion relief, ivory, King James II Crowned by Peace and Justice, by Jacobus Constantin (perhaps Jacques Constantin of Dieppe), perhaps French, produced in Britain, c.1685.
Physical Description
Oval relief in ivory. Signed on the back. The King is shown in full length, seated on a throne with his left foot on the back of Discord, a naked man lying prone on his face grasping a serpent. The King rests his left hand on a baton, and looks towards his left. A female figure symbolic of Justice, to his left, holding a sword and scales in her left hand, and crowning the King with a laurel wreath. To his right is Peace, standing and holding an olive branch, and also holding the laurel wreath together with Justice about to crown the King.
Dimensions
  • Ivory alone height: 15cm
  • Ivory alone width: 13cm
  • Whole height: 25cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 09/07/1999 by DW
Content description
King James II is shown seated, resting his left foot on the shoulder of a prostrate defeated figure of Discord.On his left is an allegorical figure of Justice crowning him with a laurel wreath. On his right is another allegorical figure, of Peace, also crowning him and holding an olive branch. The relief may symbolize the defeat of the 1685 rebellion led by James, Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685). The relief is signed on the bcak 'Jacobus Constantin fecit'. This may be Jacques Constantin (c.1654-after 1732), from Dieppe, who was admitted to the French Huguenot hospital on 25 February 1733, aged 78, and described as a painter.
Marks and Inscriptions
'Jacobus Constantin fecit' (On the reverse )
Gallery Label
British Galleries: King James II is shown enthroned, and dressed in classical armour. He is being crowned by two figures representing Peace (with an olive branch) and Justice (with a sword and scales), while Discord (with a snake) lies defeated underfoot. The design may symbolise the monarch crushing the rebellion in 1685 led by James, Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685).(27/03/2003)
Object history
Bought for £13 2s. 6d. through Durlacher Brothers, New Bond Street, London, at Christies's, London, 15 April 1937 (Bernard Currie Collection), lot 43. Formerly Currie Collection, Minley Manor, Hampshire, 1908
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
The exact purpose of this allegorical ivory carving is unknown, although it may have been designed to commemorate the suppression by James II of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. It is signed by Jacobus Constantin, an artist who is otherwise unrecorded. He is likely to have been a Continental artist, perhaps from The Netherlands, working for the Stuart court.

Subjects Depicted
The King is seated on his throne, holding his sceptre and crushing with his left foot a representation of Discord, shown as a half-naked man with a serpent. Two classically dressed female figures, Peace and Justice, flank the King and jointly crown him with a laurel wreath of victory. Justice holds a sword and scales, while Peace holds an olive branch.

Materials & Making
Ivory was a precious and relatively expensive commodity, used at this date for portraits, and for allegorical images. It was particularly favoured by Netherlandish and German sculptors, who also used it to carve religious scenes. Ivory tusks were probably imported from Africa, where they were often bought at the same time as slaves, who were shipped to the sugar plantations in the West Indies. Ivory could be carved relatively easily, although occasionally faults led to breaks during the carving process. Because of the size and shape of the tusks large ivories are rare, many being even smaller than this piece.
Bibliographic References
  • Theuerkauff, Christian. “Kleinplastik des Barock: Werke von Jean Gaulette, Michel Mollart und anderen Französischen Zeitgenossen”, in: Kunst und Antiquitäten, I/85, 1985, pp. 46-53
  • Catalogue of the Collection at Minley Manor, 1908, p. 3
  • Review [1911-1938], Victoria & Albert Museum. Review of the Principal Acquisitions during the Year, London, 1937, p. 4, pl. 4
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 123
Collection
Accession Number
A.13-1937

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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