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Statuette - The Virgin and Child

The Virgin and Child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (Champagne or Burgundy, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1300-1320 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory with traces of colour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 8

Ivory was used all over Europe for religious works of art. It was often combined with precious metals and usually took the form of relief panels, for book covers, portable altars and caskets. An almost unbroken tradition of ivory carving extends from the Roman and Byzantine empires until the end of the 14th century. From about 1250, Paris became the centre of production for figures and reliefs intended for private devotion.
Three dimensional images of the Virgin and Child were ubiquitous from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, produced in a wide range of materials and sizes and testifying the overwhelming devotion to the Virgin. Together with the Crucifixion, statues and statuettes of the Virgin and Child were the principal objects of devotion in the Christian Church, and vast numbers were made for ecclesiastical, monastic and private worship.

Physical description

Carved ivory statuette with traces of colour. The Virgin stands, crowned, supporting the Child on her left arm and holding the stem of a tall flower (now broken) in her right hand. In the left hand of the Child is an apple. The Christ CHild leans forward to press his cheek against the Virgin, his right arm around her neck amd his left hand holding an apple or orb. The virgin wears a low coronet over her veil and is dressed in an open mantle over a long belted gown. The figure is carved inj the round.

Place of Origin

France (Champagne or Burgundy, made)


ca. 1300-1320 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ivory with traces of colour


Height: 18.5 cm, Width: 4.5 cm at base

Object history note

Purchased from John Webb, London, in 1872; previously on loan to the Museum from 1867.

Descriptive line

Statuette, ivory, The Virgin and Child, French (Champagne or Burgundy), about 1300-20

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

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1872, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 1
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 30
part I, p. 45
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014
p. 145, ill.
Maskell, W., A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872
p. 171
Maskell, A., Ivories, London, 1905
I, p. 235 (note 2), II, cat. no. 626, III, pl. CIV
Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part I, p. 45, cat. no. 7



Subjects depicted



Christianity; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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