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Openwork diptych, 3 registers, with arches (plaques ajourées; frise d'arcatures) (Wing, right)

Openwork diptych, 3 registers, with arches (plaques ajourées; frise d'arcatures) (Wing, right)
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Wing, left, engraving

Religious. Infancy of Christ. Passion. Saints.

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Washington, National Gallery of Art


Ivory;wood case with bone and wood intarsia

Height: 206-208mm (each)
Width: 142-143mm

Wing, left
Register 1: Nativity; hanging curtain; swaddled Christ in manger. Annunciation to the shepherds; trees; sheep.
Register 2: Adoration of the Magi. Presentation in the Temple; maid holding a candlestick and a basket of doves brought as offerings; Virgin holding Christ above the altar; hanging lamp.
Register 3: Entry into Jerusalem; foal of the she-ass. Christ washing the feet of saint Peter; apostles.In niches: musician angels (string instruments; bagpipes; trumpets; drums; portable organ; psaltery); angels praying. Saint Peter holding a key; saint Paul holding a sword; apostle with a martyr's palm (possibly saint John the Evangelist); saint Andrew with a saltire cross; apostle with a spear (possibly saint Judas); saint Bartholomew with a flaying knife; saint James the Greater with a pilgrim's staff; unidentified apostle holding a sword; saint John the Baptist holding the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei); saint James the Lesser with a fuller's club; unidentified apostle holding a sword; unidentified apostle.
Wing, right
Register 1: Agony in the Garden (Christ at Gethsemane); God the Father blessing; trees. Betrayal (Taking of Christ; Kiss of Judas); Christ restores Malchus' ear, cut by saint Peter; soldiers in armour; lantern.
Register 2: Flagellation; whips. Crucifixion; swooning Virgin supported by one of the Holy Women and saint John the Evangelist; onlookers including soldiers in armour; spears; sword.
Register 3: Deposition with the Virgin holding Christ's hand; one of the Holy Women holding Christ's other hand; Joseph of Arimathea holding Christ's body; man with pincers removing the nail from Christ's feet; ladder; rugged cross. Tree Holy Women at the tomb; angel seated on the tomb; scroll with inscription; soldiers asleep; shield with a crown.
Pinnacles; Flamboyant tracery; medallions; rows of pierced quatrefoils. Some medallions containing birds (eagles?), roses. Foliated border (vine scrolls; grapes).

Koechlin Number: 0861

Koechlin 1924: France, 1st half of the 15th century (?); doubts about the authenticity of the piece.
Washington 1942: Italian (Milanese) 15th century.
Leeuwenberg 1969: French (?), last quarter of the 18th century-1st half of the 19th century.
Museum's opinion 2012: Western European, 19th century.

Master of the Agrafe Forgeries (Leeuwenberg 1969)

Polychromy - Gilding
Scrolls with inscriptions:
Annunciation to the shepherds: '+PUER NATUS'.
Adoration of the Magi: illegible.
Crucifixion and Deposition, at the top of the cross: 'INR'.
Holy Women at the Tomb: '+ Non est. hic. sursesst [?]'.

These panels were only set into this intarsia frame after 1862 (see London 1862, no. 196).

Collection of Alexandre Du Sommerard (b. 1779, d. 1842), Paris, before 1839; government of France, 14 July 1843-before 1847; Debruge Duménil family, Paris, before 1850; sold at Hôtel des Ventes Mobilières, Paris, 23 January-12 March 1850, lot 159; 'M. Isaac' (Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, chief curator, département des objets d'art, Musée du Louvre, Paris, provided the Debruge Duménil information in a letter to Alison Luchs, 2 September 1987, and the notation of 'M. Isaac' as buyer, from the Louvre's copy of the sale catalogue); George Field, Ashurst Park, before 1857-1893; John Edward Taylor, London, after 1893-1912: his estate sale, Christie, Mason and Woods, London, 1-3 and 9-10 July 1912, 1st day, lot 81 (first reference to the inlaid case); (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York); purchased 11 November 1912 by Peter A. B. Widener or Joseph E. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A. B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift to the National Gallery of Art, 1942.

A. Du Sommerard, Les Arts du Moyen Âge (Paris, 1838-46), album: 5th series, p. 111, pl. XV.
J. Labarte, Description des objets d'art qui composent la collection Debruge-Duménil (Paris, 1847), pp. 457-458, no. 159.
Catalogue of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, collected at Manchester in 1857, exhibition catalogue, 1857, reproduction.
J. B. Waring, Art Treasures of the United Kingdom: Consisting of Examples Selected from the Manchester Treasures Exhibition, 1857 (London, 1858), pl. V (left wing), p. 22.
Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance, and more recent periods on loan at the South Kensington Museum, June 1862..., revised edition, exhibition catalogue (London, 1863), no. 196.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, p. 324; II, no. 861.
Inventory of the Objects d'Art at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, The Estate of the Late P. A. B. Widener (Philadelphia, 1935), p. 32.
Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by D. Finley and J. Walker (Washington, 1942), p. 10.
E. Christensen, Objects of Medieval Art from the Widener Collection (Washington, D.C., 1952), pp. 24-25 (repr. on pp. 26-27, 31).
E. Herzog, and A. Ress, 'Elfenbein, Elfenbeinplastik', in Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte, ed. by Schmitt, Gall, Heydenreich, 8 vols, (Stuttgart, 1937-), IV (1958), pp. 1335, 1336, 1359 (repr. on p. 1334).
J. Leeuwenberg, 'Early Nineteenth-Century Gothic Ivories', in Aachener Kunstblätter, 39 (1969), pp. 111-148 (pp. 122-124, figs 24a and b).
R. Distelberger, A. Luchs, P. Verdier, and T. H. Wilson, Western Decorative Arts, Part I: Medieval, Renaissance, and Historicising Styles including Metalwork, Enamels, and Ceramics. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue (Washington, D.C., 1993), pp. 77-80 (repr. on p. 77).
NGA online collections catalogue: http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=1445&detail=lit [accessed August 2012].
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), in relation to no. 112.


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