A & A spacer courtauld institute of art
quick search advanced search browse temp folder

40 panels, 1 register, 1 ogee arch across; inserted in a wooden cabinet (Row 3, panel 2)

40 panels, 1 register, 1 ogee arch across; inserted in a wooden cabinet (Row 3, panel 2)
enlarge image zoom image



Row 3, panel 4

Row 2, panel 3

Row 1, panel 3

Row 4, panel 6

Row 2, panel 4

Row 4, panel 4

Row 2, panel 2

Row 2, panel 1

Row 5, panel 5

Row 1, panel 8

Row 2, panel 8

Row 2, panel 6


Row 5, panel 6

Row 3, panel 6

Row 2, panel 5

Row 1, panel 5

Row 1, panel 4

Row 3, panel 5

Row 5, panel 2

Row 1, panel 2

Row 1, panel 1

Row 4, panel 1

Row 4, panel 7


Row 3, panel 7

Row 1, panel 7

Row 3, panel 8

Row 4, panel 5

Row 5, panel 8

Religious. Infancy of Christ. Life of the Virgin. Passion.

Repository Institution

To purchase an image

London, Victoria and Albert Museum


Wood (late 19th- or early 20th-century cabinet);ivory

Height: 560 mm (cabinet)
Width: 68 mm (each plaque)
Depth: 297 mm (cabinet)

Register 1: Entombment with the Virgin and saint John the Evangelist. Harrowing of Hell with Adam and Eve coming out of the Mouth of Hell; demon. Resurrection; soldiers asleep. Noli me tangere (Christ appearing to saint Mary Magdalene). Supper at Emmaus: Christ is recognised while breaking the bread. Transfiguration (?). Ascension. Pentecost; dove of the Holy Spirit.
Register 2: Betrayal (Taking of Christ; Kiss of Judas); Christ restores Malchus' ear, cut by saint Peter. Enthroned Herod (?). Flagellation. Crowning with thorns. Carrying of the Cross (repeated twice?). Crucifixion; swooning Virgin supported by saint John the Evangelist. Deposition; Joseph of Arimathea holding Christ's body.
Register 3: Christ among the Doctors. Baptism of Christ by saint John the Baptist; angel holding Christ's tunic. Unidentified scene. Resurrection of Lazarus. Entry into Jerusalem; foal of the she-ass. Last Supper. Agony in the Garden (Christ at Gethsemane). Miracle of the Cornfield; peasant; soldiers in armour.
Register 4: Nativity. Birth of the Virgin; midwife bathing the Virgin. Annunciation to the Shepherds. Nativity (Adoration of Christ Child). Adoring Magi (form an Adoration of the Magi with the 1st panel in this row). Presentation in the Temple. Massacre of the Innocents. Flight into Egypt; fall of the idols.
Register 5: Joachim and Anna bring lambs to be sacrificed, but the High Priest rejects their offerings because they are childless. Annunciation of the birth of the Virgin Mary to Anna by an angel. Joachim in the wilderness with his shepherds. Annunciation; dove of the Holy Spirit. Visitation. Unidentified scene. Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. Annunciation of the birth of the Virgin to Joachim by an angel.

London 1923 and Longhurst 1929: Flemish or German, late 15th century.
Williamson and Davies 2014: South Netherlandish, about 1470-1500.


Polychromy - Gilding
Traces of gilding.

The cabinet comprises three columns of five drawers, the front face of each being decorated with two ivory panels. The ivory panels probably originally belonged to a tabernacle-polyptych. The panel with Joseph carpentering beside the Virgin in the bottom row appears to be of a later date (Longhurst 1929) and of South Netherlandish origin (see Williamson and Davies 2014).

Collection of Mrs Mary Margaret Elizabeth Cowell, London, by 1923 (she had acquired pieces as early as the 1880s): her bequest to the museum in 1925.

Catalogue of an Exhibition of Carvings in Ivory, exhibition catalogue, London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1923, no. 161.
M. Longhurst, Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2 vols (London, 1927 and 1929), II (1929), p. 43, pl. XL.
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), no. 177.


© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

All images on this website are made available exclusively for scholarly and educational purposes and may not be used commercially.

spacer spacer spacer spacer
Please remember to acknowledge any use of the site in publications and lectures as: 'Gothic Ivories Project at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, www.gothicivories.courtauld.ac.uk', followed by the date you accessed the site.