Colloque : « Gothic Ivories: Content and Context »

AN01042656_001_lGothic Ivories: Content and Context


Saturday 5 July 2014, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

Sunday 6 July 2014, The British Museum, London

Organised by: John Lowden, Catherine Yvard (The Courtauld’s Gothic Ivories Project), Naomi Speakman (The British Museum)


Jointly organised by The British Museum and The Courtauld Gothic Ivories Project, this event follows on from the successful 2012 conference Gothic Ivories: Old Questions New Directions (V&A-Courtauld). Celebrating new research on Gothic ivory carving, papers will focus on a wide range of topics arising from the study of Gothic ivory carving and Embriachi pieces, related to the themes of content and context. Themed sessions will be dedicated to questions of iconography, sources and original use and context, research into provenance, relationships with other media, ivory carving in the 16th century, history of collecting, from the 18th century to the 20th century.

The conference will also coincide with the publication of the catalogue of Gothic Ivories in the Victoria & Albert Museum, by Paul Williamson and Glyn Davies.

Launched on the web in December 2010, the Gothic Ivories Project has played an important part in putting Gothic ivory carving in the limelight and over 3,800 objects are now available online, from hundreds of museums around the world:




Saturday 5 July: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre


9.30 Registration (reception hall-Courtauld Institute)


10.00 Introduction John Lowden and Catherine Yvard, The Courtauld Institute of Art


10.15 KeynotePaul Williamson, Victoria and Albert Museum
‘They Who Only Ivories Know, Know not Ivories’: Polychrome and Other Micro-Carvings around 1400 in their Broader Context.


Session One: The Object and its History

10.45 The Ivory Virgin and Child from the Martin Le Roy Collection

Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, Musée du Louvre, Parisand Juliette Levy-Hinstin, Conservator, Paris

11.05 A Happy End: The Group of the Descent of the Cross Reunited

Élisabeth Antoine-König, Musée du Louvre, Paris and Juliette Levy-Hinstin, Conservator, Paris

11.25 Looking Closely: What a 14th-Century Ivory has been Waiting to Tell Us

Lydia Chávez, University California Berkeley


11.45 Coffee break


Session Two: Ivories in Context: Sources and Uses

12.15 I segni del potere. I Pastorali gotici in avorio per i Vescovi dell’Italia mediana

Ileana Tozzi, Museo Diocesano di Rieti

12.35 Buying, Gifting, Storing: Ivory Madonnas in Documentary Sources from Late Medieval Central Europe

Christian Nikolaus Opitz, University of Vienna

12.55 What’s in a Name: Peigniers, Tabletiers, and Late Flamboyant Parisian Ivory

Katherine Eve Baker, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris


13.15 – 14.30 Lunch


Session Three: Ivory Carving in the 16th century

14.30 Reproductions Reproduced. Woodcut, Ivory and Terracotta

Ingmar Reesing, University of Amsterdam

14.50 Biting, Dripping, Screaming? Active Bone on a Medical Knife Handle

Jack Hartnell, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

15.10 Anatomical Impulses in 16th-Century Memento Mori Ivories

Stephen Perkinson, Bowdoin College, Brunswick (Maine)


15.30 Refreshments


Session Four: Collecting in the 19th Century

16.00 Gothic Ivories in an Unknown Illustrated Catalogue of the Collection of Clément Wenceslas, Comte de Renesse-Breidbach (1776 – 1833)

Franz Kirchweger, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

16.20 Fictile Ivories: Diffusing the Taste for and Connoisseurship of Gothic Ivories

Benedetta Chiesi, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

16.40 William Maskell and his Network: a 19th-Century Case Study

Naomi Speakman, The British Museum, London


17.00 – 18.00 Reception




Sunday 6 July: The British Museum, Stevenson Lecture Theatre


9.30 Registration


10.00 Introduction Naomi Speakman, Curator of Late Medieval Collections, The British Museum


10.15 KeynoteMichele Tomasi, Université de Lausanne
Why the Embriachi?


Session One: New Perspectives on Embriachi Carving

10.45 When is a Workshop not a Workshop? Re-considering Embriachi Bone Carving

Glyn Davies, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

11.05 The Embriachi Collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris

Monique Blanc, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris


11.25 Coffee break


Session Two: Questions of Iconography

11.55 The Son of Man Crowned in Thorns: Gothic Ivories and the Invention of Tradition in 13th-Century Paris

Emily Guerry, University of Oxford

12.15 A Workshop Reconstructed: Construction and Content

Sarah Guérin, Université de Montréal

12.35 Twin Plaques from the State Hermitage Museum and Budapest Museum of Applied Arts: an Iconographical Study

Marta J. Kryzhanovskaia, The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg


12.55 – 14.00 Lunch


Session Three: Relationships with Other Media

14.00 The Use of Gothic Ivories as a Basis for the Iconography of the Tomb of Lady Inês de Castro (Alcobaça Monastery – ca. 1358 -1362)

Carla Varela Fernandes, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Lisbon

14.20 Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves in the Wallace Collection London

Geoffrey Rampton, Independent Scholar, London

14.40 Ivory, Parchment, Paper: Ivory Sculpture and the Arts of the Book, 14th-16th Century

Catherine Yvard, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London


15.00 Refreshments


Session Four: Collectors and Ivories, 19th– 20th Centuries

15.30 ‘Collected with Love and Care’: Gothic Ivory in the Neutelings Collection of Medieval Sculpture

Lars Hendrikman, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht

15.50 Paul Thoby, MD.: a Constant Collector

Camille Broucke, Musée Dobrée, Nantes

16.10 De Aves Venando in Eburibus: Two 19th– or 20th-century Ivories Acquired by Sir William Burrell

Anisha Birk, The British Museum, London and Robert Gibbs, University of Glasgow


16.30 – 16.45 Concluding remarks

Tickets will be available here soon:

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