Antique carved ivory diptych with Christian subject


This beautiful ivory diptych is intricately carved with Gothic Revival style low-relief scenes depicting the Passion of Christ, as told in the Bible.


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The ivory diptych is designed to be read across the two hinged panels from the bottom left to right, then the top left to right. On the left panel, the lower left scene depicts the Kiss of Judas and the right possibly shows either Christ Crowned with Thorns or some aspect of his trial. The right side’s lower left scene depicts the Flagellation of Christ, while the right shows Christ Carrying the Cross. Back to the left, the upper left image portrays the Crucifixion and the right depicts the Entombment. On the right panel, the upper left and right scenes appear to show the Harrowing of Hell. These figurative scenes are separated by columns and take place beneath trefoil-profile Gothic arches.

The carvings are highly naturalistic in style and the level of detail achieved is exceptional. This ivory carving will make a perfect addition to a collection of ivories, religious items or small sculptures.

Open: Height 14.5cm, width 14cm, depth 1.5cm
Closed: Height 14.5cm, width 7cm, depth 3cm


This ivory carving was in the collection of Mr and Mrs George Cowell in the early 20th Century. When Mrs Cowell died in 1925, some twenty items from the collection were bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. At the time, a press release was issued, reading ‘The Victoria and Albert Museum has received an important accession to its collection of Medieval and Renaissance Art by the bequest of the late Mrs George Cowell. Her son Mr Athelstan Riley has generously renounced a life interest in the bequest and the objects are now on exhibition in the Central Court of the Museum.’ Athelstan Riley lived at No. 2 Kensington Court, London and later at The Manor of La Trinité in Jersey. He was the grandfather of the previous owner.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Biblical, Christian, Gothic, Religious


14.5 cm / 5.5 inches
14 cm / 5.5 inches
1.5 cm / 0.4 inches


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