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Diptych, 2 registers, 3 arches across (frise d'arcatures) (Front)

Diptych, 2 registers, 3 arches across (frise d'arcatures) (Front)
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Religious. Life of Christ. Life of the Virgin.

Repository Institution

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Birmingham, Oscott College

Inv. 60

Wood (later repair);ivory

Height: 65 mm
Width: 90 mm
Depth: 10 mm

Wing, left
Register 1: Coronation of the Virgin; two angels holding navettes and swinging censers, kneeling on corbels; angel crowning the Virgin; blessing gesture.
Register 2: Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds; sheep.
Wing, right
Register 1: Crucifixion; swooning Virgin supported by Holy Women; saint John the Evangelist and onlookers holding scrolls; sun and moon.
Register 2: Annunciation; vase of lilies; dove of the Holy Spirit; and Visitation.
The original arrangement of the wings was the opposite.

Institution's opinion 2015: French, 14th century.


Traces of two missing hinges along the outer sides (original hinges). Traces of two missing hinges along the inner sides (later hinges; miters repaired with ivory pieces).

Flat and smooth. Slightly chamfered inner edges (originally outer edges).

Object Condition
The wings have been swapped and rehinged at a later stage in the wrong order; the original hinges are now on the outer edges of the diptych.
The later hinges miters have been filled with ivory pieces so that the diptych is now static and cannot close.
Missing: upper left corner (replaced with carved wood).
The outer corners or the right wing (originally inner corners) have been cut at the back, possibly to fit the piece into a frame. This is not visible from the front. Deep indent and incision in the upper edge of the current right wing.
Hole in the back of the current left wing (only visible from the back). Paired holes along the outer edge of the left wing at the back, probably for clasps.

Possibly purchased for Oscott College or left to Oscott College by either Augustus Welby Pugin (b. 1812, d. 1852) or his benefactor, John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury (b. 1791, d. 1852). Probably part of the ‘collection of miscellaneous ivory carvings depicting scenes from the gospels’ mentioned in the inventory drawn by Rev. William Greaney in 1880.


© St Mary’s College, Oscott.

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