"When, later, expert examination revealed that the shield was a modern
forgery, the collector, Mr. Craig-Brown, had recourse to legal action
and succeeded in recovering the amount of the purchase money. Not long
after this the same collector saw in Brussels, in one of the leading
establishments for the sale of art objects, an exact copy, or replica,
of the work he had rejected, the price being the same, £400. As an
example of the value of medieval or Renaissance ivories, the "Vierge
de Boubon," one of the rare figures of the Virgin of the type called by
the French " Vierges Ouvertes," was sold at auction in 1903, as part
of the collection of Sir Thomas Gibson-Carmichael, at Christie's in
London, for the sum of £3,800, or about $19,000.* This is by some
experts believed to be the only genuine specimen of its kind.
of these strange ivory statuettes named "Vierges Ouvertes " is listed
in an inventory of the church treasure of Notre Dame de Paris, made in
1348. It is there described as "an ivory image of great antiquity,
divided in the middle, and with sculptured images in the opening; it is
generally placed on the high altar, "f In this peculiar type of ivory
the figure of the Virgin is longitudinally divided from top to bottom,
so that the two halves can be opened out, forming two leaves of a
triptych, the inner parts being carved with designs in harmony with
those offered by the centre leaf, revealed when the figure is opened
remarkably fine collection of ivories in the Grüne Gewölbe at Dresden
was founded by Elector Augustus of Saxony (1553-1586), who was not only
a great connoisseur but did some turning work in ivory himself. To
Maskell "Ivory, in Commerce and in the Arts," Cantor Lectures; in
Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. LIV, No. 2817, p. 1178; November
16, 1906, and the same writer's "Ivories," London, 1905, p. 175, PI. xx.
Labarte, " Histoire des arts industriels au Moyen Age et à l'époque de
la Renaissance," VoL I, Paris, 1864, p. 234; from Comptes des
ornements et meubles de l'Eglise de Paris; MS. Arch, de l'Emp., L.
5093, fol. 22 recto.