This fine carving, possibly once part of the cover of a manuscript, is very similar in style to another walrus ivory, The Baptism of Christ, which the Art Fund helped the British Museum to purchase in 1974.

Both carvings are related stylistically to the Benedictional of St Aethelwold in the British Library, which was written and illuminated by command of the St Aethelwold in the period 971-984, either at the New Minster, Winchester, or at Ely. St Aethelwold was one of the great churchmen who brought about the revival of Anglo-Saxon culture in the late 10th century, after the depredations of the Viking invasions. The period witnessed an increased production of illuminated manuscripts, written in reformed script and decorated in the 'Winchester' style, so called from its point of origin.

Provenance

The Rev Paul. W.Wyatt, Bedford; by descent.


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