Ivory was a rare and precious material highly prized in the West from late antiquity until the Roman era (10th – 12th century) and Gothic period (13th – 15th century).
This beautifully preserved Virgin and Child from the very early Gothic period is distinguished by the quality of the workmanship. The subtlety and softness of the Virgin’s face and the delicacy of the details such as the strap holding her cloak to her breast, the fluidity and suppleness of the two figures’ draperies mean that the sculpture can be attributed to the style of 1200, or Early Gothic. This stylistic current flourished in the north-east of France and in the Mosan regions circa 1200 and was characterised by a renewed interest in classical antiquity.
This statuette was preserved at Ourscamp Abbey (Oise département) until 1789. The passage of time has unfortunately faded the polychrome colours and gilding that used to be visible on this piece, which is as valuable as a gold object.