Document Type


Date of Award



Ivories, Medieval, Ivory carving

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Art History

First Advisor

Stanley S. Ferber

Second Advisor

François Bucher

Third Advisor

Robin Oggins




Half of a century has elapsed since any substantial scholarship of a comprehensive nature has been done on late medieval English ivories. Since the 1920s, a few studies, now hopelessly dated, have sufficed for the curious, the scholar, and the admirer of an important form of the English minor arts. During this same period, English ivories of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries have, with few exceptions, been neglected. There have been studies that could have discussed or reconsidered these precious objects; objects which certainly played an important role in the life of the late medieval Englishman. Several studies dealing with English art of the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries have restricted their scope by only a casual and often cursory glance at the ivory.

Since these studies were published, ivories previously unknown to scholars have made their way into the public museum from the obscurity of private collections. This, combined with the present status of previous scholarship, has necessitated the following study.

The study of ivories of any period presents certain difficulties that must be recognized. This is particularly true with ivory carving in England between the years of 1200 and 1400. Some of the problems to be dealt with in this paper are: was there a decline in ivory carving in England, and when did the practice cease to be an art form? In England, we will see two declines, the first during the ‘Transitional Period’ (c. 1200-1220), the second occurring between 1270 and 1300. What was the nature and cause of these temporary declines? Ivory carving finally experiences a death in the middle part of the fourteenth century. What was its cause?


This dissertations is bound in two volumes. Both volumes are combined in the pdf.