This extraordinary catalogue presents five hundred items from one of the world’s largest and finest collections of objects made from ivory and narwhal tusk, The Royal Danish Collection at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. In this stunning two-volume catalogue, author Jørgen Hein presents an impressive array of carved and turned works from Scandinavia and beyond. With more than seven hundred high-quality photographs, a lucid narrative and clear organization, Hein showcases the many artistic artefacts that with great skill were worked out of ivory and narwhal tusk in a crucial period of European history. The remarkable range of items discussed and presented – reflecting different artistic styles and techniques – includes caskets, statuettes, goblets, tankards and beakers, ink horns, chandeliers, cabinet clocks, medallions and reliefs, and much besides, all with richly detailed ornamentation, and most with dramatic depictions of historical, religious and particularly mythological motifs.
In addition to describing each object in great detail, the entries include comparisons with similar items in international collections. The historical introduction offers an important backdrop to understanding the many works, while intriguing running biographies present many of the notable carvers and turners, such as the Frenchman Jean Cavalier, who visited the court, and those it employed, some of whom would win European fame, including Joachim Henne, Gottfried Wolffram, Magnus Berg and later Lorenz Spengler. The court’s genuine interest in turning is also reflected in its hiring of professional artists to instruct the royals themselves at the lathe.
Ivories and Narwhal Tusks at Rosenborg Castle offers a fascination exploration into Danish and European art history and will be an invaluable resource for students, scholars and anyone with a general interest in carving and turning at the highest order.
Jørgen Hein er museumsinspektør ved De Danske Kongers Kronologiske Samling på Rosenborg og Amalienborg.