Ebony and Ivory (object 22)

Ebony elephant

Unlike the object featured in my previous post, I’m ashamed to say that this one does contain real ivory, but I’m very fond of it. As I’ve mentioned previously, I remember Grandad Lane’s flat being full of objects from all over the world, giving the impression of a seasoned traveller and collector. Many of these objects came from India and for a long time I assumed he had lived and worked or served in the army there. Years later, however, I discovered that these objects had in fact belonged to the partner he lived with in his final years. I think her name was Stuart or Stewart – possibly Mary – and it was her (late?) husband who had lived in India and collected these “ordiments”. They included an assortment of ebony elephants of which this one, at about 10cm high, was the biggest, and my favourite. When Grandad died I chose this as my memento.
It’s easy to see that this “ordiment” has been broken at some point, but I can tell that this happened before it came to our house, because the repair was certainly not done by my dad. As a child I collected china animals and our family cat, who refused to walk across the floor of any room if she could jump via furniture instead, caused many breakages and tears. My watchmaker Dad would repair these casualties with the painstaking care of the true craftsman he was, so that the join was often invisible. The massive screw holding this elephant’s head in place does not indicate the subtle craftsman’s work, but it does give a unique character to Grandad’s ebony elephant.

Thanks again to Milton for the photo.

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About Hoarder of Babylon

A chartered librarian and curator of my family archives.
This entry was posted in Charles Harrison Lane (maternal grandfather), Ornaments ("ordiments"). Bookmark the permalink.

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