Guru Battie defends ivory in letter to HRH

The high profile, renowned expert on Chinese and Japanese art, David Battie, possibly best known as TV guru on The Antiques Road Show, has written an open letter to HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, imploring him not to destroy historical ivory pieces in the Royal Collection. His important letter is reproduced below, courtesy The Antiques Trade Gazette which published it yesterday.

We have published several articles recently on the threat to future trade in important historical ivory pieces (http://chineseart.co.uk/?s=ivory). Battie’s call comes against drastic new restrictions on the trade in the US emanating direct from the White House and Prince William’s public campaign to halt any trade in ivory.

The feeling in the antique trade is generally that proposed moves will simply drive up the prices of surviving pieces which will then be forced into a black market. This, in turn, will simply serve to increase the demand for unprocessed ivory and actually harm the campaign to save the African elephant.

As Battie trenchantly put it this week, “Burning the art of our grandparents is not the solution.”

battie letter to HRH on ivory579

Courtesy Antiques Trade Gazette March 15 2014

doctor figure

Ultimately bound for the crusher? An interesting early 19th century Chinese doctor’s ivory figure used in consultations. To be sold next week by Thomson Roddick Scottish Auctions in Edinburgh