Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Some have proposed that such a ban should involve forcibly removing ivory from all antique objects before sale, leaving items defaced with cavities and extraction damage, or holes filled with alternative materials.

Such a practice would dismantle the integrity of the objects and alter their intended aesthetic. Some precious objects have reached the relative safety of museums, but many others are in private hands.

As an example of the exquisite craftsmanship that could no longer be traded, take this royal cabinet above, inlaid with ivory, c.1865, by Holland & Sons for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra.

This cabinet was specially commissioned during the redecoration of their official London residence, Marlborough House, whose purpose was to display the best of English craftsmanship and entertain foreign dignitaries and figures from British society.

It would be senseless to destroy this legacy now.

Antiques are not just objects for sale, but works of art in their own right, with inherent cultural significance that should be protected and cherished.

It is in our shared best interest to preserve the past and value our cultural heritage, while working together to provide solutions to defend today’s elephants and crack down on the modern ivory trade – not erase or destroy the past.

Ian Butchoff

Via email