I am very concerned about the current debate over the sale of historic ivory.
I am an author, lecturer, dealer and collector specialising in Asian Art of some 55 years standing.
I am also passionate about the need to stop the illegal trade in modern (post-1947) ivory, most (if not all) of which is driven by the market for ivory products in China.
In recent months I have also been contributing to the study being carried out into this issue by Portsmouth University, who are shortly to report to DEFRA.
We seem to live in an age where vociferous protests by campaigners can drown out the voices of reason and pragmatism.
The UK antiques trade has a wonderful reputation for keeping to the current CITES rules, born out by independent investigation. There is no proven logical or meaningful link between the sale and ownership of pre-1947 ivory items and today’s illegal trade.
Our art history is adorned in almost all areas by the use of worked ivory, not used because of its source, but because it was a unique material that displayed craftsmanship and quality.
From pianos to portrait miniatures, from objet d’art like Japanese netsuke to furniture embellishment, it would be an absolute tragedy, not just for us today but for future generations, if anything were done to damage this great artistic legacy which is also an important part of our social history.
I would hope that you can take this view into account when this matter is again discussed in the House of Commons.
Gerald Davison Ltd (Asian Art specialist)