Reaction to the story on mainstream media was strong, as this selection shows.
On BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, 30 August, the show’s host asked: should a 200-year-old piece of furniture be stripped of its ivory?
Max Rutherston, dealer, said: “This incident … was entirely unnecessary. With a piece as important as the Chippendale cabinet, nobody should be removing inlays in any material. The cabinet made a record price in 1991 but is seriously devalued today.”
James Lewis, Bamfords Auctioneers and Born Free Foundation trustee, said: “I’d like to see the de minimis in the draft ivory bill raised from 10% to 20%. One big risk is the potential for ivory pieces that add up to 15% of a bronze figure, for example, to be removed and copied in modern poached hippo ivory. The argument that there is no link between modern poaching and antique ivory is wrong. But the environmental argument to ‘ban it all’ is also wrong.”
Robertyoungantiques wrote: Thank you so much, ATG, for drawing further attention to this irresponsible madness. The proposed law is a fool and must be exposed as such.
Paul Jeromack: This is pure vandalism under the guise of animal conservation. I love elephants and want the current ivory trade quashed, but this destruction helps no one – and certainly doesn’t stop elephant slaughter.
Kitstocker1: Sheer and utter madness. If we despair at the destruction of heritage sites in the Middle East, yet allow works of art to be dismembered here, how are we the better for it? Christie’s would have been smarter to have refused to accept it for auction.
@FabScarborough: Apart from being an act of unbelievably crass vandalism, a masterpiece of English furniture making has now been physically diminished. Has the work the owner undertook to make the piece more commercial internationally had the opposite effect? @Timothy_Garland: Replacing the ivory for plastic has not stopped any elephant from being killed since the original auction.
@Baggottsilver: Old thin ivory veneers are unbelievably fragile. I can’t imagine there wasn’t damage caused in removing them, also to the surrounding surface of the wood. This is another pitfall. ‘Replacing’ antique ivory with a substitute material can rarely be done without causing damage.
@Marc_Allum: Stumped for words.