Altar Tusk



The distinctive, repeated, fine guilloche pattern (an interlocking motif) is a feature of work produced by the Igbesanmwan - the specialist guild of ivory and wood carvers connected with the Benin royal court. This tusk was given to the museum by Mrs Irene Beasley via the British Museum in 1954 after the death of her husband, Harry Geoffrey Beasley (1882-1939). H. G. Beasley's family owned a brewery in Kent and this wealthy background enabled Beasley to collect 'ethnographic' objects from around the world and to found a museum at Cranmore House, Chislehurst, Kent, in 1928. Between 1895 and 1939 he created one of the largest private 'ethnographic' collections in Britain.