Walrus Said: A Long
Silence is Broken

History of the Bury Cross

By Denis Bloomfield-Smith
December 2004
Book Guild
ISBN: 1857768124
152 pages, Illustrated, 5 ½ x 8 ¾"
$33.95 Hardcover

In 1955 there appeared on the world's art market a small masterpiece in the shape of a cross of walrus ivory. Every part of the cross was carved with biblical figures and scenes, and such was the brilliance of the sculpting that its maker had clearly been a truly exceptional master of his craft: not only that, but there were strong indications that his was a talent imbued with scholarly knowledge rather than that of a highly skilled artisan under instruction from a cleric…

The cross was indisputably of English origin and, on the evidence of the detail of carving, dating from the twelfth century. With meticulous attention to relevant detail, Bloomfield-Smith recounts the story of the design and carving of the cross, and from the few clues left by the passage of time, how it came to be lost for eight centuries. Using his research he refutes utterly the allegations of anti-Semitism and argues that medieval art cannot be assessed against the twenty-first century environment.

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