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Relief - The Naming of St John the Baptist
  • The Naming of St John the Baptist
    Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883
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The Naming of St John the Baptist

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1845 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883 (maker)
    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (maker)
    Schweigger, George, born 1613 - died 1690 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Given by R. C. Lucas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an ivory plaque made by Richard Cockle Lucas in England in 1845. The plaque is carved in high relief, representing the naming of St. John the Baptist. This plaque is a copy by Lucas of the plaque in Solnhofen stone in the British Museum which bears the signature of Dürer, but is now established as the work of Georg Schweigger (Nürnberg, 1613-1690).

Richard Cockle Lucas (1800-1883) is mainly known as a sculptor in wax and ivory, but he also worked in glass, marble and bronze, as well as being a painter. Lucas began his career as a sculptor as an apprentice to his uncle, who worked as a cutler in Winchester, carving knife handles. He joined the Royal Academy Schools in 1828 and studied under Richard Westmacott. Lucas made two models of the Parthenon, in its original state and after the explosion of 1687, which were acquired by the British Museum. He is best known for his small scale works including wax sculptures and ivory carvings. Lucas was at the centre of a controversy about the bust of Flora in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. The bust was thought to be an authentic work by Leonardo da Vinci but the sculptor's son Albert Dürer Lucas claimed in the Burlington Magazine that the bust was modelled by his father. It is now generally thought that the bust is probably by Leonardo or his circle but was repaired by Lucas. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1829 and 1859 and showed ivory carvings and imitation bronzes at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


1845 (made)


Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883 (maker)
Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (maker)
Schweigger, George, born 1613 - died 1690 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory


Height: 20 cm, Width: 14 cm

Object history note

In 1845 Lucas was seen in the British Museum copying the Schweigger relief. Given by Richard Cockle Lucas in 1865, through Lord Palmerston, one of 33 works by Lucas received by Richard Redgrave on behalf of the Museum on 17 June 1865.

Descriptive line

Plaque, ivory relief, the Naming of St John the Baptist, a copy of a stone relief by George Schweigger (1613-90) based on the 1510 Dürer woodcut 'Death of the Virgin', by Richard Cockle Lucas, British, 1845

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Theuerkauff, Christian. Von Dürer zu Lucas? Kunst und Antiquitäten, IV, 1988, pp. 70-71, fig. 6
Jones, M. Fake? The Art of Deception, London: British Museum Publications, 1990, cat. no. 129b, p. 124
Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1, London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 33
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927, Part II, p. 124
Roscoe, I., with Sullivan, M.G. and Hardy, E., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660 to 1851, New Haven, 2009, p. 766

Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 166

Production Note

Copy of the relief by Georg Schweigger who based his relief on an engraving by Dürer.




Fakes & forgeries; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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