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Relief - The Sunday Christ

The Sunday Christ

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Acquired with funds from the Hildburgh Bequest and contributions from Mr John Studzinski CBE and Mr and Mrs Paul Ruddock

  • Museum number:

    A.1-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture 1300-1600, Room 27, case 2

The Sunday Christ is a particular form of medieval imagery intended for parish audiences. The Sabbatarian movement promoted Sunday as a sacred day, believing that those who worked on Sunday contributed directly to Christ's suffering. Christ is portrayed as Man of Sorrows, flanked and pierced by workmen's tools. This figure would have been placed to a door or chapel and is the only known English example.
The figure was probably originally contained within a wooden tabernacle with shutters. This is a unique English medieval alabaster carving depicting the Sunday Christ.

Physical description

Christ is shown as a Man of Sorrows, but instead of being surrounded by the Instruments of his Passion, he is flanked by and often pierced by workmen's tools which are predominantly connected with agrarian labour. Three lead-filled holes are on the back for latten wire to attach it to a wooden background.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1500 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Alabaster

Dimensions

Height: 39 cm, Width: 12 cm, Depth: 4 cm

Object history note

Formerly in Portugal. Acquired from Sam Fogg Ltd in London for £25,000 by a dealer in Berkshire. Acquired with funds from the Hildburgh Bequest and contributions from Mr John Studzinski CBE and Mr and Mrs Paul Ruddock.

Historical significance: This is a unique English medieval alabaster carving depicting the Sunday Christ. The image was essentially moralising and admonitory, rather than devotional.

Historical context note

The figure was probably originally contained within a wooden tabernacle with shutters. It would probably have been sited near the door to a church or chapel like the large figure of St Christopher.

Descriptive line

Relief, alabaster, 'The Sunday Christ', English, ca. 1500

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

Davies Glyn and Townsend, Eleanor, ed. by, A Reservoir of Ideas: Essays in Honour of Paul Williamson, London, Paul Holberton Publishing in assoc with V&A Publishing, 2017, pp.16-17, fig.2

Labels and date

The Sunday Christ
About 1500
England
Alabaster
Acquired with funds from the Hildburgh Bequest
and contributions
from Mr John Studzinski CBE and Mr and Mrs Paul Ruddock
Museum no. A.1-2010 [26/11/2010]

Materials

Alabaster

Techniques

Carved

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Reliefs; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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