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Relief - The Betrayal

The Betrayal

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    early 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Alabaster, gesso, gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W.L Hildburgh (F.S.A.)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The figure of Christ, with a forked beard is shown standing in the centre of the panel wearing a cloak draped over his right shoulder. The figures of his right hand are held in the traditional attitude of blessing, but the hand is pointing downwards, not raised as might be expected. The bearded Judas stands next to him, placing his left hand on Christ's shoulder to embrace him. A soldier grasps Christ's cloak from the left while St Peter is shown cutting off the right ear of Malchus with his sword.

The unusual downwards pointing position of Christ's right hand is not peculiar to this panel and instead is found in many alabaster panels of the Betrayal. This gesture probably refers to Christ's healing of the ear of Malchus.

The top of the panel has a embattled canopy, a feature popular in the early 15th century. This feature links it to four other panels in the V&A (A.152-1946, A.154-1946, A.171-1946, A.172-1946) which must originally have formed an altarpiece showing scenes from Christ's Passion.

Physical description

Relief, alabaster. Battlemented, Christ (left, centre) is embraced by Judas (right centre). On the right, a soldier seizes Christ's robe. Another soldier with a halberd and two civilians stand behind him. On the left, a civilian holds a lantern and an axe. St. Peter, who is striking the prostrate Malchus on the head with his sword, is himself struck by the hand of another civilian. Green and flowered ground. Gilt backing with gesso knobs (mostly now missing).

Place of Origin

England (made)


early 15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Alabaster, gesso, gilded


Height: 17.25 in, Width: 10.75 in, Height: 435 mm, Width: 280 mm, Depth: 70 mm

Object history note

Given by Dr W.L Hildburgh having been on loan since 1930. In the Musée Van Stolk before being sold at auction in Amsterdam in 1928. At an earlier period in the old oratory of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Palma de Mallorca. With nos. 167, 176, 187 and 202-1946, part of the Passion altarpiece.

Descriptive line

Relief, alabaster,The Betrayal, England, early fifteenth century

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984, no. 151.


Alabaster; Gesso






Sculpture Collection

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