Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Capuchin Friar

  • Object:

    Ecclesiastical figure

  • Place of origin:

    France (possibly, made)
    Germany (possibly, made)
    Netherlands (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    first half 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Figure made of tow and wax, dressed in linen and woollen materials.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr. G. Smith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This figure is one of a set of 50 dressed to represent the outfits worn by Catholic religious orders. They are made of tow (hemp) with wax heads, hands and feet. They were probably made in France, as they are labelled in French, but some of the orders represented were only active in Germany and the Netherlands.

This figure represents a Capuchin friar. The Capuchins, or the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, are a Franciscan order founded in 1520 by Matteo da Bascio (1495-1552) who wanted a return to the extreme simplicity, poverty and austerity of the Rule of St. Francis. They wear a very simple brown tunic with a knotted waist cord. The short brown hooded cape and the beard were adopted from Camaldoese monks, who gave refuge to the original Capuchins when they were persecuted by Franciscan superiors. In 1528, Pope Clement VII gave the Capuchins permission to follow their chosen manner of life. There is also an order of nuns known as the Capuchines or Capuchin Poor Clares. (see 1212:15-1905).

Physical description

Figure made of wax and tow, dressed in linen and woollen fabrics.
Brown tunic with knotted cord, short brown cape and hood, beard, sandals.

Place of Origin

France (possibly, made)
Germany (possibly, made)
Netherlands (possibly, made)


first half 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Figure made of tow and wax, dressed in linen and woollen materials.


Height: 31 cm including stand

Object history note

One of a group of 50 figures given to the Educational Department by Mr. G. Smith of St John's Wood in 1868, but only formally accessioned in 1905. The labels on the bases are in French but some of the orders represented (e.g the Alexians and the Order of the Conception) seem to have been confined to Germany and the Low Countries. (from original acquisition record for 1905)

Descriptive line

Wax and tow figure dressed as a Capuchin friar

Production Note

Labelled in French; some of the orders represented confined to Germany or the Netherlands.


Wax; Tow; Linen; Wool (textile)


Religion; Christianity; Ecclesiastical textiles; Dolls & Toys; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.