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The Pope

  • 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 the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church. The wax head does not appear to be a portrait of a specific Pope. Its costume is similar to the 'choir dress' that modern Popes wear to attend services and formal occasions, such as audiences. It consists of a white tunic over which is worn an embroidered linen and lace cotta and a red cape known as the 'papal mozetta' trimmed with white fringe. This represents the fur trimming on the full-size winter mozetta. A stole trimmed with braid is worn over the mozetta along with a gold pectoral cross on a knotted cord. The figure carries a Papal Cross, a staff topped with a crucifix, and wears a three-tiered crown known as the Triregnum or Papal Tiara.

Physical description

Figure made of wax and tow, dressed in linen and woollen fabrics.
White tunic, embroidered linen and lace cotta, red cape trimmed white fringe, gold cross on knotted cord, stole trimmed with black braid, Cross of Lorraine and papal hat

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 the Pope

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

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