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Statuette - St Barbara

St Barbara

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Siegburg (made)

  • Date:

    second half 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pipeclay

  • Museum number:

    1583-1903

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This statuette - the standing figure of St. Barbara, supporting a tower on her left hand - is by an unknown artist from Siegburg in Germany made in the second half of the 15th century.

It is made of pipeclay, which is a fine white clay also used to make tobacco pipes and pottery. Conveniently situated on a major trading route, Siegburg was a centre of ceramic production with well-organised workshops and kilns in which pipe-clay figures were also fired.

Saint Barbara was a Christian saint and martyr. She is the patron saint of artillerymen, military engineers and miners and all professions working with explosives.
Her legend seems not to have any historical foundation behind it. It tells that her father built a tower with two windows where he shut his daughter in to keep her away from her suitors. Barbara persuaded the workmen to add a third window, which symbolises the Trinity.

Her father later killed her. He then was killed by a lightning and that is why Saint Barbara became the patroness of all professions related to gunfire and firearms.

Physical description

Standing figure of St. Barbara, supporting a tower on her left hand.

Place of Origin

Siegburg (made)

Date

second half 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Pipeclay

Dimensions

Height: 9.53 cm

Object history note

Bought from Thewalt Collection.

Historical context note

Siegburg was a centre of ceramic production with well-organised workshops and kilns in which pipeclay figures were also fired.

Descriptive line

Statuette, pipeclay, St. Barbara, Germany (Siegburg), second half of 15th century

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

Inventory of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1903 - 1904. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1903, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Wyman and Sons, Limited, 1907, p. 269

Materials

Pipeclay

Subjects depicted

Tower

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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