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Cross

  • Place of origin:

    Gloucester (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    late 10th or early 11th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walrus ivory and carving

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased under the bequest of Francis Reubell Bryan

  • Museum number:

    A.10-1921

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery, case 11

Pectoral crosses were worn on a chain or cord around the neck, and acted as charms to protect the wearer. The pectoral cross was commonly worn by bishops and abbots in the medieval period.
The figure style and the particular iconographic feature of the Dextera Dei also link the cross with monumental pre-Conquest stone sculptures, such as Stepney and Romsey, datable to the late 10th or early 11th century.

Physical description

Walrus ivory cross. Above, the Hand of God (dextera dei) descends from a cloud above a figure of the crucified Christ. Christ appears to stand before the cross rather than being nailed to it, his feet standing on a suppedaneum.
Four roundels bear the emblems of the evangelists. At the top left the Angel of St Matthew, at the top right the Eagle of St John, at the bottom left the Bull of St Luke and at the bottom right the Lion of St Mark (now illegible).
The piece has an oval shape and is very worn, the detail on the figure and emblems has been lost. The work is pierced by thirteen small round holes. At the back is a hollow cross-shaped receptacle for a relic.

Place of Origin

Gloucester (possibly, made)

Date

late 10th or early 11th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Walrus ivory and carving

Dimensions

Height: 9 cm, Width: 5.5 cm at centre, Depth: 1.8 cm, Weight: 0.06 kg

Object history note

Bequest of the late Francis Reubell Bryan. Formerly in the Gambier-Parry collection, Highnam Court.

Historical context note

The figure style and the particular iconographic feature of the Dextera Dei also link the cross with monumental pre-Conquest stone sculptures, such as Stepney and Romsey, datable to the late 10th or early 11th century.

Descriptive line

Pectoral reliquary cross, walrus ivory, Anglo-Saxon (possibly Gloucester), late 10th or early 11th century

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

Casson, Stanley. Byzantium and Anglo-Saxon sculpture. Burlinggton Magazine. LXI. 1932. pp. 273-274. pl. II, C.
Beckwith, John. Ivory carvings in early medieval England. London, Harvey, Miller and Redcalf, 1972. cat. no. 32. pp. 124-125. fig. 68.
Burlington Magazine. CIX, 1967. p. 116.
Williamson, Paul, Webster, Leslie. The coloured decoration of Anglo-Saxon ivory carvings. In: Early medieval wall painting and painted sculpture in England. Oxford, 1990. pp. 179, 183. pl. 10.
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929. Part I. p. 85.
Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 234, 5, cat.no. 58

Materials

Tusk (walrus ivory)

Techniques

Carving

Subjects depicted

Roundels; Cross

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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