Cross

late 10th century to early 11th century (made)
Cross thumbnail 1
Cross thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Walrus ivory and carving
Brief Description
Pectoral reliquary cross, walrus ivory, Anglo-Saxon (possibly Gloucester), 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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 9cm
  • At centre width: 5.5cm
  • Depth: 1.8cm
  • Weight: 0.06kg
Style
Credit line
Purchased under the bequest of Francis Reubell Bryan
Object history
Bequest of the late Francis Reubell Bryan. Formerly in the Gambier-Parry collection, Highnam Court.
Historical context
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
  • Exhibition of English Mediaeval Art, 1930., London : V&A, Published by authority of the Board of Education, 193089
Collection
Accession Number
A.10-1921

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record createdFebruary 13, 2009
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