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Panel relief - St John

St John

  • Object:

    Panel relief

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830-1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed limewood carved in relief

  • Museum number:

    4844-1858

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This panel, part of a four panel relief is representing St John and is made circa between 1830-40 in Germany.

Although the carver rendered the hands and faces of the Evangelists more or less skillfully, other elements such as the ox, the piles of books, the tracery, and even the schematic drapery are relatively clumsily carved. For these reasons it may be suggested that the four reliefs were made in the first half of the 19th century. They were perhaps historicizing pieces, possibly made in about 1830-40 in a workshop which was highly receptive to the neo-Gothic style, perhaps to decorate a pulpit (as would have been appropriate for these subjects), and quickly removed from their original context, or never used.
Alternatively the present pieces may have been made to deceive, and sold by an unscrupulous dealer as genuine 15th century pieces.

Physical description

First piece of a four part panel relief carved in limewood showing St. John with flowing hair seated on a cushioned bench in a domestic interior. He is seen from the back, but his face is rendered in profile turned slightly upwards to his right, as if awaiting inspiration. His left arm rests on the sloping board of a lectern, while his right arm is raised and would originally have held a quill. He wears a long tunic belted at the waist. An eagle is perched on the bench alongside, holding the end of a fluttering scroll with its left claw and beak.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

ca. 1830-1840 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Glazed limewood carved in relief

Dimensions

Height: 56.5 cm, Width: 56.5 cm, Depth: 5 cm

Object history note

Formerly in the David Falcke Collection, London. Falke Sale, Christie and Manson, London, 19 April 1858, lot 2886. Bought for £4 4s for each panel.

Historical context note

Although the carver rendered the hands and faces of the Evangelists more or less skillfully, other elements such as the ox, the piles of books, the tracery, and even the schematic drapery are relatively clumsily carved. For these reasons it may be suggested that the four reliefs were made in the first half of the 19th century. They were perhaps historicizing pieces, possibly made in about 1830-40 in a workshop which was highly receptive to the neo-Gothic style, perhaps to decorate a pulpit (as would have been appropriate for these subjects), and quickly removed from their original context, or never used.
Alternatively the present pieces may have been made to deceive, and sold by an unscrupulous dealer as genuine 15th century pieces.

Descriptive line

Panel, relief, St. John, by an unknown artist, made ca. 1830-40, Germany

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

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1858. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 18
Jopek, Norbert. German Sculpture 1430-1540, A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2002, pp. 151-153, cat.no. 71d.

Materials

Limewood

Techniques

Glazing; Relief

Subjects depicted

Tunic; Eagle; Bench; Scroll; Lectern

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture; Reliefs

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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