Relief of Saint Peter
- Place of origin:
ca. 1160 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
Portland stone (Oolitic limestone)
- Credit Line:
Purchased with Art Fund support (Eugene Cremetti Fund)
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery, case WS
The relief together with A.3-1990 comes from the Augustinian priory at Ivychurch, Wiltshire. Their exact use is unclear: Zarnecki has suggested that the works may have formed part of a screen or may have been placed on the piers of a cloister, while Williamson has proposed that they may have been used to adorn the façade of the Abbey. The reliefs were later inserted into the wall of Ivychurch House, the post-dissoloution succesor to the priory.
St Peter bears his attributes as a bishop: the pallium (worn around the neck) and a mitre. The pallium was bestowed by the pope. The crosier represented pastoral
responsibility. The keys signified that entrance to Heaven relied on obedience to the church. The figure probably came from a screen in the Augustinian priory at Ivychurch, Wiltshire.
Peter became leader of the twelve Apostles and was the closest to Christ. When paired with Saint Paul as this figure was at Ivychurch Priory, the two represent the pillars of the church.
The saint is shown standing full face, holding two large keys in his right hand while blessing, and a crosier in his left; from this arm a maniple with tassles hangs down. He is dressed as an archbishop with a pallium, a chasuble with a highly decorated collar and beaded borders, a long stole with tassels, an alb with splits at the sides and beaded sleeves. From underneath the alb protrudes one foot in a sandal; the other is broken off. On his head is a triangular mitre, which came into fashion after ca. 1150. The face has a smooth surface with a line marking the beard. There are concentric folds on the chasuble. The figure, full of dignity and decorum, projects from a flat background. The reverse of the stone is carved with a shallow cross with splayed arms interlacing with a wheel, this motif has been compared to a motif on the Kelloe reliquary cross.
Place of Origin
ca. 1160 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Portland stone (Oolitic limestone)
Height: 82 cm, Width: 40 cm, Depth: 17 cm, Weight: 58 kg
Object history note
The relief together with A.3-1990 comes from the Augustinian priory at Ivychurch, Wiltshire. Their exact use is unclear: Zarnecki has suggested that the works may have formed part of a screen or may have been placed on the piers of a cloister, while Williamson has proposed that they may have been used to adorn the façade of the Abbey. The reliefs were later inserted into the wall of Ivychurch House, the post-dissoloution succesor to the priory. Removed from the house in 1982 for conservation carried out by W. Sobczynski the reliefs were loaned to the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1984 up until their purchase by the museum in 1990, for £54,100.00.
Historical context note
Peter became leader of the twelve Apostles and was the closest to Christ. He accompanied Christ in his ministry, he lead the Apostles in their teaching of the gospels and went to Rome and established a Christian community and was Crucified by Nero 64AD. His appearance here wearing the vestments of an archbishop is a reference to his position as the first bishop of Rome. When paired with Saint Paul as this figure was at Ivychurch Priory, the two represent the pillars of the church.
The priory of Ivychurch was founded in the parish of Alderbery, south east of Salisbury in Wiltshire. A small Minster, a dependant chapel of Alderberry church , stood on the site before the foundation of the priory and became the priory church. It was originally an Augustinian Priory of St. Mary. No foundation charter is known and the earliest evidence of the priory comes from the Hundred Rolls for 1274, in which the jurors of Alderbery name King Stephen as the founder. The priory was certainly a royal foundation and the fact that it is mentioned in the first pipe rolls of Henry II seems to confirm the jurors claim. Never receiving great endowments the priory nevertheless enjoyed privileges in the adjacent royal Clarendon Park. After the Dissolution it came into the hands of Henry, Earl of Pembroke, who converted it into a dwelling, which was later occupied by royalists during the civil war. Much of the priory building including the original twelfth century cloisters remained standing until 1888 when it was pulled down. A farm house with many reclaimed sculpted stones now stands on part of the site and it was on the outside of the end wall of this house that the figures of Saints Peter & Paul were positioned.
Relief, Portland stone (Oolitic limestone), of St. Peter, from the Ivychurch (Wiltshire), English, ca. 1160
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Williamson, Paul, "Acquisition of Sculpture at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1986-1991", in: Burlington Magazine, Dec. 1991, p. 876
Zarnecki, G., Holt, J. and Holland, Tristam (eds.), English Romanesque Art 1066-1200, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery London, London, 1984, pp 190-191
Zarnecki, G., "Sculpture in Stone in the English Romanesque Art Exhibition", in: Macready, Sarah and Thompson, F.H. (eds.), Art and Patronage in the English Romanesque, London, 1986, pp 23-24
Wiltshire Notes & Queries, Vol.1 Chapter No.2 Quaterly Journal for March 1893 pp. 24-29 illustrated p.29
"The Religious Houses of Wiltshire", Victoria History of Wiltshire Volume 3 (London, Published for the Institute of Historical Research by Oxford University
Labels and date
Oolitic Limestone (Portland stone)
English; about 1160
From the Augustinian priory at Ivychurch, Wiltshire. Purchased with the assistance of a contribution from the National Art Collections Fund (Eugene Cremetti Fund)
This relief together with that showing St Paul on the adjacent pier perhaps origianlly formed part of a choirscreen or mauy have been set into the facade of the priory church at Ivychurch. 
Mitre; Cross; Crozier; Chasubles; Keys (hardware); Palliums (mantles); Albs
Ph_survey; Christianity; Religion; Sculpture