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Panel - The Assumption of the Virgin

The Assumption of the Virgin

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    second half 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Max Rosenheim with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:

    A.32-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Virgin is dressed in a very similar way, with a similarly elaborate fastening to her cloak, on a panel of the Assumption in the Musée des Antiquités, Rouen. Similar elaborate cloak fastenings are also to be seen on the effigies on a number of 15th-century alabaster tombs: for example, those of Lady Bardolf, Dennington, Suffolk, and Lady Nevill, Harewood, Yorkshire. The design of the panel is similar to an Assumption panel which was in Naworth Castle in 1932, to one in the Museo Povinicial de Bellas Artes, Seville, and one in the Musée des Antiquités, Rouen.

Physical description

The Virgin wears a fillet on her head, a gown with a short tunic over it and a cloak fastened in an unusually elaborate manner by a cord; the ends of the cord are held together by a toggle and looped over. She stands in the centre of the panel in a mandorla held by two pairs of kneeling angels. Her hands are raised apart in an attitude of prayer. An unusual feature is another angel facing out of the bottom of the panel who supports her feet. On the left at her feet kneels the bearded figure of St. Thomas, hands together in prayer, holding the Virgin's belt which has a carved buckle and clasp. God the Father, crowned and bearded, is at the top of the panel above a division indicating heaven; he holds an orb surmounted with a cross in his left hand and blesses with his right. He is flanked by an angel on the left playing a small harp and an angel on the right playing a lute with a plectrum.

The top corners of the panel are chipped. Much colouring remains. Green paint and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground. Red paint flecked with white and black dots remains on the angels' wings. There are traces of gilding on the hair of the Virgin, of the angels and on the hair, beard and crown of God the Father. There is also gilding on the belt buckle and clasp and on the angels' instruments. A zigzag pattern is painted round the edge of the mandorla, in light and dark browns edged with white. The Virgin's tunic is decorated with dark feather-shaped motifs. There is gilding on the upper background with the remains of gesso knobs.

The back of the panel bears three lead-plugged holes, one with a latten wire attached. There is an incised mark. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

second half 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

'X'
Incised on the back of the panel.

Dimensions

Height: 41.9 cm, Width: 26.7 cm

Object history note

Gift of Max Rosenheim in 1910 through the National Art Collections Fund.

Historical significance: The Virgin is dressed in a very similar way, with a similarly elaborate fastening to her cloak, on a panel of the Assumption in the Musée des Antiquités, Rouen. Similar elaborate cloak fastenings are also to be seen on the effigies on a number of 15th-century alabaster tombs: for example, those of Lady Bardolf, Dennington, Suffolk, and Lady Nevill, Harewood, Yorkshire. The design of the panel is similar to an Assumption panel which was in Naworth Castle in 1932, to one in the Museo Povinicial de Bellas Artes, Seville, and one in the Musée des Antiquités, Rouen.

Descriptive line

Panel, alabaster, depicting the Assumption of the Virgin, England, second half of 15th century

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 203 (cat. 130), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Society of Antiquaries. Illustrated catalogue of the Exhibition of English Medieval Alabaster Work, Held in the Rooms of the Society of Antiquaries, 26th May-30th June, 1910. London, 1913, no. 54, pl. XXI.

Materials

Alabaster; Paint; Gilt

Techniques

Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Angel; Cloak; Harp; Gown; Tunic; Lute; Cross; Orb

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture; Reliefs

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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