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The Entombment

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.7-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The dead Christ, bearded and wearing the torse, is represented wrapped in a shroud, his right arm hanging down, being lowered into the tomb, which fills the width of the panel. He is held at the head by the bearded Nicodemus, and his legs are supported by Joseph of Arimathea, who wears a mitre shaped hat and a belted gown with a tasselled purse. The Virgin Mary, flanked by Mary Cleophas and Mary Salome, stands in the centre of the panel behind the tomb.

Slight traces of paintwork and of a daisy pattern remain.

Physical description

The dead Christ, bearded and wearing the torse, is represented wrapped in a shroud, his right arm hanging down, being lowered into the tomb, which fills the width of the panel. He is held at the head by the bearded Nicodemus, who wears a gown and a high-crowned hat and stands behind the tomb on the left of the panel. His legs are held by Joseph of Arimathaea, also bearded, who wears a mitre-shaped hat and a belted gown with a tasselled purse. The Virgin Mary, veiled and with hands held together in prayer, stands in the centre of the panel behind the tomb. She is flanked by two female figures, wearing cloaks fastened by brooches, who presumably represnt Mary Cleophas, mother of James and Joseph, and Mary Salome, mother of Zebedee's children. Mary Magdalene, wearing a gown and cloak, is seated in front of the tomb on the left of the panel; she is presumably wiping Christ's hand with her long hair by which she is traditionally identified, having anointed him with the ointment contained in the alabaster box resting on a small mound in the middle of the panel. Accoding to the gospel accounts, Christ was buried in Joseph of Arimathaea's own tomb, hewn out of a rock, and Nicodemus brought spices which they wound in the linen cloths round the body. There is a horizontal break across the lower part of the panel. The hands of Mary Magdalene and the top of the ointment box are missing and there are seven holes in the front of the panel. The top right corner of the panel is missing, including probably the figure of St. John the Evangelist which is often represented there.Slight traces of the daisy pattern remain on the bottom of the panel. There are traces of red in the folds of the garments and on the hair of Mary Magdalene. Traces of blue are to be seen on the Virgin's head covering. The back of the panel has nine holes drilled into it, three with lead plugs.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Dimensions

Height: 40.8 cm, Width: 24.9 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in northern France. On loan from Dr Hildburgh since 1920 and given by him in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting the Entombment. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 268 (cat. 195), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Hildburgh, W.L. Two Alabaster Tables. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries. XXVIII, 1916, pp. 65-7, fig. 2.

Materials

Alabaster; Paint

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Gown; Veil; Tomb; Hat; Cloak; Brooch; Box; Shroud; Torse; Mitre

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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