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Panel - The Deposition

The Deposition

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The dead body of Christ, is lowered from the cross by Joseph of Arimathaea, while the small figure of Nicodemus removed the nail from Christ's feet. The top of the panel is missing but the figure standing beside the Virgin was probably that of St John the Evangelist.

Physical description

The dead body of Christ, with the nail still sticking through his left foot, is being lowered by the left arm by a small beardless figure, wearing a short belted gown, who stands on a ladder on the right of the panel. He holds onto the arm of the cross with his left hand, and turns towards Christ, his feet curiously pointing in opposite directions. The body of Christ is lowered into the arms of the bearded Joseph of Arimathaea, who wraps him in a cloth. He stands on the left of the cross, wearing a hat with a turned-up, divided brim, and a long gown with a purse hanging from a rope round his waist. An unusually small bearded figure, wearing a hat with a turned-up brim and a long gown and a tippet, presumably representing Nicodemus, stands in the bottom right corner of the panel, removing the nail from Christ's feet with pincers held in his left hand and holding Christ's leg with his right hand. The veiled figure of the Virgin stands on the left of the panel, her hands clasped to her breast, looking towards the centre of the panel. Two wedges may been driven into the ground at the foot of the cross to hold it steady.

The top of the panel is missing. The ladder and Nicodemus' pincers are damaged. Slight traces of green paint, now darkened, and spots of red remain on the panel. There are three holes drilled into the back of the panel, filled with lead. The bottom has been chipped away. The back of the panel is marked VI, perhaps indicating the panel's position in the altarpiece.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

On the back of the panel.


Height: 43.2 cm, Width: 29.5 cm

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

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

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 261 (cat. 188), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Hildburgh, W.L. Notes on some English Alabaster Carvings. Antiquaries Journal. I, 1921, pp. 223-4, pl.VIII.
Victoria and Albert Museum. English Alabasters from the Hildburgh Collection (Small Picture Book no. 36), 1956. pl. 9, detail.


Alabaster; Paint


Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Cross; Tippet; Nail; Ladder; Hat; Pincers; Veil


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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