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The Entombment

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Christ is lowered into the tomb by Nicodemus (left) and Joseph of Arimathaea, watched by the Virgin, St John the Evangelist and the three Marys (the Magdalene is seated in front of the tomb).

This panel formed part of the same altarpiece as numbers A.16-1946 and A.17.1946.

Physical description

The dead Christ, bearded and wearing the torse, is represented wrapped in a shroud, and being lowered into the tomb, which fills the width of the panel. He is held at the shoulders by the bearded Nicodemus, who wears a high-crowned hat and stands behind the tomb on the left of the panel. He is held by the legs by Joseph of Arimathaea, also bearded, who wears a mitre-shaped hat. The Virgin Mary, veiled and with hands held together in prayer, stands in the centre of the panel behind the tomb, between two bareheaded female figures representing Mary Cleophas and Mary Salome. The beardless St. John the Evangelist is standing in the top right corner of the panel. Mary Magdalene, represented with the usual long loose hair, is seated in the centre of the panel in front of the tomb; unusually, she faces left, her hands held together in prayer, the ointment box standing on the ground to her right. The cross is shown at the top of the panel. The top corners of the panel are missing. The details are worn. There are four holes right through the alabaster on the upper part of the panel. Green 'scrubbed'-looking paint and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground at the bottom of the panel. There are traces of red on the figures. Traces of gilding appear at the top of the panel. The back of the panel is scored with an X mark. There is a ridge down the middle of the panel from top to bottom which indicates the meeting of saw cuts from either side of the panel. There are four holes, three of which are lead-filled and hold latten wires. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

On the back of the panel.; scoring


Height: 39.5 cm, Width: 24.1 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him since 1920 and given by Dr Hildburgh 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. 265 (cat. 192), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Hildburgh, W.L. Notes on some English Alabaster Carvings. Antiquaries Journal. I, 1921, pp. 224-5, pl. VIII.


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Box; Veil; Tomb; Hat; Cross; Torse; Shroud; Mitre


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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