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The Annunciation

  • 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:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.54-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This alabaster panel shows the most common Annunciation iconography. The Virgin Mary is shown, surprised by the kneeling angel which she is reading, beneath a turreted canopy. A Dove, representing the Holy Spirit, flies from the mouth of God the Father, who is shown in the upper left hand corner of the panel.

There are traces of bright green paint which looks comparatively modern and a pattern of daisies on the ground.

Physical description

The crowned and haloed Virgin Mary, wearing a tight-fitting gown, an over-dress cut away at the waist and a cloak fastened by two cords, kneels at the bottom right of the panel, under a turreted canopy. In front of her an open book rests on a desk supported by a cranked column. She turns at the waist to look down at the archangel Gabriel, her hands raised apart. Gabriel, wearing girded alb and amice and a tiara bearing a cross, kneels on a projection on the left of the panel, pointing at the Virgin with his right hand, his left hand holding a scroll which twines round the stem of a lily standing in a ewer. God the Father, crowned, haloed and bearded and wearing a loose robe, is at the top left of the panel, looking down at the Virgin, his hands raised in blessing. From his mouth issues the Dove, representing the Holy Spirit, which descends to the Virgin. An angel stands in the top centre of the panel, looking down at the Virgin, hands raised in prayer.

The angel's wing-tips have been damaged. The figure of the Virgin has been scratched horizontally above the knees. A break across the top right-hand corner has been repaired. The Virgin's right hand is a plaster restoration.

Bright green paint, which looks comparatively modern, and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground. Green paint remains on the lily stem. There are traces of red on Gabriel's wings, on the desk and on the angel's wings. The halo is picked out in green with red dots. There are traces of gilding on the hair of the Virgin and God the Father and on their crowns. The panel has been backed with slate.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

second half 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Dimensions

Height: 40.3 cm, Width: 25.7 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him since 1924. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting the Annunciation. English, second half of 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 171 (cat. 98), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint; Gilt

Techniques

Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Ewer; Crown; Book; Cloak; Tiara; Amice; Column; Canopy; Cross; Robe; Scroll; Lily; Angel; Halo; Gown; Desk; Dove; Turret; Alb

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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