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Fragment of a panel - The Circumcision

The Circumcision

  • Object:

    Fragment of a panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fragment of an alabaster panel shows a High Priest standing in front of a pointed arch, surmounted by a battlemented roof. His hands are not covered by a cloth, which indicated that this is part of a panel depicting the Circumcision rather than the related subject of the Presentation in the Temple.

The Circumcision as explained in the fourteenth century work the Golden Legend was traditionally seen as the first time that the blood of Christ was shed and therefore the beginning of the process of the redemption of man. This event also served to emphaise Jesus' humanity and marked his official entry into the Jewish faith.

Physical description

The fragment is the right-hand side of a panel and shows a Jewish priest, wearing a distinctive headdress, alb and amice and a chasuble, standing in front of a pointed arch above which is a row of battlementing. His hands are raised towards the figure of the Christ Child (only the foot survives) standing on an altar covered with a cloth.

The left-hand side of the panel is completely missing and the top is chipped. The carving is weathered. No paint remains on the panel. The alabaster is iron-stained, particularly in the upper part. There is one lead-plugged hole with a latten wire in the back of the fragment. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved alabaster


Height: 36.2 cm, Width: 15.9 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 (fragment) depicting the Circumcision. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 190 (cat. 117), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0





Subjects depicted

Priest; Alb; Altar; Amice; Chasuble; Arch; Headdress


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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