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The Betrayal

  • 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:

    A.100:1, 2-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Christ's right hand is raised in blessing as He is seized following his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. The faces of all the figures except Christ and St Peter are coloured dark brown. This probably reflects the practice of painting the faces of evil characters in contemporary drama.

Physical description

Christ, with a forked beard, stands in the centre of the panel, wearing a cloak draped over his right shoulder, his right hand raised in blessing. He looks to the right at the bearded Judas, who embraces him, his left hand on Christ's shoulder. A soldier wearing armour, grasps Christ's cloak with this left hand and with his right he holds the hilt of his curved sword, which is in the scabbard hanging from his belt. Behind him is a civilian, wearing a rolled-brim hat and holding a torch. A soldier on the right of the panel, holds a battle-axe. Two other soldiers, holding bills, stand at the top left of the panel. St. Peter, bearded and wearing a gown and cloak, stands on Christ's right, looking up at him and holding a sword in the scabbard. At his feet, lying across the width of the panel, is Malchus wearing a low-belted doublet and holding a staff in his right hand, his left hand raised as if to ward off a blow. Malchus is here shown bearded.

The top corners and the bottom right corner of the panel, including Malchus' right foot, are missing. There are two holes in the top of the panel and another by Christ's feet. Only the faces of Christ and St. Peter are not coloured dark brown. The green ground at the bottom of the panel appears to have been painted over. There are traces of gilding on the hair and beards of Christ and St. Peter and on the background at the top of the panel. Red is on the folds of some of the garments. The scabbards are painted a reddish brown. There are six holes in the back of the panel, three of which are plugged with lead. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster


Height: 45 cm, Width: 27.7 cm

Object history note

In the possession of P. Nelson from whom it was acquired by Dr W.L. Hildburgh. On loan from him since 1926. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

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

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 229 (cat. 156), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
pp.165, 166
Stollberg-Rilinger, B., Puhle M., Götzmann, J., Althoff. G. (eds.), Spektakel der Macht. Rituale im Alten Europa 800-1800 , Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2008


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Doublet; Hat; Soldier; Torches (lighting devices); Bill; Battle-axe; Armour; Cloak; Sword; Staff; Scabbard


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture; Reliefs


Sculpture Collection

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