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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 held at the head by Nicodemus and at the feet by Joseph of Arimathea. The grieving Virgin stands over Him while Mary Magdalene wipes oil from His hand with her hair.

Physical description

The dead Christ, bearded and wearing the torse, is represented naked but for the shroud which is wrapped round the lower part of his body. He is being lowered into the tomb, although the body is aparently not being properly supported. His right arm hangs down and he is held at the head by the bearded Nicodemus, who stands behind the tomb on the left of the panel, his left hand raised. Christ's legs are held by the bearded Joseph of Arimathaea, who stands in front of the tomb, leaning over the body; he wears a pointed hat with a turned-up brim and a belted gown with the characteristic tasselled purse hanging from it. The veiled figure of the Virgin Mary stands behind the tomb, her hands clasped in prayer. Next to her is a figure presumably representing one of the Marys, hands held together in prayer. On the right of the panel a figure, apparently seated, and holding a book in his left hand, presumably represents St. John the Evangelist. Mary Magdalene, wearing a fillet on her head, a gown and a cloak, is seated on the left of the panel, her left leg bent under her right, wiping ointment from Christ's right hand with her long hair which is shown in elaborate tresses. The ointment box stands on the ground to her right. The cross is shown behind the Virgin. The top of the panel is missing. The top corners, including half the head of Nicodemus and the heads of the figures on the right of the panel are missing. The tomb is cracked. Green paint and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground. Paint and gilding remain on the figures and the background at the top of the panel is gilt with traces of gesso knobs. Christ's torse is green. There are traces of red in the folds of the garments of the figures. There are eight holes drilled in the back of the panel, four of them filled with lead, including one with a latten wire attached. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster


Height: 43 cm, Width: 28.1 cm

Object history note

Formerly in the collection of Robert Hillingford. 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 Entombment. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 266 (cat. 193), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Gown; Box; Tomb; Hat; Torse; Cloak; Tassel; Book; Shroud; Cross; Purse


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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