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The Resurrection

  • Object:

    Fragment of a panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    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.138-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fragment is the upper part of a panel, it shows the haloed and bearded figure of Christ, his head inclined to his right and wearing the torse and the loin cloth with the shroud over his shoulder, is represented blessing with his right hand and holding the cross-staff and banner of the Resurrection in his left. He is shown steppeing from the tomb with his right leg surrounded by sleeping soldiers. A recumbent figure of a soldier in front of the tomb would normally be included in the representation.

There are two sorts of alabaster. Calcite alabaster is very hard and was used in ancient times. This object is made of gypsum alabaster which is a fine-grained, soft and smooth stone. Although at first glance it looks a little like marble, which it was intended to imitate, it was much easier to carve due to its softness, and alabaster objects were therefore significantly cheaper to produce. Marble does not originate in England, so it was imported if needed.
The carving of alabaster, mostly quarried in Tutbury and Chellaston near Nottingham, took on industrial proportions in England between the middle of the 14th and the early 16th centuries. The market for altarpieces and smaller devotional images was a large one. It included not only religious foundations but also the merchant classes. Many hundreds of English alabasters were exported, some as far afield as Iceland and Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Physical description

The haloed and bearded figure of Christ, his head inclined to his right, and wearing the torse and the loincloth and with the shroud over his shoulders, is represented blessing with his right hand and holding the cross-staff and banner of the Resurrection in his left. He steps from the tomb with his right leg. A soldier, wearing a basinet, tippet of mail, low-belted jupon, gauntlets and armour is represented sitting asleep on the tomb to the left of the figure of Christ, holding a lance in his left hand and supporting his head with his right. A similar figure is represented seated on the right of the tomb, with head and shoulders of a third soldier, holding a falchion, behind him. A half-length figure of an angel, hands raised, is represented in the top left corner.

The fragment is the upper part of a panel which would normally include a recumbent figure of a soldier in front of the tomb. Christ's right leg and the feet of the seated soldiers are missing. The top left corner of the panel is chipped and the top right corner is missing. There is a hole through Christ's halo.

Some green paint and the usual daisy flowers remain on the ground at the bottom right of the panel. Traces of paint remain on the figures. There are traces of brown and gilding on Christ's hair and beard. Green paint is on the torse.

The back of the panel is incised XXI. There are two lead-filled holes. The middle of the panel has been scooped out.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

'XXI'
On the back of the panel.; incising

Dimensions

Height: 28.6 cm, Width: 26.7 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him since 1926. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Panel (fragment), alabaster, depicting the Resurrection, English, 15th century

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 278 (cat. 205), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint; Gilt

Techniques

Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Gauntlets; Tomb; Soldier; Halo; Angel; Staff; Lance; Torse; Banner; Loincloth; Shroud; Armour; Falchion

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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