St James the Less

Statuette
15th century (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

St James, with a spade shaped beard is shown wearing a robe with a cloak draped from his shoulder. He holds a fuller's club the symbol of his martyrdom on his left side and a book on his right side.

Saints are the heroes and heroines of Christian faith. In the 14th and 15th centuries, they were a popular subject for alabaster carvings. Religious themes penetrated private life, so devotional images of saints were sculpted not only for church interiors, but also for individuals to contemplate within the privacy of their homes.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved and painted alabaster
Brief Description
Alabaster statuette depicting St James the Less. English, 15th century.
Physical Description
The saint has a spade-shaped beard. He wears a robe, and a cloak draped from his shoulders. He holds a fuller's club, his symbol, at his left side; in his right hand he holds a book. His eyes are carved. Part of the saint's right hand and most of the book are missing. The nose and beard are damaged. The head and shoulders have been broken off the figure, but carefully replaced and strengthened with plaster at the back of the neck. There is no colour except for slight traces of black in the saint's hair and beard. There are no holes, significant marks, or signs of cutting away at the back, which is unusual.
Dimensions
  • Height: 70.5cm
  • Width: 20.7cm
Style
Credit line
Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA
Object history
Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan since 1928. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.
Subjects depicted
Summary
St James, with a spade shaped beard is shown wearing a robe with a cloak draped from his shoulder. He holds a fuller's club the symbol of his martyrdom on his left side and a book on his right side.



Saints are the heroes and heroines of Christian faith. In the 14th and 15th centuries, they were a popular subject for alabaster carvings. Religious themes penetrated private life, so devotional images of saints were sculpted not only for church interiors, but also for individuals to contemplate within the privacy of their homes.
Bibliographic Reference
Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 111 (cat. 40), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Collection
Accession Number
A.155-1946

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record createdNovember 22, 2002
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