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The Crucifixion

  • 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

Angels hold chalices to collect Christ's blood and a sorrowful St John is seated on Christ's right. The wound on Christ's side symbolizes His role as the second Adam, with the churhc emerging from His right side as Eve did from Adam.

Physical description

This large, heavy panel has an embattled top with turrets in the corners. Christ, bearded and with long hair hanging in front of his shoulders, wearing the torse, and naked but for the loincloth, hangs on the cross in the centre of the panel. His head is inclined to his right; one nail pierces his feet, right foot crossed over left. The nails in his hands are represented vertically. A scroll is shown across the top of the cross, presumably originally inscribed with 'Ihs Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum' or INRI. Two flying angels hold chalices beneath his hands, a third holds one beneath the wound in his right side and a fourth kneels holding a chalice beneath his feet, to receive his blood. Behind the group of women on the left of the panel a bearded figure, wearing a rolled-brim hat, stands next to the angel, his hands raised, a lance resting against his arm. He represents the Roman soldier Longinus. The Virgin Mary, wearing a close-fitting gown and a cloak is represented on the left of the panel. She swoons to the left and is supported by one of two similar figures behind her representing Mary Magdalene and Mary Cleophas. The beardless St. John the Evangelist, wearing a gown and a cloak over his shoulders, is seated on a projection of ground on the lower right of the panel, looking downwards, his head resting on his right hand; he holds his emblem, the palm, between his knees. Standing behind him is the bearded figure of the centurion wearing a hat with a deep crown, a low-belted doublet with wide sleeves, and knee-guards. He holds the top of a battle-axe with his left hand, the shaft resting on the ground; his right hand is raised with a scroll rising from it which was presumably previously inscribed, 'Vere Filius Dei erat iste.' A bareheaded civilian figure, wearing a high-necked gown and a sheathed sword, stands next to him, facing the cross, his left hand resting on the centurion's shoulder.The chalice held under Christ's right hand is broken and the head of the angel holding a chalice by Christ's right side is missing. There is a hole in the bottom left corner of the panel, through the Virgin's gown. Her right hand is missing. The turrets are chipped. The lower part of the centurion's scroll is missing. Slight traces of paint remain on the panel. The background still bears much gilt. There are traces of gilt on the cross. Traces of gesso knobs remain on the background. There are four lead-filled holes in the back of the panel. An iron loop has been fitted into two grooves at the top of the panel and secured by lead.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster


Height: 57.7 cm, Width: 34.4 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in London. The panel was probably discovered at either Breamore Priory or Friern Court, Hampshire, and formerly belonged . On loan from Dr Hildburgh since before 1931.Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Panel, alabaster, The Crucifixion, England, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 252 (cat. 179), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Sword; Soldier; Cloak; Lance; Doublet; Angel; Sheath; Nail; Turret; Scroll; Battle-axe; Loincloth; Hat; Gown; Cross; Torse; Palm; Chalice


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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