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The Deposition

  • 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:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10, case 1

Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy Jewish councillor and secret disciple of Christ, obtained permission from Pilate to remove Christ's body from the cross. He is helped by Nicodemus, probably the figure at Christ's feet. The head of the Virgin (on the top left corner) is missing.

Physical description

The dead body of Christ, bearded and wearing the torse on his head, which is inclined to his right, and naked but for the loincloth, is lowered from the cross by a bearded figure wearing a loose jacket, who stands on an upright ladder on the right of the panel. He holds Christ's left arm in both hands, turning towards the centre of the panel. Joseph of Arimathaea, bearded and wearing a long girded gown and a cloak, but not his traditional purse, receives the body of Christ, wrapping it in a cloth. A small bearded figure, presumably Nicodemus, wearing a tunic, kneels at the base of the cross holding Christ's feet with both hands. The lower part of a figure, doubtless of the Virgin Mary, remains on the left of the panel, holding Christ's right hand.

The top left corner of the panel is missing, including the head of the Virgin and possibly the head of St. John the Evangelist. The right-hand corners of the panel are missing. The carving is badly weathered. There are very slight traces of paint, in particular brown and gilt on Christ's hair. There are three lead-plugged holes in the back of the panel. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster


Height: 45.4 cm, Width: 26.5 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in London. On loan to the Museum from Dr Hildburgh since before 1931. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

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

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 262 (cat. 189), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Jumps (jackets); Cloak; Tunic; Cloth; Ladder; Cross; Torse; Loincloth


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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