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Prophets

  • Object:

    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.188-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Seven figures appear on this relief, four on the upper level and three on the lower, all looking to the right. The figure on the right of the first tier, holding a lmab is John the Baptist while the figure next to him with a sword appears to be Gideon.

Old Testament subjects are unusual for English alabasters. The panel probably formed part of a Te Deum altarpiece and the figures would probably have looked towards the central panel representing the Trinity or the Crucifixion.

Physical description

There are seven figures on the panel in two tiers, four on the upper level, three on the lower, all looking right. The bearded and barefoot figure on the lower right, wearing a camel-skin and holding a Lamb in his left hand, to which he points with his right, represents St. John the Baptist. A bearded figure, possibly Gideon, stands next to him, wearing a girded gown and a flat hat with a kind of fleur-de-lis decoration rising from it. His left hand is raised and he holds the handle of a falchion, hanging from the belt, in his right hand. The other figures, who all wear hats but carry no recognizable emblems, stand with their left hands raised. The exception is the figure at top right, who is probably Moses, who holds a staff in his right hand and appears to be bareheaded. The top of his head, which is damaged, probably originally bore two horns.

The top right-hand corner of the panel is slightly damaged. There are some traces of black on the hats of the prophets. There is gilding on the hair of Moses and St. John the Baptist and on the latter's camel-skin. Traces of gilt survive on the upper background. There is red on the Baptist's cloak. The background at the bottom of the panel is black, but there are also traces of the usual green ground with the daisy pattern.

The back of the panel has been scooped away in three places in the middle. There are four lead-plugged holes. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Dimensions

Height: 41.2 cm, Width: 27.5 cm

Object history note

The panel doubtless formed part of a Te Deum altarpiece, the figures looking towards a central panel of the Trinity or the Crucifixion. On loan from Dr W.L. Hildburgh since 1936. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting prophets. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 312 (cat. 238), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Hildburgh, Antiq. Journ XVII, 1937, p. 181, fig. LIII. 1

Materials

Alabaster; Paint; Gilt

Techniques

Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Hat; Staff; Fleurs-de-lis; Falchion; Belt; Lamb

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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