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Panel - St Margaret

St Margaret

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.191-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

St Margaret carries a cross and is accompanied by a dragon. These emblems refer to the legend that she was swallowed by the Devil in the form of a dragon. When she made the sign of the cross the dragon's belly burst and she was able to escape unharmed.

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.

Physical description

The crowned saint, wearing a gown and cloak, looks down to her right at her emblem, the winged dragon lying across the width of the panel at her feet, into whose upturned mouth she thrusts a cross-staff. The dragon has a knotted tail. The eyes of the saint are unusually large. In her right hand she carries a closed book, carved with a clumsy attempt at perspective.

The dragon's tail is broken and the top corners of the panel are missing. There are traces of yellow on the crown and the cross, but this looks modern. There are slight traces of black and red on the dragon and green on the ground at the bottom of the panel. The back of the panel has three lead-plugged holes and one other hole. The bottom has been slightly chipped away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Dimensions

Height: 41.5 cm, Width: 12.9 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in America. On loan to the Museum by Dr Hildburgh since 1937. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting St Margaret. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 128 (cat. 57), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Staff (symbolic); Book; Gown; Crown; Dragon; Cloak

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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