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St Barbara

  • 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

St Barbara, her long hair falling over her shoulders and wearing a fillet, is shown holding a round crenellated tower, a reference to the fact that she was imprisoned in a tower by her father.

Physical description

The saint has long hair falling over her shoulders and wears a fillet. In her left hand she holds a round crenellated tower. The tower is ornamented with a sunken convex boss (which may represent a cannon-ball--one of the saint's attributes) and two cross-shaped incisions. The saint wears a tight-fitting robe, and a long cloak which is draped from the right shoulder. The eyelids are carved.

The saint's right hand and the top part of the tower are missing. The head has been broken off and repaired. There is blue paint on the saint's cloak and traces of red on her gown. There are traces of gilding on her hair. The back of the carving bears a V-shaped mark and three or four short, deep incisions. There are seven holes, six filled with lead.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

V-shaped mark.
On the back of the figure.

3 or 4 short, deep incisions.
On the back of the figure.


Height: 63.5 cm, Width: 21 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris, where the vendor said it had been obtained from a stone-cutter in Neufchâteau, Vosges. On loan to the Museum from Dr Hildburgh since 1920. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster statuette depicting St Barbara. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 76 (cat. 5), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Bosses; Cannonballs; Cloak; Crosses (motifs); Robe; Tower


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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