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Panel - St Catherine of Alexandria

St Catherine of Alexandria

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

St Catherine, crowned with her long hair falling to her shoulder is shown holding a spiked wheel, the emblem of her torture, and a sword symbolizing her martyrdom by beheading.

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 figure of the saint has long hair falling to her shoulders. In her left hand she holds a shaft to which is attached a spiked wheel, the emblem of her torture. In her right hand she holds a sword, symbolizing her martyrdom by beheading. She wears a gown, a cloak which is draped from her right shoulder, and pointed shoes. The eyes are lightly carved.

The panel has been cut away round the head and shoulders of the saint. The top of the spiked wheel is missing. There are only very light traces of colour on the panel. The surface of the carving is, however, rough, which seems to indicate a previous painted application. The back of the panel bears two lead-plugged holes. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster


Height: 42.4 cm, Width: 12 cm

Object history note

Originally in the Musée Van Stolk, Haarlem. Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Amsterdam. On loan to the Museum from Dr Hildburgh since 1928. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting St Catherine of Alexandria. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 84 (cat. 13), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint


Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Crown; Wheel; Gown; Sword; Cloak; Shoes


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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