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The Ascension

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    second half 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, painted and gilt alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Rev. Prebendary W. G. Clarke-Maxwell

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Christ is represented as a small figure standing within a rayed mandorla, at the top centre of the panel. He wears a loincloth and the shroud over his shoulders and stands on a small ledge, which possibly suggests a cloud. He holds the cross-staff and banner of the Resurrection in his left hand, his right probably raised in blessing. The Virgin Mary, crowned and wearing a gown and a cloak, looks up at Christ as she kneels in prayer on the left of the mandorla on the slope of a mound. Behind her kneels the bearded St. James the Great, dressed as a pilgrim, wearing a short gown. A hat adorned with a scallop shell hangs from a strap across his shoulders and a satchel, similarly adorned with a scallop shell, hangs on his right side. He holds a staff in his right hand. Three bearded figures of apostles, two with their right hands raised, kneel behind them on the left of the panel, looking towards Christ. The beardless figure of St. John the Evangelist, wearing a belted gown and a cloak, kneels opposite the Virgin on the right of the mandorla looking up at Christ, holding the palm in his left hand, his right hand raised. Behind him on the right of the panel kneels the bearded St. Andrew, wearing a long gown and a cloak and holding his emblem, the saltire cross, in his left hand. Four other figures of apostles, including one beardless (St. Philip?) at the top right of the panel, kneel behind him.

The top of the panel is missing. The head of an apostle behind St. Andrew is damaged, as well as the right hand of Christ. Very slight traces of green and red paint remain. There are slight traces of gilding and paint on the mandorla. There are two lead-plugged holes in the back of the panel.

Place of Origin

England (made)


second half 15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilt alabaster


Height: 42.5 cm, Width: 31.5 cm

Object history note

Found by the Rev. Prebendary W.G. Clarke-Maxwell in 1921 in a lumber room in his house at Corrughan, Dumfries. Given to the Museum by the Rev. Prebendary W.G. Clarke-Maxwell in 1935.

Historical significance: The design of the panel is unusual in English alabaster work in representing the ascending Christ as a complete figure in a mandorla.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting the Ascension. English, second half of 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 294 (cat. 221), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0


Alabaster; Paint; Gilt


Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Scallop shell; Saint Andrew's crosses; Apostle; Banner; Loincloth; Staff; Hat; Palm; Crown; Staff; Shroud; Gown; Cloak


Christianity; Religion; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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