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St Anne with the Virgin and Child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Limburg (Netherlands) (probably, made)
    Maastricht (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1520-1530 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved oak

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture 1300-1600, Room 26, case WN

The image of St Anne with the Virgin and Child was especially popular in the late Middle Ages. It was known as the' Anna Selbdritt' in Germany and' Anna-te-Drieën' in the Netherlands. St Anne holds the young Virgin on her lap with her right hand. The crowned Virgin in turn holds the Christ Child around the waist with her left hand. In her right hand she holds a bunch of grapes, which is a symbol of the blood of Christ.
This piece shows the small figures of the Virgin and Child perched on St Anne's lap. The earliest examples of this composition date from the late 1400s. Most of the surviving pieces were made in the 15th and 16th centuries. These three-figure groups were made as a single religious image. From the 1400s onwards the group was often part of a larger composition known as the Holy Kindred or 'Heilige Maagschap' .This showed St Anne as a young woman with the Virgin and Christ Child. It also included St Anne's three husbands, and her three daughters with their husbands and children.

Physical description

Wood carving. Group of St. Anne, holding on her lap the Virgin, who is nursing the infant Saviour; above is a crenellated canopy. Formerly in the Chapel of Bude Castle, Cornwall.

Place of Origin

Limburg (Netherlands) (probably, made)
Maastricht (possibly, made)


ca. 1520-1530 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved oak


Height: 128.5 cm, Width: 52.5 cm, Weight: 54 kg

Object history note

Formerly in the Chapel of Bude Castle, Cornwall, the residence of Mr William Maskell; bought from Mr Maskell, Penzance, in 1887 (£40)

Historical significance: Such representations of the Holy family were popular in the Netherlands and Germany in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Historical context note

The figure came originally from the chapel of Bude Castle, Cornwall

Descriptive line

Statue, St Anne with Virgin and Child, Limburg, 1520-30

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

Williamson, Paul, Netherlandish Sculpture 1450-1550, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002, cat. no. 7.
Maskell, A. Wood Sculpture London, 1911. pp.306-7, pl. xxxviii
Williamson, Paul. 'A figure of Saint John the Evangelist in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London' in Laat-gotische beeldsnigkunst uit Limburg en grensland, 2. Handelingeis van net synposium. Sint- Truiden, 1992. pp.71. n. 3.
Kunstschatten mit de St- Servaos Maastricht. 1976. fig 92
Heiyi Anna, Grote Moeder: De cultus van de Heilingen moeder Anna en haar familie in de Nedarlanden en aangrenzende streeken. Museum voor Religieuze Kunst, Uden 1992cat. no. 74, fig. 85
Laat-gotische beeldsnijkunst uit Limburg en grensland, Deel 2, Handelingen van het symposium. Sint- Truiden, 1992. pp.201
Prior, E.S and Gardner, A. An Account of Medieval Figure- Sculpture in England Cambridge, 1912. pp. 524. n. 1
Kunstschatten uit de St-Servaas Maastricht, 1976. fig. 92
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1887 London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1888. pp.7
Laat gotische beeldsnijkunst uit Limburg en grensland, Deel 2, Handelingen van het symposium Sint-Truiden, 1990. p. III 128, fig. 491.

Labels and date

St Anne with the Virgin and Child
About 1520–30

St Anne supports her daughter the Virgin Mary on her
lap, while Mary herself cradles the Christ Child. In her
right hand, the Virgin holds a bunch of grapes. These
are a reference to the shedding of Christ’s blood at his
future crucifixion.
Netherlands, probably Maastricht
Museum no. 37-1887 [26/11/2010]





Subjects depicted

Christianity; Medallions (medals); Grapes; Book; Throne; Crown; Throne canopy; Lion


Sculpture; Religion; Christianity; Children & Childhood


Sculpture Collection

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