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St Catherine of Alexandria

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Limburg (Netherlands) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1510-1530 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Master of Elsloo (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved oak, with traces of paint and gesso

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50b, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case WS, shelf EXP

By the early 1500s figures of St Catherine were plentiful. Here she is standing on the prone figure of her tormentor, the Emperor Maxentius. Her left hand holds a book contained in a book bag. Her right hand, now missing, would originally have held a sword. Only the wood dowel used to fix the hand to the forearm now survives.

The style of the heads and the carving of the draperies suggest that this sculpture may be from the the workshop of the so-called Master of Elsloo. This Master is named after a multi-coloured group of St Anne with the Virgin and Child, now in the Augustinuskerk in Elsloo, in the Netherlands. The sculptor is probably Jan van Oel, who was working in and around Roermond in about 1500-1520.

This type of free-standing statue might well have stood on a bracket or against a pier in a chapel, church or convent. However, images of St Catherine were displayed in a variety of religious and non-religious settings.

Physical description

This figure in oak represents St Catherine of Alexandria trampling on the Emperor Maximin; in her left hand she holds a book enclosed in a bag. There are remains of colour.

Place of Origin

Limburg (Netherlands) (made)


ca. 1510-1530 (made)


Master of Elsloo (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved oak, with traces of paint and gesso


Height: 97 cm, Weight: 26.5 kg, Width: 34 cm, Depth: 28 cm

Object history note

Bought for £40 from the Emile Peyre Collection, Paris.

Descriptive line

Statue, St Catherine of Alexandria, carved oak, Limburg, ca. 1510-1530

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

Williamson, Paul, Netherlandish Sculpture 1450-1550, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002. 160p., ill. ISBN 1851773738.
List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1895. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Her Majesty's Sationary Office. Wyman and Sons. 1897. pp.75
Peters, Famke, ed. by, A Masterly Hand: Interdisciplinary Reserach on the Late-Medieval Sculptor(s) Master Elsloo in an International Perspective: Proceedings of the Conference Held at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels 20-21 October 2011, Brussels, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, 2013, Scientia Arts 9, p. 28, fig.1.18 (detail)
Laat-gotische beeldsnijkunst uit Limburg en grensland, Sint-Truiden Provincie Limburg Culturele Angelegenheden 1990

Production Note

Circle of the Master of Elsloo

Subjects depicted

Christianity; Book bag


Sculpture; Religion; Christianity


Sculpture Collection

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