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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast latten (copper alloy)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 6

Object Type
The angel, dressed as a deacon, is an extremely rare survival of a Late Medieval French free-standing sculpture in metal. It was probably originally set on a column alongside another angel or angels near the altar, and would have held two of the so-called Instruments of the Passion, the objects used in the torture and Crucifixion of Christ. The shape of the hands suggests that the two Instruments were the nails used at the Crucifixion.

The angel was acquired before 1784 by Horace Walpole (1717-1797) for his neo-Gothic house near London, Strawberry Hill at Twickenham. Many sculptures of this date were soon to become available to British collectors - the result of the French Revolution in 1789 and the following wars that ended with Waterloo in 1815. But Walpole, together with a small circle of others, was a pioneer in re-awakening an interest in the art of the Middle Ages before then.

Antiquarians of the late 18th century and early 19th collected such objects in order to create atmospheric interiors and settings for their houses. This effect was certainly achieved by Walpole's angel in the garden Oratory at Strawberry Hill, where it remained until 1842.

Place of Origin

Paris (probably, made)


ca. 1520 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cast latten (copper alloy)


Height: 86.4 cm, Width: 32 cm, Depth: 32 cm

Object history note

Bought from Daniel Katz, London, for £84,000 with money from the Central Fund, in 1982. Previously in the colleciton of Horace Walpole (before 1784); Strawberry Hill sale (1842), Lot 28; Sotheby's, 14 July 1977, lot 188; Sotheby's New Yrok, Parke-Bernet sale, New York, 27 November 1981, lot 5.

Descriptive line

Statuette, latten (copper alloy), angel dressed as a deacon, France (Ile de France), after 1516

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

Pope-Hennessy, John and Radcliffe, A. F., The Frick Collection, an Illustrated Catalogue, IV, New York: The Frick Collection/Princeton University Press, 1970, pp. 49-61
Crook, J. M., "Strawberry Hill revisited", in: Country Life, CL III, p. 1598
Wainwright, Clive, The Romantic Interior: The British Collector at Home, 1750-1850, New Haven and London, 1989, p. 107, pls. 88-89
Radcliffe, A., forword to Laverack, Peter, (ed.), Daniel Katz Ltd. 1968 - 1993 : a catalogue celebrating twenty-five years of dealing in European sculpture and works of art, London, 1992, p. 5

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This is one of the few 15th-century objects in Walpole's collection. It stood in the Oratory at Strawberry Hill, greeting visitors on their way to the front door. It has slots in the back for wings, although they had been removed by Walpole's time. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Angel; Deacon


Sculpture; Christianity; Religion


Sculpture Collection

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