The Three Marys at the Sepulchre thumbnail 1
The Three Marys at the Sepulchre thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Three Marys at the Sepulchre

Relief
late 14th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The three Marys, wearing gowns and cloaks draped over their shoulders, are standing behind the empty tomb, holding ointment pots. Of the three, the haloed and bare-headed figure on the left is shown with her left hand raised while the figure on the right points with her right hand to the empty tomb into which a scroll curves. Originally this scroll would have been painted with an inscription. The figure on the right of the panel presumably represents St John the Evangelist. An angel is seated in front of the tomb, his bare feet resting on its lide which lies on the ground.

The carving of alabaster, mostly quarried in Tutbury and Chellaston near Nottingham, took on industrial proportions in England between the middle of the 14th and the early 16th centuries. The market for altarpieces and smaller devotional images was a large one. It included not only religious foundations but also the merchant classes. Many hundreds of English alabasters were exported, some as far afield as Iceland and Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
Alabaster - a form of gypsum - is a comparatively soft material and is therefore easy to carve. It can also be polished. Its natural colour was especially useful for the representation of faces and flesh, which would normally remain unpainted.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved alabaster
Brief Description
Relief, alabaster, the three Marys at the Sepulchre, England, late 14th century
Physical Description
Panel, alabaster, chamfered edges forming a frame. The three Maries adn St John (heads missing except one) stand behind the empty tomb. Each Mary carried a pot. St John carries a palm. An angel (right arm missing) is seated (left) in front of the tomb. No colour except traces of green and flowered ground. Top part of the panel is missing.
Dimensions
  • Height: 37.7cm
  • Width: 37.5cm
Credit line
Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA
Object history
Given by Dr W.L Hildburgh after having been on loan since 1925.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The three Marys, wearing gowns and cloaks draped over their shoulders, are standing behind the empty tomb, holding ointment pots. Of the three, the haloed and bare-headed figure on the left is shown with her left hand raised while the figure on the right points with her right hand to the empty tomb into which a scroll curves. Originally this scroll would have been painted with an inscription. The figure on the right of the panel presumably represents St John the Evangelist. An angel is seated in front of the tomb, his bare feet resting on its lide which lies on the ground.



The carving of alabaster, mostly quarried in Tutbury and Chellaston near Nottingham, took on industrial proportions in England between the middle of the 14th and the early 16th centuries. The market for altarpieces and smaller devotional images was a large one. It included not only religious foundations but also the merchant classes. Many hundreds of English alabasters were exported, some as far afield as Iceland and Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Alabaster - a form of gypsum - is a comparatively soft material and is therefore easy to carve. It can also be polished. Its natural colour was especially useful for the representation of faces and flesh, which would normally remain unpainted.

Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984.
  • Alexander, Jonathan, and Paul Binski (eds.), Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1987.
Collection
Accession Number
A.51-1946

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record createdMarch 5, 2004
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