A rare 15th century Nottingham alabaster relief of Saint Fiacre
Lot 277
A rare 15th century alabaster relief of Saint Fiacre, possibly Meaux
Sold for £25,000 (US$ 41,593) inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare 15th century alabaster relief of Saint Fiacre, possibly Meaux
Holding a book in his right hand and a shovel in his left, wearing a green and red striped habit, on a green naturalistic ground, with traces of original gilding to beard and book clasp, later mounted on a 19th century red velvet covered stand, the figure 42cm high, 51cm high including the stand.

Footnotes

  • In the 15th century most of the alabaster workshops were based in the Chellason Hill area of Derbyshire and the Tetbury area of Staffordshire, where alabaster was quarried from 1160 onwards. The alabaster excavated became famous for its characteristically creamy and milky texture, which made it easier to carve and to paint than other materials. It became popular in the use of tomb carving, although unsuitable for any outdoor works, and was transported by water and road across England to various sculpture centres and even internationally as far north as Iceland and as far south as Spain. It was particularly favoured in Nottingham, which became the major centre of alabaster production in Europe.

    However, this alabaster relief is particularly rare as it may have come from the French city of Meaux rather than Nottingham. Saint Fiacre was the patron saint of gardeners. He founded a monastry and hospice at Meaux, and the garden there became famous for growing herbal remedies credited with miraculous cures. Devotion to this saint was particularly strong in this area, and we know that alabaster was also quarried at this site. For example, the Bishop of Meaux commissioned a series of alabaster reliefs for the choir of the cathedral, in around 1500, and at the start of the 17th century records show that an Italian traveller commented that alabaster statues were being sold in the city.

    A similar relief depicting Saint Fiacre is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1925 (25.120.227).

    Related literature:
    Musees Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Exposition de Sculptures Anglaises et Malinoises d'Albatre, Gh. Derveaux-Van Ussel, Bruxelles, 1967.
    F. Cheetham, English Medieval Alabasters, Oxford 1984, no. 138. for a similar piece.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Bruce Addison
    Specialist - European Sculpture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    22 Queen St
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH2 1JX
    Work +44 131 240 0910
    FaxFax: +44 131 220 2547