Bonhams : A 15th century English Nottingham alabaster depicting the Resurrection of Christ
A 15th century English Nottingham alabaster relief depicting the Resurrection

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Lot 1
A 15th century English Nottingham alabaster depicting the Resurrection of Christ

Sold for £ 16,800 (US$ 21,626) inc. premium
The Howard Neville Collection of Early Works of Art and Textiles
A 15th century English Nottingham alabaster depicting the Resurrection of Christ
with Christ stepping out of the tomb onto the body of a sleeping soldier, with three other armed soldiers surrounding, the background painted with flowers and retaining much original polychrome decoration, later mounted on a carved wood stand, restorations, 42cm high x 26cm wide

Footnotes

  • Many 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.

    Resurrection panels were a popular theme, perhaps in part due to their link with the well known mystery plays that were performed to celebrate Easter. The unusual iconography featuring Christ stepping onto a soldier seen in the present panel and in numerous other examples may have been influenced by such a play. One of the scenes in a known mystery play includes the following stage direction 'Jesus rising, crushes the soldier with his foot'. There is a Nottingham alabaster of this same subject in the British Museum.

    Related literature:
    Musees royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Exposition de Sculptures anglaises et malinoises d'Albatre, Gh. Derveaux-Van Ussel, Bruxelles, 1967.
    English Medieval Alabasters, F. Cheetham, Oxford, 1984, no.174.
    Masterpieces of Medieval Art, James Robinson, The British Museum Press, 2008, page 154-155.
A 15th century English Nottingham alabaster relief depicting the Resurrection
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