By Francis Cheetham
From the past due 1300s to the Reformation, alabaster carving used to be an immense job within the English Midlands, in a space focused on Nottingham. Altarpieces and panels have been produced for the house marketplace, but in addition for export; the sculptures have a particular type, dictated by means of the spiritual matters and by way of the cloth, and have been frequently painted and gilded. on the Reformation, such goods have been hidden or destroyed, and it's the survival of various continental examples, relatively in France, including the rest examples from England, that permits the background of alabaster carving to be documented. This booklet catalogues a few 2,400 carvings, with their position and released references, coupled with a Geographical Index. it's the fullest catalogue but compiled on those beautiful small-scale sculptures, incorporating a lot new info, rather in terms of the iconography of the carvings. The overdue FRANCIS CHEETHAM used to be additionally the writer of English Medieval Alabasters, containing a listing of the gathering within the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
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Extra info for Alabaster Images of Medieval England (Museum of London Medieval Finds 1150 -- 1450)
Two examples may suffice. The grouping of Image not available Figure 8. Altarpiece of the Life of St Catherine. Ca d’Oro, Venice. Second half of fifteenth century. the figures in a typical fifteenth-century alabaster Betrayal panel from a Passion series, of St Peter, Christ and Judas, with the soldier grasping Christ’s cloak and the recumbent Malchus, now in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow (fig. 9), is similar to a French woodcut of c 1450 which is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (fig.
Evidently dying in bed, with an attendant male figure standing at the side, beneath a representation of the Trinity (fig. 16). What might be described as straightforward doctrinal teaching is represented by panels of the sacraments. Only three such panels are recorded (two of Holy Matrimony and one of Ordination), in spite of their relatively common appearance on church fonts. The panels are presumably survivors from altarpieces illustrating the Seven Sacraments. Among the most charming of all the alabaster images are those showing St Anne teaching the Virgin to read; nineteen examples are recorded (fig.
Examples are the blackening of the faces of villains in some of the Passion panels and the identification of exceptionally evil individuals by showing them wearing headgear from which a small dragon projects. In addition, ‘the star in the east’ (Matthew 2:2) fixed to the top of the bed in many of the Nativity/Adoration panels may well be a theatrical prop. Theatrical influences too may be seen in the feathered tights worn by St Michael as he fights the devil (Cheetham 1984, cat. 63, 134). The Designs The designs used by the alabastermen, which ultimately derived largely from the written word, were not of the craftsmen’s creation, for they can be closely paralleled in all media on the Continent and in England.
Alabaster Images of Medieval England (Museum of London Medieval Finds 1150 -- 1450) by Francis Cheetham