British Museum acquires rare alabaster of the Virgin and Child
One of the few examples of religious imagery to survive the English Reformation, this remarkably-preserved 14th-century sculpture joins the museum's collection thanks to support from the Art Fund.
|Unknown artist, Alabaster figure of the Virgin and Child, 14th century |
[Credit: © Trustees of the British Museum]
The statue is in extraordinary condition and retains much of its original decoration, making it one the best-preserved of its kind in a UK national collection. Almost all comparable items were destroyed or buried during the conversion to Protestantism in the 1500s. It is thought it may have been exported to the continent at the time of its manufacture, or sold off when imagery of this sort was no longer allowed.
|Polychrome paint and gilding detail [Credit: © Trustees of the British Museum]|
Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: 'We are pleased to support this early Christmas present for the British Museum's visitors – an alabaster of great rarity and quality. Its survival from the widespread destructions of the English Reformation, and recent rediscovery offers great possibilities for further research and interpretation.'
The sculpture is on display at the museum alongside other iconic objects from the medieval age, such as the Lewis Chessmen, the Royal Gold Cup and the Holy Thorn Reliquary of Jean, duc du Berry.
Source: Art Fund [January 09, 2017]