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Currently shown

Throne of Grace

Location

ENGLAND, MIDLANDS

Title

Throne of Grace

Date

Mid-15th c.

Materials

Alabaster

Dimensions

49.5 x 28 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1955.Dv.1

Collection

Western Art

Although alabaster’s appearance resembles marble, it is much more fragile. It is soft enough that it can be shaped with finesse and extreme precision, and it is found in abundance in the quarries of Western Europe. When a taste for white materials, particularly marble and ivory, developed in the fourteenth century, alabaster experienced a revival of interest on the part of sculptors. In fifteenth century Nottingham, the town especially associated with alabaster, but also throughout the Midlands, this craze resulted from workshops that mass-produced altarpieces composed of standardized, rectangular panels measuring approximately 50 cm x 30 cm for local use or for export. This panel is the product of that craze. From a stylistic point of view, this piece clearly reflects the context of their quick production, as they were intended to provide less costly versions of large stone altarpieces: their figures are nicely delineated but summarily executed.

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