fig. 1 
Chelsea Porcelain Factory, London (manufacturer)

The question of the extent to which porcelain figures were considered sculpture  – that is, figural works bearing an independent meaning, viewed and engaged with as such, rather than objects which were seen as components subsumed into a larger decorative scheme – in mid eighteenth-century England is one of interest. In general, porcelain has acquired overwhelmingly decorative connotations in art historical discourse and this has overshadowed its place in sculptural aesthetics. The medium falls foul of the aesthetic critiques of neoclassical theorists such as Winckelmann and Goethe, as it is seen to embody the phenomena of material illusionism (one material being employed to imitate another) and miniaturisation, both identified by Ludwig Giesz in his influential study Phänomenologie des Kitsches as art historical criteria for kitsch.1See Catriona MacLeod, ‘Sweetmeats for the eye: porcelain miniatures in classical Weimar’, in Evelyn Moore & Patricia Simpson (eds), The Enlightened Eye: Goethe and Visual Culture, Rodopi, Amsterdam & New York, 2007, pp. 43–8; Johann Joachim Winckelmann, ‘Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums’, in Joseph Eiselein (ed.), Sämtliche Werke, vol. 3, Verlage deutscher Klassiker Donauöschingen, 1825–29, p. 121; Ludwig Giesz, Phänomenologie des Kitsches, Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt Am Main, 1994, p. 22. The failure to consider the work of the modeller of porcelain figures as an exercise in compositional creativity is symptomatic of the more general failure to consider porcelain figures as art and their creators as artists.

Being manufactured from moulds, porcelain figures have been placed in the category of reproductive, serially produced objects, and as such are assumed to provide only the most tenuous access to the independent creative processes of the artists responsible for these works. The process of a porcelain figure’s creation, especially when the figure is based upon a pre-existing design, be it a painting or a sculpture, has seen the modeller’s role caricatured as a mechanical exercise in reproduction.

For much of the eighteenth century, however, porcelain did enjoy a fragile association with sculpture. From the earliest period of European porcelain production, and on through the eighteenth century, academically trained sculptors like Balthasar Permoser, Benjamin Thomae, Johann Joachim Kändler, Franz Anton Bustelli, Friedrich Wilhelm Doell, Jean Jacques Desoches, Etienne Maurice Falconet and John Flaxman were involved in the creation of sculpture in porcelain.2Angela Gräffin von Wallwitz, Celebrating Kaendler 1706–1775, Angela Gräffin von Wallwitz Kunsthandel, Munich, 2006, pp.  13–25; Gordon Campbell, ‘Bustelli, Franz-Anton’, in The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006, p. 163; Marie-Noëlle Pinot Villechenon, Falconet à Sèvres, 1754–1766, ou, L’art de plaire, Reunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 2001; Adrian Forty, Objects of Desire: Design and Society, 1750–1980, Thames & Hudson, London, 1986, pp. 13–28; MacLeod, p. 45. From the very outset, Kändler’s work at the Meissen factory had seen the porcelain medium turned to the production of original large-scale sculptural works – including the famed menagerie of near-life-size animal sculptures for Augustus the Strong (fig. 2), many of which are still preserved in the Saxon state collections – and Kändler’s projected, although never completed, monumental larger than life-size equestrian statue of Augustus III, which in its final form the monument would have stood eight metres tall.3See Samuel Wittwer, The Gallery of Meissen Animals: Augustus the Strong’s Menagerie for the Japanese Palace in Dresden, Hirmer Verlag, Munich, 2006; Ingelore Menzhausen, Early Meissen Porcelain in Dresden, Thames & Hudson, London, 1990, pp. 21–2. It is also of note that Permoser, Thomae, Kändler and Bustelli all produced original devotional sculptures in porcelain, a genre which can hardly be dismissed as merely decorative and one which had occupied some of the greatest European sculptors since the Renaissance.4See Menzhausen, p. 197, no. 33; Ulrich Pietsch (ed.), Die Arbeitsberichte des Meissener Porzellanmodelleurs Johann Joachim Kaendler, 1706–1775, vol. 15, Edition Leipzig, Leipzig, 2002; Renate Eikelmann, Franz Anton Bustelli: Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko: Das Gesamtwerk, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 2004, pp. 184–6. Indeed, the very earliest productions of sculpture at Meissen include religious subjects intended to function as devotional images.5See Daniela Antonin, ‘In Roman style: Meissen’s religious sculptures’, in Ulrich Pietsch & Claudia Banz (eds), Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie, 1710–1815, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, 2010, pp. 77–83.

Among the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria is one of the greatest essays in porcelain sculpture produced in England during the eighteenth century: a Pietà group made at the Chelsea Factory, London, and modelled by Joseph Willems, the leading figure modeller at what was at this time the pre-eminent English luxury porcelain manufactory, and the only modeller active in the English porcelain industry prior to 1770 about whom much is known (figs. 1 & 3). Willems’s masterpiece provides us with important insights into the issues surrounding the ambiguous position occupied by porcelain figures in the eighteenth century and the creative role of the figure modeller. Willems conceived of himself as a sculptor. His Pietà, executed for a Catholic patron, was almost certainly not intended as a decorative object, but as a devotional image. Based upon a monumental French liturgical sculpture, Nicholas Coustou’s 1712–28 Pietà above the high altar of Notre Dame de Paris, Willems does not simply reproduce his Parisian model in reduced scale; his figure group can be shown to be a carefully considered recomposition of the original, transforming a liturgical work into a private devotional image.

Joseph Willems was born in Brussels in the Catholic Netherlands in 1715. By the age of twenty-four he had moved to Tournai where he married Marie-Josephe Lahaize on 16 November 1739. He may have continued to work at Tournai in the faience factory of François Joseph Carpentier for the next few years, before leaving to go to England where he is recorded in the rate books for Chelsea from 1748. It is likely that his first wife, Marie-Josephe, was dead before he had moved to England.6John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems: Mary Ann Nollekens (née Lesac)’, TECC, vol. 19, no. 2, 2006, p. 249; Elizabeth Adams, Chelsea Porcelain, British Museum Press, 2001, p. 88. Willems appears to have remarried Mary Ann Nollekens, the widow of Joseph Francis Nollekens, or ‘Old Nollekens’, the Antwerp-born painter, on or before 1758. Mary Ann’s children from her first marriage included Joseph Nollekens, the famed sculptor. Old Nollekens had been a Catholic, and he and Mary were married in the Sardinian Chapel off Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1733, the same place where their son Joseph was baptised.7Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems’, p. 246; John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Nollekens , Joseph Francis (1702–1748)’, Jan. 2008, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/20243>, accessed 27 Nov. 2010. Mary apprenticed her son to the sculptor Peter Scheemakers, another Catholic from Antwerp working in London.8Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems’, p. 249.

Willems’s immediate English family context was thus one in which he had regular contact with established artists, a number of them sculptors. In Mortimer’s Dictionary for 1763 there is this entry: ‘Willems, Joseph. Modeller, At the Brussels Coffee House, Chelsea; This Artist teaches Drawing, Modelling, & has modelled for the Chelsea China Manufactory for many years’.9Cited in Arthur Lane, English Porcelain Figures of the Eighteenth Century, Faber and Faber, London, 1961, p. 134. Although identified here as a ‘modeller’, Willems appears to have thought of himself as a sculptor. The exhibition catalogues of the Society of Artists of Great Britain for the years 1760–66 contain annual entries for sculptural models exhibited by Willems.10ibid. pp. 133–4. In a letter of February 1766 from François-Joseph Peterinck, director of the Tournai porcelain factory, to the city fathers of Tournai, seeking support for the employment of Willems as a professor at the art academy associated with the factory, Peterinck speaks of Willems as one ‘très entendu dans la partie de la sculpture et du modelage’.11ibid., p. 134. A handful of terracotta figures bearing Willems’s signature are known, including a figure of a Savoyard and a pair of dancing peasants, signed and dated 1742 and 1749 respectively, and a recently discovered figure of an African man dated 1736, from the period before Willems had moved to England (fig. 4).12See Bernard Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types in ceramics’, TECC, 1980; Adams, p. 88; Sculptura III, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art/Paul Holberton, London, 2010. During the years that he exhibited terracottas with the Society of Artists, Willems also seems to have been manufacturing terracotta garden sculptures, a number of which were advertised for sale in Chelsea after his departure for Tournai in early 1766.13Nancy Valpy, ‘Extracts from 18th century London newspapers and additional manuscripts, British Library’, TECC, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, p. 80. When Willems died at Tournai in November 1766, an inventory of his effects included a number of white-painted terracotta models, some of the subjects of which were also produced as porcelain figures at Chelsea.14From the 5 March 1767 inventory of the effects of Joseph Willems, quoted in Lane, pp. 135–6. That Willems produced porcelain sculptures after terracotta models of his own making is clearly demonstrated by the presence in the collections of the Cecil Higgins Museum of a signed terracotta by Willems of a girl with flowers (the so-called Gardener’s companion) (S.12), the Chelsea porcelain example of which is held in the same collection. The inventory suggests that these models were of Willems’s own creation: ‘plusieurs grouppes de ronde bosse de terre cuite et colorées en blanc de sa composition, et par lui modelés’.15Lane, p. 135.

Willems’s self-conception as a sculptor, apparently shared at least by Peterinck and fellow members of the Society of Artists, suggests that porcelain represented simply another medium for the creation of sculpture, a notion clearly shared at other times and in other places throughout the eighteenth century by artists such as Permoser, Thomae and Falconet, as we have observed. A number of artists, such as the Englishman John Bacon and the German Friedrich Wilhelm Doell, began their careers working in porcelain factories before establishing themselves as monumental sculptors.16On Bacon who worked at Derby, see Peter Bradshaw, 18th Century English Porcelain Figures 1745–1795, Antique Collectors Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1981, p. 54. On Doell who worked at Kloster Veilsdorf, see Gerhard Schuster & Caroline Gille (eds), Wiederholte Spiegelungen: Weimarer Klassik 1759–1832, vol. 1, Stiftung Weimarer Klassik bei Hanser, Munich, 1999, p. 59. But art historical discourse has problematised the place of porcelain in sculptural aesthetics because of the perceived serial, reproductive character of the porcelain model. The use of moulds to form the sculptures implies the individual mark of the artist is effaced. In this way, porcelain is often associated with plaster as a secondary medium, dependent upon and imitative of a material such as marble. But in recent decades the historically contingent nature of definitions of such concepts as authorship, originality and reproduction has been increasingly recognised.17For an overview of these issues, see Rosalind Krauss, ‘Retaining the original? The state of the question’, in Retaining the Original: Multiple Originals, Copies and Reproductions, Studies in the History of Art, vol. 20, National Gallery of Art Washington, University Press of New England, Hanover & London, 1989, pp. 7–11. Eighteenth-century English connoisseurship certainly valued ideas like authorship and technique, but the copy was also valued. The English painter and printmaker Jonathan Richardson the Younger (1694–1771) stated:

A copy of a very good picture is preferable to an indifferent original; for there the invention is seen almost entire, and a great deal of the expression and disposition and many times good hints of the colouring, drawing, and other qualities. An indifferent original hath nothing that is excellent, nothing that touches which such a copy I am speaking hath.18Quoted in Richard Spear, ‘Notes on Renaissance and Baroque originals and originality’, in Retaining the Original, p. 97.

In this regard it is worth noting that figural objects in a reproductive medium such as plaster were not necessarily excluded from being treated as sculpture either. From the 1720s on in England, as Baker has argued, there is a shift in both the use of sculpture in the domestic interior and in the way sculpture is viewed.19See Malcolm Baker, ‘Public images for private spaces? The place of sculpture in the Georgian interior’, Journal of Design History, vol. 20, no. 4, 2007, p. 315. In the London Tradesman of 1747, Robert Campbell states:

The Taste of Busts and Figures in these Materials [clay, wax and plaster of paris] prevails much of late Years, and in some measure interferes with Portrait Painting: The Nobility now affect to have their Busts done that Way rather than sit for their Pictures, and the Fashion is to have their Apartments adorned with Bronzes and Figures in Plaister and Wax.20Robert Campbell, The London Tradesman, T. Gardener, London, 1747, p. 139.

If the porcelain medium itself did not necessarily disqualify a figure from being deemed sculpture, what of the tendency to miniaturisation that characterised much porcelain figure work? Baker has traced the increasing marginalisation of small-scale sculpture in Northern Europe through the course of the eighteenth century as the canons of art were being formulated in accord with academic norms. In the early eighteenth century porcelain still bore the inherited prestige of its status as a Wunderkammer treasure.21From the outset, Böttger’s ambition was for his porcelain and stoneware bodies to be substitutes for silver, capable of being transformed into anything that silver was employed for, including furniture and sculpture. See Menzhausen, pp. 11–12. Small-scale sculptures in ivory and boxwood had also enjoyed similar prestige in Wunderkammer collections, and it seems clear that in the first decades of the Meissen factory’s output porcelain figures were highly regarded in aristocratic circles where they were valued as luxury works of art.22Malcolm Baker, ‘The ivory multiplied: small-scale sculpture and its reproductions in the eighteenth century’, in Anthony Hughes & Erich Ranfft (eds), Sculpture and its Reproductions, Reaktion, London, 1997, pp. 64–7. But the latter half of the eighteenth century saw such Kleinplastik increasingly marginalised. An absence of monumentality – a characteristic attributed to and revered in classical sculpture as an expression of historical forces and sublime genius – saw small-scale sculpture gradually relegated to the realm of the decorative.23See Baker, ‘The ivory multiplied’, pp. 61–78; MacLeod, p. 50. Catriona MacLeod has suggested that Griesz’s analysis of kitsch might also have mentioned proximity to the body as an indicator of the kitsch object.24See MacLeod, p. 49. Kleinplastik, including the porcelain figure, certainly meets this criterion, the physical handling and close scrutiny of the object being an important aspect of the appreciation of cabinet sculpture. Such objects are thus condemned by the neoclassical theorists as domestic, sensual and unworthy of critical scrutiny; in the Italiensiche Reise Goethe writes: ‘The art which formed the ground for the ancient world, and the church dome for Christians, has now been reduced to decorating jars and bracelets’.25Die Kunst, welche dem Alten seine Fußboden bereitete, dem Christen seine Kirchenhimmel wölbte, hat sich jetzt auf Dosen und Armbänder verkrümelt’, FA 1/15: pp. 93–4. Goethe’s Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 3, Tétot Fréres, Paris, 1836, p. 571.

An adjunct of the issue of miniaturisation is the idea that a porcelain model based upon an existing work of art is the product of a simple, mechanical process of reduction and reproduction, and thereby forfeits any real claim to artistic originality. Such a characterisation of the modeller’s role is caricature; modelling is necessarily a creative activity and the ability of porcelain artists consciously to imbue a model with particular aesthetic and symbolic qualities, even when adapting a pre-existing prototype, must be given due attention. After all, the history of European art may be framed in terms of the use and re-use by artists of famed models by masters of the past, with both the apprehension of references to these past models and the artist’s introduction of innovations forming part of the criteria by which an artist’s compositional skills are assessed.

Although work has been carried out in the past on the identification of sources – printed, painted and three-dimensional – informing the creation of eighteenth-century porcelain figures, in general these enquiries have rarely been developed beyond the simple identification of an individual image or work of art as the initial inspiration for the modeller.26See Bernard Watney, ‘Origins of designs for English ceramics of the eighteenth century’, Burlington Magazine, issue 114, Dec. 1972, pp. 818–31; Siegfried Ducret, Keramik und Graphik des 18. Jahrhunderts: Vorlagen für Maler und Modelleurs, Klinkhardt and Biermann, Braunschweig, 1973; Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, ‘Graphic sources for Meissen porcelain: origins of the print collection in the Meissen archives’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, no. 31, 1996, pp. 99–126. There has been little attempt to interrogate the role of the modeller in interpreting the sources they may have drawn upon in creating a sculptural work. Bernard Watney observes that porcelain figures from the Chelsea factory appear to have been copied from a range of sources including engravings, small bronzes, artists’ sculptural sketches and porcelain figures by the earlier Meissen factory.27See Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, pp. 818–22. He identifies unusual correspondences between original sources and their adaptation into porcelain, such as those between the Borghese gladiator, a favourite academy model of the period, and the Chelsea porcelain figure A fisherman.28See Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types’, p. 350; Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, p. 818; William King, English Porcelain Figures of the XVIII Century, The Medici Society, London, 1925, fig. 28. The Louvre holds a terracotta of the Borghese gladiator by Nicholas Coustou, made when he was in Rome in 1683 (R. F. 198). But he does not consider in any detail the actual work of adaptation that has gone on in the creation of a model in a new medium from a source image, be it of two or three dimensions. There is a creative process at work in such adaptation, and the modeller clearly has direct imaginative input into the form and aesthetic effect of the final figure: the radical re-imagination which Watney identifies in the recasting of a bellicose classical sculpture subject as a porcelain figure of a fisherman clearly attests to this.

When we turn to consider the Chelsea Pietà group, we may observe a similar such creative adaptation of a source image on Willems’s part. The small group of Chelsea porcelain models which employ explicitly Counter-Reformation imagery and of which the Willems Pietà forms a part have long presented commentators on eighteenth-century English porcelain with difficulties. What was a porcelain factory in Protestant England doing producing figures so redolent of Roman Catholic piety?29See, for example, Adams, p. 133; Lane, p. 69; Hilary Young, English Porcelain 1745–95: Its Makers, Design, Marketing and Consumption, V&A Publications, London, 1999, p. 37. I have argued elsewhere that the answer to this question is to be sought among members of the English Catholic elite.30See Matthew Martin, ‘The Chelsea Pietà’, in Fire and Form: The Influence of the Baroque on English Ceramics, The English Ceramic Circle, London, 2013. The Chelsea Pietà in the collection of the NGV can, in the eighteenth century, be associated with one of the leading Recusant families in England, the Barons Clifford of Chudleigh. The very small number of examples of the Chelsea Pietà extant – only three are known – and the fact that all three examples differ from one another in details of decoration suggest that these works were the result of individual commissions by private patrons.

Two versions of  Willems’s Pietà were produced at Chelsea.31A third version was produced at the Tournai factory in Flanders around the time of Willems’s death. While differences exist between the Chelsea and Tournai versions, Willems appears to have been involved in some capacity in the creation of both (see Martin). The earliest version dates to around 1756–58 and is from the Red Anchor period of the factory’s production. The single known example of this version, held in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, is embellished with polychrome enamel decoration (fig. 5).32Acquired by the V&A in 1985, formerly in the collection of Capt. J. J. Tufnell. A second version, produced during the factory’s Gold Anchor period (1759–65), is known from two examples. The first of these, in the collection of the NGV, lacks polychrome decoration and is instead in the unadorned white-glazed porcelain.33Acquired by the NGV in 1989; Stevens Collection, Melbourne, acquired Christie’s, London, 5 June 1978, lot 137; formerly in the collection of Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, sold Sotheby’s, London, October 27 1953, lot 140; Hugh 4th Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, c.1761. Unlike the Red Anchor example, the NGV Pietà is set upon an integral porcelain pedestal base decorated in a mazarine blue ground with gilded decoration that includes a depiction of the Agnus Dei and a quotation from the Revelation of Saint John: ‘The Lamb slain from the beginning of the world’.34Agnus occisus a [sic] origine mundi.’ Revelation 13:8.

A second example of the Gold Anchor version was sold on the London market in 1991 and is now in a private collection.35Christie’s, London, 11 February 1991, lot 90. This example is finished with polychrome enamels, but includes a porcelain plinth decorated in a mazarine blue ground upon which the figure group sits. This plinth is decorated with tooled gilt ornament depicting the Arma Christi and a central polychrome vignette of the deposition (fig. 6).

The subject matter of these Willems models – the Pietà, a non-biblical subject explicitly rejected by the Reformation – and the nature of the additional decoration found on the Gold Anchor examples (the Agnus Dei, the deposition and the Arma Christi) serve to amplify the Eucharistic and devotional associations of the models’ imagery, and suggests that these figures were not intended as decorative objects but rather served as devotional images. Traces of such ritual function can be found on the NGV Pietà, where the tooled gold depiction of the Agnus Dei is now barely readable to the naked eye, apparently the result of localised wear to the gilded surface consistent with the type of repeated touching or kissing associated with Catholic devotional image use.36See Soren Kaspersen (ed.), Images of Cult and Devotion: Function and Reception of Christian Images in Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe, Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen, 2004. We are reminded here of the production of devotional images in porcelain at the leading Continental factories from the earliest days of the material’s production in Europe.

As a model for his devotional image, Willems chose a famed work of modern religious sculpture – the Pietà of Nicholas Cousou in Notre Dame de Paris. However, a close formal analysis of the porcelain group indicates that, far from being a mechanical reduction of its marble prototype, Willems’s Pietà is a carefully nuanced composition demonstrating a keen awareness of the requirements for successfully transforming a monumental ecclesiastical sculpture into a domestic-scaled figure group. Willems’s adaptation of his French model involves a sophisticated recomposition of the original work resulting in a sculpture that differs from its model in ways which serve to emphasise and enhance the subject’s potential devotional function.

Earlier commentators sought the model for Willems’s Pietà in an engraving after Van Dyck or Rubens.37For example, Lane, p. 73; Patrick Synge-Hutchinson, ‘A unique essay in English ceramic art’, The Connoisseur, vol. 156, June 1964, pp. 86–7. It certainly appears to be the case that Willems drew upon engravings after seventeenth-century Flemish artists for inspiration for some of his models, an unsurprising set of circumstances for a Flemish modeller.38See Arthur Lane, ‘Chelsea porcelain figures and the modeller Joseph Willems’, The Connoisseur, vol. 145, May 1960, pp. 245–51. Willems’s immediate model for his Pietà group, however, would appear to lie not in a painting but in the marble sculpture of the Pietà by Coustou in the choir of Notre Dame de Paris (fig. 7).39François Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV: Illustrated Catalogue, vol. 1 A–F, Cassirer, Oxford, 1977, pp. 170–1. This sculpture, part of a larger installation memorialising Louis XIII and Louis XIV, was begun in 1699 to designs by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and was completed nearly fifteen years later under the direction of Robert de Cotte. The elaborate ensemble consisted of many statues, reliefs and decorative elements. Only parts of the monument remain in Notre Dame today, much of the material being removed during the French Revolution and partially restored in the nineteenth century. Coustou’s Pietà was set in a niche behind the high altar, flanked on either side by the kneeling figure of Louis XIII offering up his crown to the Virgin, and Louis XIV kneeling before her, giving thanks for his life.

Among the terracotta models recorded in the inventory of Willems’s effects upon his death in 1766 is ‘un grouppe [sic] représentant la Vierge et le Sauveur descendu de la croix, avec un adorateur’, and this may reflect the work from which his porcelain models derive.40From the 5 March 1767 inventory of Willems’s effects, quoted in Lane, English Porcelain Figures, pp. 135–6. A connection between Coustou’s sculpture and Willems may have arisen via the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac, who trained under Coustou, and was a close friend of Nicholas Sprimont (1716–1771), the manager of the Chelsea factory. Although knowledge of Coustou’s Pietà was disseminated throughout Europe via engravings – including one by Jacques-François Blondel, published in 1727, and another by Antoine Hérisset published in 1765 – Willems’s Pietà seems to have been modelled from direct observation of the Coustou sculpture in Paris, or after one of the models of the sculpture which appear to have been in circulation, rather than via a print representation, as there are differences between the extant print sources for the Notre Dame Pietà and the actual sculptural group itself; differences that are not reflected in Willems’s porcelain models, which agree in the majority of details with Coustou’s marble, rather than with the prints.41M, 37.31. See Emil Kaufmann, ‘The contribution of Jacques-François Blondel to Mariette’s architecture françoise’, The Art Bulletin, vol. 31, no. 1, 1949, pp. 58–9; Inventaire du fonds français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930, 4.1; J. A. Piganiol de La Force, Description historique de la ville de Paris et de ses environs, Paris, 1765, vol. 1, p. 323; Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types’, p. 351. For example, the orientation of the Virgin’s gaze upwards to the left in the 1727 Blondel engraving (fig. 8) is the reverse of the direction of the Virgin’s gaze in the Coustou sculpture, and the angel kissing the hand of the dead Christ in Coustou’s composition is replaced by two putti in the Blondel print. In both of these details Willems’s porcelain model follows Coustou’s original and not the engraving. While the Coustou Pietà in Paris would appear to be the primary inspiration for Willems’s model, the extant porcelain groups do not precisely reproduce the marble sculpture in every detail, nor are all of the Chelsea examples identical to each other.

One of the more significant changes that Willems introduces into his model is in the pose of the Virgin.42A number of late-seventeenth-century Flemish devotional paintings, many of them circulating in print form, present interesting parallels to the compositional innovations that Willems introduces into his model when compared to the Coustou Pietà. We know from the inventory of his possessions taken upon his death that Willems owned a sizeable number of engravings on various subjects (see Lane, English Porcelain Figures, pp. 135–6). Some of the parallels between these images and Willems’s composition are explored in Martin. Coustou’s Virgin sits with her upper torso turned in the direction of the viewer, her arms spread wide in a gesture of grief, her hands open, palms up. Her head is tilted slightly to the left and her gaze is cast upwards. The overall effect is of a sorrowful but contained appeal to heaven. Willems transforms this pose into something far more dramatic. His Virgin sits at an exaggerated angle to the viewer, her legs and torso facing to the right of centre. Where Coustou’s Virgin tilts her head a little to the left, that of Willems has noticeably turned her head to the left, her neck elongated in an exaggerated sinuous curve, her upward gaze paralleling the upward sweep of her left arm. The angle at which she holds her outstretched arms is also more exaggerated than that of Coustou’s Virgin, forming a powerful diagonal, her left arm tracing a line heavenwards, which is followed by her gaze. The palms of her hands are turned downwards. The result is a dynamic, circular torsion in the body of the Virgin, whose form traces a vigorous, upward spiral, in total contrast with the hieratic frontality of the Virgin in Coustou’s composition.

Differences are also introduced into the figure of Christ in the Chelsea groups. Willems’s Virgin sits in a more elevated position than Coustou’s, and the body of Christ sits higher upon her lap, resulting in the dead Christ’s head being thrown back more violently, and the fall of his pelvis and legs being exaggerated. Where the head of Coustou’s Christ has fallen to the side, his long hair pooling on his mother’s knee leaving his face free for contemplation by the viewer standing before the altar, Willems’s Christ lies with his head strained back in an unnatural position and his face, especially in the two Gold Anchor examples, is best viewed from a slightly elevated perspective by the viewer looking down upon the figure group. Christ’s body is twisted into an exaggerated S-curve by Willems, the legs projecting towards the front of the figure group, the feet overhanging the edge of the work formed by the softly folded drapery of the funerary shroud. The fall of the drapery covering Christ’s body mirrors the slack fall of his limbs, the hanging end of the shroud echoes Christ’s hanging arm. This is all in marked contrast to the positioning of Christ’s body in Coustou’s sculpture, where the body lies in a vertical plane parallel to the front of the altar and where the legs are drawn slightly back towards the tending angel. Coustou positions Christ’s body slightly on its side, thus conforming to the iconographic convention of Mary presenting the body of her son to the viewer.43On the iconography of the presentation by the Virgin of Christ’s sacramental body, see Henk van Os, The Art of Devotion in the Late Middle Ages in Europe, 1300–1500, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994, p. 104. Willems’s innovations serve to heighten the drama of the figure group. The viewer is forced to approach the group closely and to contemplate it from a variety of angles to read the composition. Willems effectively transforms Coustou’s composition, which must be viewed frontally and at a distance, into an object the viewer must engage with in three-dimensional space.

A final difference between Willems’s and Coustou’s Pietà groups is the absence in Willems’s model of the putto clutching the crown of thorns to the right of the Virgin. The appearance of the putto in Coustou’s composition seems to be an echo of the 1599–1600 Pietà by Annibale Carracci in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples, his most moving treatment of this subject.44See Clare Robertson, The Invention of Annibale Carracci, Silvana Editoriale, Rome, 2008, pp. 128–9. Here two putti accompany the mourning Virgin – both positioned to her left – one holding the dead Christ’s left hand, the other recoiling in pain, having pricked his finger on the crown of thorns which lies at Christ’s feet.45A 1650–63 etching of this Pietà by Pietro del Pò, with the composition reversed, was published in Paris by Noël Coypel (BM U,1.131). See Walter L. Strauss (ed.), The Illustrated Bartsch, Abaris, New York, 1978, 4510.010 S3; Adam Bartsch, Le Peintre graveur, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803, XX.249.10. It is therefore quite possible that this etching was a source for Coustou’s sculpture. The position of the putto holding the crown of thorns to the right of the Virgin, in particular, would seem to reflect the reversal of Carracci’s composition reflected in the print version. By omitting this second putto and simply depicting the crown of thorns lying on the ground to the Virgin’s right, Willems simplifies Coustou’s group, creating a tighter, more compact and dramatic compositional structure.46The crown of thorns is omitted in the earlier Red Anchor version of the group.

Willems’s modifications to Coustou’s composition have radical results. Coustou’s Pietà is characterised by a strong frontal orientation. The Virgin, with her outstretched arms, directly faces the viewer before the altar. The body of Christ lies across her lap horizontally, echoing the orientation of her arms. The angel who leans in to adore the wounded hand of Christ is also oriented parallel to the body of Christ, presenting his left side to the viewer. The putto grasping the fallen crown of thorns on the proper right of the Virgin gazes upward and across at the head of the dead Christ, emphasising the strong right-to-left horizontal plane of the composition.

Willems disrupts this monumental frontality. His compositional modifications establish all three figures in the porcelain model – the Virgin, Christ and the angel – in distinct spatial planes. The powerful upward right-to-left diagonal formed by the turn of the Virgin’s upper body, her outspread arms and her heavenwards gaze contrasts with both the orientation to the right of her legs and lower body, and with the curvature of Christ’s body on her lap, emphasising a downward right-to-left diagonal. Both the figures of the Virgin and Christ evidence considerable sinuous elongation of form; the neck, arms and fingers of the Virgin, especially in the slightly later Gold Anchor examples, verge on Mannerism in their elegant exaggeration. The dramatic gestures of the Virgin serve to emphasise her emotional appeal to heaven in response to the death of her son, while amplifying even further the powerful diagonals formed by her figure and by that of Christ. The figure of the angel has been pulled in beside the Virgin, creating a left-to-right diagonal which contrasts with the orientations of the bodies of the other two figures, visually emphasising the act of the angel kissing Christ’s wounded hand. All of these modifications subtly and powerfully transform Coustou’s composition. Created to be viewed front-on as a backdrop to the ritual taking place at the high altar, Willems reconfigures Coustou’s Pietà to create a scene which is in the round and impossible to read fully from a single viewpoint.47Although Willems’s porcelain group has a definite front and reverse to it – this is particularly emphasised in the Gold Anchor versions by the addition of the pedestal base – the overall effect of the model is to provide viewing interest from all four sides. In addition, by omitting the putto holding the crown of thorns, Willems simplifies Coustou’s grouping of figures, allowing for an increased emphasis upon the dynamic relationship that he has established between the three protagonists in the scene. More than mere modification, this is a striking piece of sculptural recomposition on Willems’s part.

Willems’s porcelain models are often taken as evidence of a mediocre talent. Arthur Lane describes the pair of signed 1749 terracottas of dancing peasants as possessed of ‘ponderous realism’, ‘heavily built, with disproportionately short legs’ and conveying ‘little of the intended sense of movement’.48Lane, English Porcelain Figures, p. 64. Bernard Watney speaks of ‘Willem’s [sic] rather ponderous Flemish style’;49Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, p. 818. Peter Bradshaw is more generous, stating that Willems’s figures have a ‘stately appearance’ but ‘lack animation owing to his failure to represent secondary postural adjustments that normally accompany action’.50Bradshaw, p. 64. Hilary Young speaks of the ‘ponderous realism’ of certain of Willems’s models, although he allows that Willems has a legitimate claim to being considered a gifted artist.51Young, pp. 104, 94.

I would suggest, however, that Willems’s adaptation of Coustou’s sculpture into a porcelain form demonstrates considerable compositional skill and evidences an appreciation of the transformations necessary to successfully translate a monumental marble group into a small-scale sculptural work. It would be an injustice to Willems to attribute a lack of animation to his Pietà. On the contrary, the group is a highly dynamic composition, the exaggerated torsion of all three constituent figures tracing a single, taut, ascending spiral in space. By compressing space and drawing the individual figures in close to one another, Willems heightens the tension and drama of the whole. Indeed, it may be argued that he has succeeded in producing a more successful composition than that by Coustou. It is Coustou’s sculpture which is hieratic and static; constrained by liturgical requirements it is overwhelmingly frontal in orientation, its extension to the sides to accommodate the flanking figures of the royal donors drains the work of tautness, thus diminishing its dramatic impact. It is a work intended to preside over an altar, not to form the focus of close, private contemplation.

It is well to recall that, as a Catholic, Willems would have been familiar with the rituals of domestic devotion in a Catholic household, and that he understood the characteristics required of an image serving as a focus for such devotions. Willems’s Pietà transforms its monumental liturgical model into such an intimate, domestic work. He establishes a dynamic visual relationship between the three protagonists in the scene, inviting the contemplative viewer to enter themselves into the drama depicted, experiencing the maternal anguish of the mourning Virgin and the sorrow of the attending angel who kisses the very wounds of Christ. This latter detail in particular is a powerful image associated with Counter-Reformation devotional practice. The cult of the Wounds of Christ had been widespread in the Middle Ages and continued on into the post-Tridentine period.52See Douglas Gray, ‘The five wounds of Our Lord’, Notes and Queries, vol. 208, 1963, pp. 50–1, 82–9, 127–34, 163–8; Gabriele Finaldi, The Image of Christ, National Gallery London, 2000, p. 160, no. 62; p. 166, no. 65. Explicitly Eucharistic in its resonances, Counter-Reformation devotion to the wounds emphasises the material presence of the blood of Christ in the elements of the Eucharist and, in so doing, evokes the doctrine of transubstantiation, a point of fierce doctrinal dispute between Protestant and Catholic theologians.53David Nirenberg, ‘The historical body of Christ’, in James Clifton, The Body of Christ in the Art of Europe and New Spain 1150–1800, Prestel, Munich, 1997, p. 22. Similarly, the inclusion of the crown of thorns in the Gold Anchor Pietà groups is an iconographical detail which evokes Counter-Reformation devotional tradition. As an element of the Arma Christi, the crown of thorns serves to recall the bodily agony of Jesus. Together these representational genres – the wounds and the instruments – emphasise the centrality of both the Eucharistic body of Christ and the suffering flesh of Jesus as objects of devotional contemplation.

All of these aspects make Willems’s masterpiece a fitting sculptural work for a Recusant patron seeking a domestic devotional image, as was the case when the NGV Pietà came into the possession of the Lords Clifford of Chudleigh in the eighteenth century. Large-scale porcelain figure groups by the Chelsea factory were costly objects, and the commissioning of a devotional work by Lord Clifford in this material speaks of its luxury status, commensurate with the consequence of its intended function. This function was scarcely decorative; the Pietà group is highly charged with profound, symbolic meaning, and its domestic scale and the haptic nature of its owners’ interactions with it – both characteristics denigrated in late eighteenth-century academic sculptural aesthetics – are integral parts of that function. Indeed, the disparagement of characteristics intimately associated with the role of images in post-Tridentine Catholic doctrine indicates the existence of a significant strand of Reformation polemic in neoclassical aesthetic theory. We must assume that, for patrons and collectors like the Lords Clifford, the Chelsea Pietà was a desirable work of art, its acquisition a statement simultaneously of their aesthetic sensibilities and their distinctively English Catholic identity. For Willems his Pietà group is no mere exercise in mechanical reduction or reproduction. It reveals him as a creative artist capable of reconceptualising his Parisian model, transforming it and imbuing it with new symbolic and aesthetic value in order to meet new requirements of function. There are few grounds remaining for not allowing Willems to be deemed a sculptor, as he seems to have thought of himself, working in a newly mastered, costly medium. Nor are there grounds for not allowing that, at least for a period in the middle years of the eighteenth century, the most ambitious of English porcelain productions could lay claim to the status of sculptural art.

Matthew Martin, Assistant Curator, Decorative Arts, NGV (in 2013).

Notes

1        See Catriona MacLeod, ‘Sweetmeats for the eye: porcelain miniatures in classical Weimar’, in Evelyn Moore & Patricia Simpson (eds), The Enlightened Eye: Goethe and Visual Culture, Rodopi, Amsterdam & New York, 2007, pp. 43–8; Johann Joachim Winckelmann, ‘Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums’, in Joseph Eiselein (ed.), Sämtliche Werke, vol. 3, Verlage deutscher Klassiker Donauöschingen, 1825–29, p. 121; Ludwig Giesz, Phänomenologie des Kitsches, Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt Am Main, 1994, p. 22.

2        Angela Gräffin von Wallwitz, Celebrating Kaendler 1706–1775, Angela Gräffin von Wallwitz Kunsthandel, Munich, 2006, pp.  13–25; Gordon Campbell, ‘Bustelli, Franz-Anton’, in The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006, p. 163; Marie-Noëlle Pinot Villechenon, Falconet à Sèvres, 1754–1766, ou, L’art de plaire, Reunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 2001; Adrian Forty, Objects of Desire: Design and Society, 1750–1980, Thames & Hudson, London, 1986, pp. 13–28; MacLeod, p. 45.

3        See Samuel Wittwer, The Gallery of Meissen Animals: Augustus the Strong’s Menagerie for the Japanese Palace in Dresden, Hirmer Verlag, Munich, 2006; Ingelore Menzhausen, Early Meissen Porcelain in Dresden, Thames & Hudson, London, 1990, pp. 21–2.

4        See Menzhausen, p. 197, no. 33; Ulrich Pietsch (ed.), Die Arbeitsberichte des Meissener Porzellanmodelleurs Johann Joachim Kaendler, 1706–1775, vol. 15, Edition Leipzig, Leipzig, 2002; Renate Eikelmann, Franz Anton Bustelli: Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko: Das Gesamtwerk, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 2004, pp. 184–6.

5        See Daniela Antonin, ‘In Roman style: Meissen’s religious sculptures’, in Ulrich Pietsch & Claudia Banz (eds), Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie, 1710–1815, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, 2010, pp. 77–83.

6        John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems: Mary Ann Nollekens (née Lesac)’, TECC, vol. 19, no. 2, 2006, p. 249; Elizabeth Adams, Chelsea Porcelain, British Museum Press, 2001, p. 88.

7        Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems’, p. 246; John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Nollekens , Joseph Francis (1702–1748)’, Jan. 2008, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/20243>, accessed 27 Nov. 2010.

8        Kenworthy-Browne, ‘The wife of Joseph Willems’, p. 249.

9        Cited in Arthur Lane, English Porcelain Figures of the Eighteenth Century, Faber and  Faber, London, 1961, p. 134.

10      ibid. pp. 133–4.

11      ibid., p. 134.

12      See Bernard Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types in ceramics’, TECC, 1980; Adams, p. 88; Sculptura III, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art/Paul Holberton, London, 2010.

13      Nancy Valpy, ‘Extracts from 18th century London newspapers and additional manuscripts, British Library’, TECC, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, p. 80.

14      From the 5 March 1767 inventory of the effects of Joseph Willems, quoted in Lane, pp. 135–6. That Willems produced porcelain sculptures after terracotta models of his own making is clearly demonstrated by the presence in the collections of the Cecil Higgins Museum of a signed terracotta by Willems of a girl with flowers (the so-called Gardener’s companion) (S.12), the Chelsea porcelain example of which is held in the same collection.

15      Lane, p. 135.

16      On Bacon who worked at Derby, see Peter Bradshaw, 18th Century English Porcelain Figures 1745–1795, Antique Collectors Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1981, p. 54. On Doell who worked at Kloster Veilsdorf, see Gerhard Schuster & Caroline Gille (eds), Wiederholte Spiegelungen: Weimarer Klassik 1759–1832, vol. 1, Stiftung Weimarer Klassik bei Hanser, Munich, 1999,  p. 59.

17      For an overview of these issues, see Rosalind Krauss, ‘Retaining the original? The state of the question’, in Retaining the Original: Multiple Originals, Copies and Reproductions, Studies in the History of Art, vol. 20, National Gallery of Art Washington, University Press of New England, Hanover & London, 1989, pp. 7–11.

18      Quoted in Richard Spear, ‘Notes on Renaissance and Baroque originals and originality’, in Retaining the Original, p. 97.

19      See Malcolm Baker, ‘Public images for private spaces? The place of sculpture in the Georgian interior’, Journal of Design History, vol. 20, no. 4, 2007, p. 315.

20      Robert Campbell, The London Tradesman, T. Gardener, London, 1747, p. 139.

21      From the outset, Böttger’s ambition was for his porcelain and stoneware bodies to be substitutes for silver, capable of being transformed into anything that silver was employed for, including furniture and sculpture. See Menzhausen, pp. 11–12.

22      Malcolm Baker, ‘The ivory multiplied: small-scale sculpture and its reproductions in the eighteenth century’, in Anthony Hughes & Erich Ranfft (eds), Sculpture and its Reproductions, Reaktion, London, 1997, pp. 64–7.

23      See Baker, ‘The ivory multiplied’, pp. 61–78; MacLeod, p. 50.

24      See MacLeod, p. 49.

25      ‘Die Kunst, welche dem Alten seine Fußboden bereitete, dem Christen seine Kirchenhimmel wölbte, hat sich jetzt auf Dosen und Armbänder verkrümelt’, FA 1/15: pp. 93–4. Goethe’s Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 3, Tétot Fréres, Paris, 1836, p. 571.

26      See Bernard Watney, ‘Origins of designs for English ceramics of the eighteenth century’, Burlington Magazine, issue 114, Dec. 1972, pp. 818–31; Siegfried Ducret, Keramik und Graphik des 18. Jahrhunderts: Vorlagen für Maler und Modelleurs, Klinkhardt and Biermann, Braunschweig, 1973; Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, ‘Graphic sources for Meissen porcelain: origins of the print collection in the Meissen archives’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, no. 31, 1996, pp. 99–126.

27      See Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, pp. 818–22.

28      See Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types’, p. 350; Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, p. 818; William King, English Porcelain Figures of the XVIII Century, The Medici Society, London, 1925, fig. 28. The Louvre holds a terracotta of the Borghese gladiator by Nicholas Coustou, made when he was in Rome in 1683 (R. F. 198).

29      See, for example, Adams, p. 133; Lane, p. 69; Hilary Young, English Porcelain 1745–95: Its Makers, Design, Marketing and Consumption, V&A Publications, London, 1999, p. 37.

30      See Matthew Martin, ‘The Chelsea Pietà’, in Fire and Form: The Influence of the Baroque on English Ceramics, The English Ceramic Circle, London, 2013.

31      A third version was produced at the Tournai factory in Flanders around the time of Willems’s death. While differences exist between the Chelsea and Tournai versions, Willems appears to have been involved in some capacity in the creation of both (see Martin).

32      Acquired by the V&A in 1985, formerly in the collection of Capt. J. J. Tufnell.

33      Acquired by the NGV in 1989; Stevens Collection, Melbourne, acquired Christie’s, London, 5 June 1978, lot 137; formerly in the collection of Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, sold Sotheby’s, London, October 27 1953, lot 140; Hugh 4th Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, c.1761.

34      ‘Agnus occisus a [sic] origine mundi.’ Revelation 13:8.

35      Christie’s, London, 11 February 1991, lot 90.

36      See Soren Kaspersen (ed.), Images of Cult and Devotion: Function and Reception of Christian Images in Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe, Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen, 2004.

37      For example, Lane, p. 73; Patrick Synge-Hutchinson, ‘A unique essay in English ceramic art’, The Connoisseur, vol. 156, June 1964, pp. 86–7.

38      See Arthur Lane, ‘Chelsea porcelain figures and the modeller Joseph Willems’, The Connoisseur, vol. 145, May 1960, pp. 245–51.

39      François Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV: Illustrated Catalogue, vol. 1 A–F, Cassirer, Oxford, 1977, pp. 170–1.

40      From the 5 March 1767 inventory of Willems’s effects, quoted in Lane, English Porcelain Figures, pp. 135–6. A connection between Coustou’s sculpture and Willems may have arisen via the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac, who trained under Coustou, and was a close friend of Nicholas Sprimont (1716–1771), the manager of the Chelsea factory.

41      M, 37.31. See Emil Kaufmann, ‘The contribution of Jacques-François Blondel to Mariette’s architecture françoise’, The Art Bulletin, vol. 31, no. 1, 1949, pp. 58–9; Inventaire du fonds français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930, 4.1; J. A. Piganiol de La Force, Description historique de la ville de Paris et de ses environs, Paris, 1765, vol. 1, p. 323; Watney, ‘Some parallels and proto-types’, p. 351.

42      A number of late-seventeenth-century Flemish devotional paintings, many of them circulating in print form, present interesting parallels to the compositional innovations that Willems introduces into his model when compared to the Coustou Pietà. We know from the inventory of his possessions taken upon his death that Willems owned a sizeable number of engravings on various subjects (see Lane, English Porcelain Figures, pp. 135–6). Some of the parallels between these images and Willems’s composition are explored in Martin.

43      On the iconography of the presentation by the Virgin of Christ’s sacramental body, see Henk van Os, The Art of Devotion in the Late Middle Ages in Europe, 1300–1500, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994, p. 104.

44      See Clare Robertson, The Invention of Annibale Carracci, Silvana Editoriale, Rome, 2008, pp. 128–9.

45      A 1650–63 etching of this Pietà by Pietro del Pò, with the composition reversed, was published in Paris by Noël Coypel (BM U,1.131). See Walter L. Strauss (ed.), The Illustrated Bartsch, Abaris, New York, 1978, 4510.010 S3; Adam Bartsch, Le Peintre graveur, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803, XX.249.10. It is therefore quite possible that this etching was a source for Coustou’s sculpture. The position of the putto holding the crown of thorns to the right of the Virgin, in particular, would seem to reflect the reversal of Carracci’s composition reflected in the print version.

46      The crown of thorns is omitted in the earlier Red Anchor version of the group.

47      Although Willems’s porcelain group has a definite front and reverse to it – this is particularly emphasised in the Gold Anchor versions by the addition of the pedestal base – the overall effect of the model is to provide viewing interest from all four sides.

48      Lane, English Porcelain Figures, p. 64.

49      Watney, ‘Origins of designs’, p. 818.

50      Bradshaw, p. 64.

51      Young, pp. 104, 94.

52      See Douglas Gray, ‘The five wounds of Our Lord’, Notes and Queries, vol. 208, 1963, pp. 50–1, 82–9, 127–34, 163–8; Gabriele Finaldi, The Image of Christ, National Gallery London, 2000, p. 160, no. 62; p. 166, no. 65.

53      David Nirenberg, ‘The historical body of Christ’, in James Clifton, The Body of Christ in the Art of Europe and New Spain 1150–1800, Prestel, Munich, 1997, p. 22.