National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Alcoa Foundation, Governor, 1989
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
This porcelain sculpture is an extremely rare example of a Catholic devotional image produced in eighteenth-century England. The practice of Catholicism was illegal in England for most of the eighteenth century. That a leading luxury porcelain manufacturer such as Chelsea should thus produce an object like this is very unusual; the work must have been a private commission for an English Catholic aristocrat. Only three examples of this particular figure are known to exist. That the work was actually employed as a focus for private devotion is evidenced by signs of wear on the tooled-gilt decoration on the plinth of the figure. The central gilt image of the Lamb of God with a quotation from the Book of Revelation in Latin is now almost impossible to see with the naked eye. This seems to be the result of localised surface abrasion, such as one might expect on a Catholic devotional image where the image would be regularly touched by the devotee.