14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts Level 1, NGV International
A major centre of religious sculpture in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was Nottingham, England, home to large alabaster quarries. Lacking natural supplies of marble, English carvers instead chose alabaster, a gypsum-based stone. Because the material is much softer than marble, deeply carved objects were easier and faster to produce. ‘Nottingham alabasters’, which were typically painted, were exported in great numbers to Europe as private devotional objects and components of altars. The distinctive gaunt forms of ‘Nottingham alabasters’ were especially valued in Ferrara, Italy, seat of the Este court, where they are thought to have influenced local sculptors and painters, such as Cosmè Tura.