Collection Online

St John the Baptist
(15th century)

Medium
alabaster paint
Measurements
72.2 × 26.6 × 10.5 cm
Place/s of Execution
England
Accession Number
1301-3
Department
International Sculpture
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1923
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
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
About
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.