Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum
OBJECT OF DEVOTION: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum presents sixty beautifully-carved alabaster panels and free-standing figures that were displayed in the homes, chapels, and churches of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic Christians in the 15th and 16th centuries. Alabaster production during the Middle Ages centered on the making and selling of finely decorated, gilded and colored sculpture to churches, nobles, and owners of private chapels. More common examples, however, were intended to brighten the homes and spiritual lives of people of modest means and are now treasured as the folk art of the ordinary medieval English man and woman. Due to this range in intended audience, this assemblage of English alabasters offers an unrivalled glimpse into the spiritual lives, hopes, fears and religious aspirations of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic society during the Middle Ages. Since alabasters were sold across the Continent in large quantities, the exhibition sheds light on spirituality and culture beyond the English Channel, with English examples having been found in countries from Iceland to Italy, and Poland to Portugal.
Works in the exhibition have been selected by Dr. Paul Williamson, FSA, Guest Curator of the exhibition and Director of Collections and Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, and Glass at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Fergus Cannan, Associate Curator of the exhibition.