barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Unknown English artist (16th century)

Saint James the Great

Midlands, probably Nottingham, about 1500

Alabaster, with traces of gilding and polychromy (coloured paint)

39.7 x 16.7 x 5.2 cm


Saint James the Great, a fisherman, was one of the first Disciples of Jesus, who called him from the seashore. He is identifiable by his broad-brimmed hat adorned with a scallop shell, his emblem. He supports a long trailing scroll in one hand and a staff in the other. The distinctive style of his beard places him to the time of Henry VIII (reigned 1509- 47), the king whose dramatic break with the Roman Catholic Church brutally cut short the English production of such religious sculpture. A magnificent and much earlier Midlands alabaster, representing the Coronation of the Virgin, is located in the Foyer downstairs.

Purchased, with the generous support of the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, 2019 (No. 2019.6)

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