This was a small room off the reception area of the Courtland Gallery which contains a collection made by Thomas Gambier Parry (1816-1888) which had a variety of subjects ranging from ivories, metal work, paintings, church objects, etc. This collection was gifted to the Courtland in 1966. I have split this collection into three parts, the first part containing the main gallery, the second part concentrating on the ivories and the third part on the Islamic metal work.
Most of this part of the collection relates to church decorations, statues and triptychs. This is an old English alabaster statue of St. Thomas Becket being consecrated. Pretty nice for something made in the 15th century, eh?
This panel shows St. Peter as Pope, made somewhere around 1365 in Sienna. Tempera and gold leaf on a wooden base. He holds two keys, Autoritas and Discretio, which are supposed to be the keys to heaven. An unidentified saint is in the round panel at the top. Very fine detailed work, extremely fine. You can just imagine the artist Lippo Vanni (1341-1375) peering closely at this panel, working with a very very fine brush. Lovely. You could see the individual hairs of the beard.
Then we have two statues of the Madonna and the Child. On the left is a limestone (not marble, this is important) statue by Andre Beauneuveu made around 1372. This was most probably made for a church portal in Flanders or in France. Limestone is extraordinarily difficult (unlike marble) to sculpt finely but this is a very fine statue indeed. The blurb says, “monumental work” and I agree. Very very fine work indeed. The face is specially extraordinary, showing a very calm almost glowing face. The right hand side photograph is again another limestone statue from the 14th century but we do not know who sculpted it. Now here’s the curious thing, this is one of the very few images showing the child on the right arm. Apparently, almost all representations (statues & paintings) of the Madonna and Child always show the child on the left arm. Not sure why or what is the significance.
This is a triptych showing the Crucifixion. From the 14th century, it is thought to be from somewhere in the North of Europe, possibly from a Franciscan Order as St. Francis is shown in the triptych. Very fragile work and so its inside a glass case. Reflected on the glass case is a fat old bloke taking a photograph.
The final photograph shows a Dutch triptych showing the entombment of Christ, the Resurrection and a Donor. Made around 1420 with oil and gold leaf on a wooden panel. Very nice work, Presumably this would have been placed on an altar or somewhere prominent. Full slide show here.
We come to the end of the first part, in the second part of this gallery’s photo essay, I will talk about the ivory carvings.