Collection online

panel

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1890,0809.1

  • Description

    Alabaster panel carved and painted with green paint; depicting the murder of St Thomas à Becket.
    Saint Thomas kneels before the altar on which stands a chalice, while two of the armed knights strike at his head with their swords, one from behind and one from above. Two other knights stand behind while the clerk, Edward Grim, holding cross and book, stands behind the altar. The contrast between the figures of the soldiers, and of the saintly Thomas and his clerk, is clear. The focus of the scene is concentrated on the saint's head which was to become an object of pilgrimage itself, and on his long hands clasped in prayer. Both lead the eye to the chalice on the altar, a symbol of Christ's sacrifice.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1450-1500
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 385 millimetres
    • Width: 284 millimetres
    • Depth: 45 millimetres
    • Weight: 6 kilograms
  • Curator's comments

    Blurton 1997
    In 1170 Saint Thomas was killed as he celebrated Mass in Canterbury Cathedral, by four knights encouraged by Henry II.

  • Bibliography

    • Blurton 1997 219 bibliographic details
    • Robinson 2008 p. 112 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc10/sC

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2011 23 June-9 Oct, London, BM, 'Treasures of Heaven'
    2007 14 Sep-2 Dec, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2007 3 Feb-27 May, Taipei, National Palace Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2006 18 Mar-4 Jun, Beijing, Capital Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 27 Oct-2006 31 Jan, Haengso Museum, Keimyung University, Daegu, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 25 Jul-8 Oct, Busan Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
    1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Martyrdom of St Thomas à Becket
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1890

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1890,0809.1

Alabaster panel carved and painted with green paint; depicting the murder of St Thomas à Becket.    Saint Thomas kneels before the altar on which stands a chalice, while two of the armed knights strike at his head with their swords, one from behind and one from above.  Two other knights stand behind while the clerk, Edward Grim, holding cross and book, stands behind the altar.  The contrast between the figures of the soldiers, and of the saintly Thomas and his clerk, is clear.  The focus of the scene is concentrated on the saint's head which was to become an object of pilgrimage itself, and on his long hands clasped in prayer.  Both lead the eye to the chalice on the altar, a symbol of Christ's sacrifice.

Alabaster panel carved and painted with green paint; depicting the murder of St Thomas à Becket. Saint Thomas kneels before the altar on which stands a chalice, while two of the armed knights strike at his head with their swords, one from behind and one from above. Two other knights stand behind while the clerk, Edward Grim, holding cross and book, stands behind the altar. The contrast between the figures of the soldiers, and of the saintly Thomas and his clerk, is clear. The focus of the scene is concentrated on the saint's head which was to become an object of pilgrimage itself, and on his long hands clasped in prayer. Both lead the eye to the chalice on the altar, a symbol of Christ's sacrifice.

Image description

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