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22 November 2018

Fine British and European Sculpture

Lot 4

A sculpted and polychrome painted model of Saint Mary

Estimate £3000 - £5000 + fees

A sculpted and polychrome painted model of Saint Mary, previously part of a Pieta group, probably French, last quarter 15th century, traditionally portrayed as seated, Her veiled head, looking down towards the (now fragmentary) torso of Christ, the drapery with traces of red and blue paint, the base integrally carved with the feet of Christ

77cm high, 38cm wide


PROVENANCE: Purchased in south-western France by the current vendor's grandfather, Sir Herbert Hughes-StantonRA RWS (1870 ~ 1937). Please see lot 2 for further notes relating to Hughes-Stanton


The presentation of the Pieta group in this format is non specific to any particular part of western Europe, and versions of the 15th, 16th and even 17th centuries in precisely this composition can be identified everywhere from Spain through to Austria. However, there are particular similarities which do tie in with French models (specifically the Loire Valley), and lend weight to a French attribution, already suggested by the known provenance

Southern German and Austrian examples of the later 15th century have Saint Mary heavily cowled and looking directly, vertically downwards at Christ on Her lap -very much in the manner of the example here, and there is much about the drapery, the positioning of the feet and the base too that can be likened to these Mitteleuropean examples. However, these characteristics are replicated in a group of Pietas in the Loire districts as well, and importantly in these, Mary is positioned centrally and squarely behind Christ, whereas the examples from further east have her to the right side

Comparison with an example in the Church of Saint Médard in Saugues , Haute-Loire is highly instructive; as is an example in the Church of Saint Grégoire-le-Grand, Charnay-les-Chalon in the Saône-et-Loire department, amongst others

For further comparables offered at auction also see Christie's London, Important European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries Including Three Private European Collections, 9th November 2006, lot 393

Christie's Amsterdam, European Noble and Private Collections, 13th and 14th December 2011, lot 787

Sotheby's London, European Sculpture & Works of Art: Medieval to Modern, 2nd July 2013, lot 14