To fully understand the pale, carved representations of Christian stories populating The Society of the Four Arts’ galleries, you have to step back in time about 600 years.
In those days, they adorned church altars or were the focal points of shrines in private homes and chapels throughout Europe. Seen in flickering candlelight, the brightly colored and gilded objects set in elaborately decorated frames or boxes inspired awe and reverence.
“Underlying them all is the strong faith we sense in the sculptor and the consumer,” said Paul Williamson, keeper of sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and glass at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, from whose collection the 60 English medieval alabaster figures and reliefs were drawn.
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