Lot 10
  • 10

North German, probably Lübeck, circa 1500

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • The Otley Hall Holy Kinship
  • oak
  • North German, probably Lübeck, circa 1500
the panel with a woman breastfeeding with an old white label to the reverse inscribed: 15054/1 2/3 and with further illegible inscriptions


Poor Clare Convent, Otley Hall, Ellesmere, Shropshire,
their sale, Sotheby's London , 22 December 1960, lot 47,
Ader, Tajan, Picard Paris, 27 November 2002, lot 253


Brussels, Société Générale de Banque, Les sculptures medievales allemands dans les collections belges, 1977, no. 75


R. Didier and H. Krohm, Les sculptures medievales allemands dans les collections belges, exhib. cat. Société Générale de Banque, Brussels, 1977, no. 75
'The Heilige Sippe', Country Life, 12 June, 1958, p. 1301

Catalogue Note

These three groups are sections from a major retable representing the Holy Kinship, or the lineage of Mary and St Anne. This iconography became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, as the cult of the Virgin gained prominence in Europe.

In the exhibition Les sculptures medievales allemandes dans les collections belges (op.cit.) it was suggested that the retable originated in Lübeck due to the existence of similarly arranged retables from the circle of Martin Radeleff. Stylistic similarities between the present relief and the work of the Master of Osnabrück confirm that the carving is from the hand of a North German carver. The ovoid heads, pursed lips and almond-shaped eyes with heavy semi-spherical lids compare closely to a figure of St. Ursula in the St. Johannkirche in Osnabrück and a Virgin and Child in the Münster Landesmuseum (op.cit. Manske, nos. 2 and 59a). The slim body type and flattened curls of the children are close to the latter group too. The high cheekbones of the male faces, the corkscrew curls and the manner in which the locks flare outward from the neck are also common features in carvings by the Osnabrück Master. See, for example, the St. Andrew in Belm and The beheading of St. John the Baptist in the St. Johann (Manske, nos. 10 and 101).

When the present groups appeared in Country Life in 1958 and at Sotheby’s on 22nd December 1960, it was part of an ensemble of four groups attached to 19th century ogee-shaped backgrounds. The fourth group with the Virgin and Child was sold in these rooms on 8 December 2009, lot 38.

H-J. Manske, Der Meister von Osnabrueck. Osnabruecker Plastik um 1500, Osnabrück, 1978