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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Southern Netherlandish, Tournai, circa 1490
RELIEF FRAGMENT WITH SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST
JUMP TO LOT
59

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Southern Netherlandish, Tournai, circa 1490
RELIEF FRAGMENT WITH SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

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Southern Netherlandish, Tournai, circa 1490
RELIEF FRAGMENT WITH SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST
inscribed with Gothic script: (Io)han eva(n)geliste and with fragmentary remnants of a text on the left side of the relief
Belgian Black marble, on a later velvet lined wood base
relief: 63.5 by 26cm., 25 by 10¼in. 
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Catalogue Note

This beautiful and intriguing relief fragment is made of Belgian Black, or Tournai marble. This black limestone, quarried from the banks of the River Scheldt, was mostly carved in Tournai, and of particular popularity for the creation of tombs, altars, and baptismal fonts. See, for a well-known example, the large, square baptismal font with scenes from the Life of Saint Nicholas, dating to the 12th century, in Winchester Cathedral. 

Depicting Saint John the Evangelist, under a trefoil niche and with identifying inscription in Gothic Script, the present relief fits well within the corpus of Tournai marble monumental and funerary sculpture of the 15th century - see, for instance, a memorial panel for Gauthier de Beauvoir, depicting a Crucifixion, with elaborate inscripiton, from the former Cathedral of Our Lady of Cambrai (Nys 2001, op. cit., fig 22, no. 10). For saints in individual niches, compare to the slightly earlier Tournai marble memorial panel for Brice li Rois (ibid., no. VI) and the Tournai Cathedral 'new porch' (Van de Walle, op. cit., no. 116-117). Further comparison for compositions with individual saints can be found in rood screens dating to the end of the 15th century, including that of Saint Peter's Church in Louvain (Steppe, op. cit., fig. 18). The present relief is therefore likely to have been part of a memorial or a rood screen. The mark at the top of the relief, however, is enigmatic. Since many of the memorials for individual families in the Tournai region feature complicated identifying features and coats of arms, it can only be assumed that this intriguing sign had a similar function. 

RELATED LITERATURE
J. Steppe, Het Koordoksaal in de Nederlanden, Brussel, 1952; A. L. J. Van de Walle, Belgique Gothique, Architecture, Art Monumental, Brussels, 1971; L. Nys, La pierre de Tounai, Son exploitation et son usage aux XIIIème et XIVème et XVème siècles, Tournai and Louvain, 1993; L. Nys, Les tableaux votifs tournaisiens en pierre, 1350-1475, 2001

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

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London