Sculptures of the Virgin and Child were some of the most popular motifs in Spanish wood sculpture of the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The enthroned type, including the present lot, was most common in the 13th and 14th centuries. Ara Gil (op. cit.,
figs. 29-30, pp. 131-138) defines several typological series of enthroned Madonnas, where the second type show the Virgin and Child with the Child perching on His Mother's left knee - a move away from the earlier type, where the Christ Child was positioned at the very centre of His mother's lap. The pose of both the Virgin and Child is slightly stiff, and differs from the third group, which starts showing tendencies towards depicting the Child in a more naturalistic, 'child-like' manner, lying down in the Virgin's lap. Although the Virgin is more commonly depicted with a raised proper right hand, holding an object such as a sceptre or an apple, a variety in poses can be observed in the type - see, for instance, Ara Gil, pl. LVII, and a Madonna and Child, sold at Sotheby's New York, 1 June 1991, lot 1. The latter also shows similar layering in the drapery, the long, straight hair and the straight linear folds at the Virgin's torso. The crown of the present lot shows three-lobed prongs on top of a broad band, which, although it rarely survives in the examples Ara Gil has published, is included in her drawing of the 'ideal version' of the type 2 virgin (op. cit.
fig. 30). The present Virgin and Child was probably carved in Valladolid towards the end of the 13th century, and is particularly exceptional due to its remarkable condition.
C. J. Ara Gil, Escultura Gotica en Valladolid y su Provincia, Valladolid, 1977; X. Company, I. Puig, J. Tarragona, Museu Diocesà de Lleida, Catàleg, Exposició Pulchra, Centenari de la creació del Museu, 1893-1993, exh. cat., Lleida, 1993, 120-129; M. Bolanos (ed.) Museo Nacional Colegio de San Gregorio (España), Madrid, 2009, no. 2
A Radiocarbon dating measurement report prepared by RCD Lockinge states that the wood dates between AD 1025-1059 AD or AD 1065-1155 (95% confidence interval).