Ecclesiastical figure

Canoness of the Holy Sepulchre; Sepulchrine

first half 19th century (made)


Height: 31 cm including stand

1212:38-1905 T&F

Wax and tow figure dressed as a Canoness of the Sepulchre

Figure made of wax and tow, dressed in linen and woollen fabrics. Black tunic, sleeveless white surplice with red Cross of Lorraine, black veil

This figure is one of a set of 50 dressed to represent the outfits worn by Catholic religious orders. They are made of tow (hemp) with wax heads, hands and feet. They were probably made in France, as they are labelled in French, but some of the orders represented were only active in Germany and the Netherlands. This figure represents a Canoness of the Holy Sepulchre (also known as a Sepulchrine). The Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre are said to have been founded in 1114 and were confirmed in 1143 by Pope Celestine III. The Canons of the order are now extinct, but Sepulchrine convents still exist in Europe. The Sepulchrines wore a black tunic, over which was worn a sleeveless white surplice with a red Cross of Lorraine embroidered over the breast. The veil is black, and the wimple and undersleeves are white.

One of a group of 50 figures given to the Educational Department by Mr. G. Smith of St John's Wood in 1868, but only formally accessioned in 1905. The labels on the bases are in French but some of the orders represented (e.g the Alexians and the Order of the Conception) seem to have been confined to Germany and the Low Countries. (from original acquisition record for 1905)

Given by Mr. G. Smith

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website