Flawford Alabasters, medieval sculptures

Contributed by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

Flawford Alabaster © Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

These 3 'Nottingham' alabaster carvings should have been destroyed during the Reformation but instead they were hiddenAlabaster carving was a thriving industry in Nottingham 600 years ago. Newly finished alabaster carvings were polished and pristine, brightly coloured and gilded. They were usually created for the church but also for the home. Medieval churches glowed with candlelight and colour; with stained glass windows and painted wall decorations. For a population that was largely unable to read, alabaster carvings brought narratives from the bible to life and made the stories of the saints more real.

The Flawford figures come from a society where religion was a central part of life. Today the Flawford figures are a shadow of their former gilded, coloured selves. Their story, of taking pride of place on the altarpiece at Flawford church then being hidden at the time of the Reformation, their discovery in the 1770s and donation to a museum collection in 1908 reflects our changing society and the changing evaluation and use of religious objects.

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