A Small Medieval Marble Cowled Head on Ebonised Stand c.1200-1400

Origin: English
Period: Medieval
Provenance: An old Hampshire collection; found Barnfield, Bedfordshire, UK
Date: c.1200-1400
Height: 5.75 inches (the whole) or 3.75 inches (the head)
Base Diameter: 2.75 inches
Weight: 479 grams

The medieval period marble carved as a female bust with cowl, her mouth open; mounted on a custom-made ebonised stand survives in fine, though weathered, condition from the 12th-14th centuries.

Considering the considerable age, the piece is in good structural condition, though has heavy wear due to weathering over a period of at least 600 years. It is stable on the stand and the stand itself has wear to its ebonisation.

The piece is from an old Hampshire collection and was believed to have been found in Barnfield, Bedfordshire, UK. To the base there is a paper label reading ‘stone head tom found in barnfield’.

She was clearly part of the exterior architectural building. Medieval statues were also usually painted, with some still retaining their original pigments. Marble was a luxury stone and its reuse was ornamental not expedient and even in Italy it had to be obtained secondhand. Marble was prized for the same qualities that drew medieval beholders to gems.