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Walsingham Mill
The Old Mill
Cokers Hill
Little Walsingham
Norfolk
NR22 6BN
England

Purveyors of quality original antique 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Century oak and country furniture, fine art and decorative period items

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02/12/18 - OPENING HOURS FOR THE MILL FOR WEEK COMMENCING 9/12/18

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Stunning 15th Century Antique Carved Oak Figure of Margaret of Antioch Standing over The Devil, Circa 1480

Information

A wonderful late 15th Century carved oak figure of Margaret of Antioch standing over the devil.

Netherlandish-made. Most probably originating from Utrecht, circa 1480.

Background:

Margaret, known as Margaret of Antioch in the West, and as Saint Marina the Great Martyr (Greek: Ἁγία Μαρίνα, Hagía Marína) in the East, is celebrated as a saint by the Eastern-Rite Orthodox Church on 17th July and 20th July each year in the Western Rite Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.  Her historical existence has been questioned by Rome.

She was declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494, but devotion to her revived in the West with the Crusades. She was reputed to have promised very powerful indulgences to those who wrote or read about her life, or invoked her intercessions; these no doubt helped the spread of her popularity.

According to the version of the story in Golden Legend (The Golden Legend (Latin: Legenda Aurea or Legenda Sanctorum) is a collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine that was widely read in late medieval Europe), she was a native of "Antioch" and the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius.

Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a “Christian woman five or six leagues from Antioch”. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, Margaret was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse, and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother. Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her, but on the condition hat she renounce Christianity. Upon her refusal, she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. One of these involved being swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon's innards. The Golden Legend describes this last incident as "apocryphal and not to be taken seriously" (trans. Ryan, 1.369). She was put to death in AD 304.

Condition - The gesso and polychrome decoration are 19th Century.  Minor losses to the surface reveal the original oak beneath and there is also evidence of an original red-oxide layer of paint to the robes.  The 19th Century decoration could be removed to reveal the original surface however this would be sacriledge in our opinion.  One wing to the devil is missing.  The front surfaces to the plinth base have also been replaced historically and ebonised. Please remember that this figure is over 500 years old so we would expect some repairs or modifications during its life time. This figure displays very well.

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